Monthly Archives: February 2018

Why Liverpool are too wasteful this season despite being second top scorers

Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side have scored an impressive 61 goals so far this season, however the stats show that the Merseyside club could have scored more, wasting many of their clear cut chances this season.

Liverpool have the league’s second top goal scorer at their disposal in the form of Egyptian Forward, Mohammed Salah. The former Roma man who is well-known for his pace and flair has scored 22 goals in the 2017/18 campaign, just one behind Spurs Striker Harry Kane. The 25 year-old also has the second highest amount of shots dispatched with a tally of 103 this season.

Salah is also joint sixth in terms of the assists that he has made with a tally of seven. Mesut Özil and Riyad Mahrez have also gained this number so far.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite the club having this special player at their disposal, they are still missing more chances this season compared to last. So far, the Reds have missed 45 big chances this season meaning they are the second highest wasteful club in the league. Like The Reds, Manchester City struggle to convert their chances, wasting the most opportunities in the league. City also did this in the season prior, unlike Liverpool who missed considerably less opportunities being in sixth place in terms of chances missed last season.

 Big chances wasted  Times hitting the woodwork  Overall shots on goal
 Liverpool in 2016/17: 35 18 640
 Liverpool this season (so far): 45 14 469

The fact that they have wasted ten more opportunities already this season compared to last is quite astonishing for a side with so many quality attackers available. This could be in relation to the change in their style of play.

Klopp seems to have majorly rid of a traditional striker role set out in his starting eleven. Instead he relies on the likes of wingers like the prolific Salah and Sadio Mané to supply the goals. This has in fact proved to be a crucial factor in the team’s success in the majority of games, however it could explain why more key chances are missed in front of goal without a native striker who would be specifically trained in that area. However, the correlation of touches taken by all the players this season is very similar to last.

The German manager has also seemingly worked more on his defence rather than attack this transfer window, as Klopp’s defensive frailties were exposed as the Reds had to endure some terrible defeats. This includes a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City and a 4-1 to loss Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Therefore Klopp signed Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk in January for £75 million to help out the back. Of course, Brazilian maestro Phillipe Coutinho leaving to Barcelona in that transfer window effected the squad too. It could also explain why they have missed more chances with his absence.

Liverpool have though, kept the same style of play in terms of going forward, unlike their changes at the back. They still maintain a high-work rate and emphasis on moving the ball around quickly.

Top 3 teams who completed passes:

 2016/17 Season  1. Manchester City  2. Liverpool 3. Arsenal
 2017/18 Season  1. Manchester City  2. Arsenal  3. Liverpool

This inability to put away clear-cut chances has proved hurtful for Liverpool at times in spite of currently residing in third place in the table.

For example in their recent outing to lowly Swansea City where the Reds lost 1-0, they had a staggering count of 21 shots compared to Swansea’s measly three. Missed opportunities in games like this will prove to be crucial come the end of the season if Liverpool are to hang on to their Champions League spot, as the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham linger closely behind.

Only time will tell if Liverpool can reverse this trend.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool next face West Bromwich Albion.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Advertisements

Former Rotherham United player reveals what it was like playing for the club during the turbulent times

How aware were the players of the scale of the jeopardy facing Rotherham United during their years of near crisis? Former Millers full-back, Dale Tonge explains what it was like wearing the red shirt through this unstable period for the club, and indeed through the better times, too.

Rotherham United were threatened with extinction as they entered administration twice prior to 2008. Multiple points deductions would follow as a consequence, eventually resulting in relegation to League Two. The situation was extremely dire. Dale Tonge contended that even the players weren’t fully aware of how bad the situation was at the Yorkshire club, and stated: “On a personal note, I struggled being a single lad with a mortgage, but lads with families struggled more which was hard to see. The people who had worked for years at the club got made redundant too, which was an awful situation to be in as these selfless people are the heart and soul of a club!”

Embed from Getty Images

Local businessman Tony Stewart took over the club as chairman, but they still had to sadly leave their native home of Millmoor in the 2008-09 season, after failure to come to an agreement with the ground’s Landlords. Millmoor had been the home of Rotherham United for over a century and Tonge who had the pleasure of playing there, enthused that: “Millmoor was my favourite place to play!”

The 32 year-old also described the nature of the 8,300 seat stadium: “It reminded me of when I was young watching games on the terraces. The stands were close in, which created a great atmosphere!”

Embed from Getty Images

The Millers moved to a temporary home at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The 25,000 seater stadium had an athletics track surrounding the pitch, which made it incredibly hard for supporters to create an atmosphere. “No player or staff member liked the move to Don Valley”, remarked Tonge. “However, we knew the move was necessary. We played for Rotherham, but never actually visited there often, trained in Doncaster and played in Sheffield!”

DVS CS

The Don Valley Stadium – Photo courtesy of Chris Sanders

“Overall we tried to make this ground a tough place to come and I think we achieved this, but it certainly never felt like home!”

The club finally returned home in 2012, as they moved to the state of the art AESSEAL New York Stadium. The aesthetically pleasing 12,000 capacity stadium was to be the secure home of the club, finally back in their own town. Tonge described how the stadium created a wave of much-needed “optimism and excitement” around the football club, which: “rewarded the fans and in particular the chairman who deserves it for all the hard work and patience in seeing the process through.”

The Millers enjoyed back-to-back promotion from League Two to the Championship at the stadium under lively manager Steve Evans, whom Tonge played under. The club are currently battling for promotion again from League One this season under manager and former player, Paul Warne.

Embed from Getty Images

Finally, Tonge summed up his Rotherham United career which lasted between 2007-13: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the club and making memories there. It’s fair to say, I’ve had my downs too with me being injured far too many times, but this has made me a stronger person.”

“I was treated very well being a local lad and I was very proud to wear the shirt that a lot of my family supported.”

Embed from Getty Images

He ended the interview with the remark:

“Once a Miller, always a Miller!”

Tonge came out the Barnsley youth set-up and made his debut in 2004 against Brentford. He currently plays for FC United of Manchester. A massive thanks to Dale for taking the time to speak to me!

A full feature on Rotherham United including more of Dale’s comments and supporter’s views will be on The Yorkshire Voice in the near future.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

Lizzy Yarnold wins Team GB’s first Gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Lizzy Yarnold has successfully retained her golden status as she has won Team GB’s first gold medal in PyeongChang.

The 29 year-old who also clenched the gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014, is in fact the first ever British athlete to retain their golden title.

Yarnold set a fantastic track record on her final run which won her the medal. This was after heading in to the last run behind Austrian Janine Flock, by narrow margin of 0.02 seconds. Flock was visibly distraught after the event as a disappointing finish on her final run made sure she missed out on the medals in fourth place.

Yarnold’s teammate Laura Deas also finished 3rd in the event, ensuring that this is Team GB’s most successful day at these games so far.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport