FanPost

Sturridge Out: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

It appears Daniel Sturridge will miss Sunday's clash with Norwich. This seems to be a reasonable concern for Liverpool fans, even given Luis Suarez's phenomenal past performance against the Canaries. So let's look at the data...

Here is a table showing how Liverpool performs with Suarez and Sturridge together, only Suarez, and only Sturridge:

Condition net_gfp90 net_gap90 net_p90 minutes appearances avg_points
Suarez and Sturridge 1.79 0.18 1.61 1800 20 2.45
Suarez, No Sturridge 1.57 -0.35 1.91 810 9 2
Sturridge, No Suarez -0.53 -0.84 0.31 450 5 2

The Good: With only Suarez, Liverpool have scored slightly fewer goals while giving up nearly a half a goal less, resulting in the best "net" of the three possible conditions.

The Bad: Despite a better goal differential, the points per game drops from 2.45 to 2.00 when Suarez and Sturridge do not feature together.

The Ugly: Henderson is missing. We don't know, based on this data, what effect that could have because Henderson has played nearly every minute of every game. That makes teasing his individual contribution out of the numbers basically meaningless. Coincidentally, the only game in which Henderson was subbed off for a non-trivial amount of time was Norwich back in early December. In that game, Hendo was subbed off in the 68th minute with the score standing at 3-0. As you may recall, Liverpool went on to win 5-1.

Still, let's trudge on and make a prediction. I'll walk through the process this time around so you can see what's going on.

First, we calculate the "distance" between Norwich and all other teams we've played on the road. Anyone who suffered through Geometry or other math(s) may vaguely recall "Euclidean distance." In this case, we treat "goals against" and "goals for" as points on a graph. Here's what that looks like:

name name adj_home_gf adj_home_ga distance
Norwich City Norwich City 0.882 0.765 0
Hull City Norwich City 1.063 0.938 0.250379711638144
Crystal Palace Norwich City 0.882 1.059 0.294
Stoke City Norwich City 1.25 0.625 0.39373087255129

I've only shown the first four for space. As expected, the distance between Norwich and Norwich is '0'. The next closest is Hull City, the team we will use to make our prediction. Note that GF and GA are adjusted - I remove the Liverpool result from the data to get a true picture of how the rest of the league performs against them.

Folks, this is the point where you may want to look away. Here is how we performed against Hull City on 12/1:

lastName pos net_gfp90 net_gap90 net_p90 minutes appearances
Sterling MID 0.45 0.32 0.13 65 1
Moses MID 0.29 1.4 -1.11 73 1
Suarez ST 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Gerrard MID 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Henderson MID 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Leiva MID 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Skrtel CB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Toure CB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Flanagan FB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Johnson FB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Mignolet GK 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Alberto MID -0.94 4.23 -5.17 17 1
Coutinho MID -0.94 6.14 -7.08 25 1

Ouch. (Note Sturridge did not play there either).

The next step is to swap players out from this table and put in the ones we think will play. We get the swapped-in player's performance by going down the "Distance" table until we find a game they appeared in. Here's what that table looks like, along with averaged GA and GF:

lastName pos net_gfp90 net_gap90 net_p90 minutes appearances
Sterling MID 0.45 0.32 0.13 65 1
Allen MID 1.93 -1.47 3.4 90 1
Suarez ST 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Gerrard MID 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Skrtel CB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Sakho CB 1.6 0.13 1.47 90 1
Flanagan FB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Johnson FB 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Mignolet GK 0.06 1.94 -1.87 90 1
Coutinho MID -0.94 6.14 -7.08 25 1
Aspas ST -0.36 -1.19 0.82 68 1
0.28 1.42

The final step is to add the averages from the above table to the average GA and GF at Norwich for the rest of the league.

Ugly Result: Norwich Wins, 2 - 1

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