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.

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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.

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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.

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Liverpool next face West Bromwich Albion.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

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