Latest installment of the Liverpool player analysis.
A couple of notes...this newest post is using data from a new source, namely a scraper running against ESPNFC.com. This allows to me to grab more data from more matches much more quickly. One nice addition is ESPN's game stats denote the position the player played in that game. So now we can have stats for Lallana as a forward and as a midfielder. The downside is it appears that sometimes they get the positions wrong. For example Markovic can start the game as a forward and be subbed out for Lallana who they then list as a midfielder. So it's not perfect.
The second noteworthy thing is I chose to only run the stats from December 14th on. That was the day Liverpool switched to three at the back, and it represents (in my opinion) a better gauge for how the individual players are performing for the "real" Liverpool.
What the heck does this mean?
Here's a short version of the methodology...
We track the goals scored and goals conceded for when a given player is on the pitch. We recognize that not all goals are equal - for example a goal scored at Stamford Bridge is "worth" more than a goal scored at home versus Burnley. Using this information we calculate how many goals we'd expect to be scored and conceded for any given player when they are playing. Call it "expected goals." We then compare that statistic to how many were actually scored during their time on the field. Those are "actual goals." Subtract the two e.g. actual - expected = net goals. So for example, allowing fewer goals than expected results in a negative "ga" in the charts below. This is good! Conversely, a positive "gf" stat is also good. Then for a final verdict, we subtract the ga score from the gf score to arrive at a "net." The higher the net, the better. The charts below are initially sorted by this "net" score and grouped by each position.
So, without further ado, here are the results...
Beyond the obvious things (e.g. Mignolet is the better keeper), there are some surprising things here. Since 12/14 Lovren has been a more effective defender than Sakho, Sterling at midfield (wingback) really, really doesn't work, and Sturridge's return did not appear to improve the play of the team.
According to this, here is your best Liverpool XI (3-4-2-1):
Can Skrtel Lovren
Ibe Henderson Lucas Allen