Rafa’s Liverpool has all-too often been branded as a team lacking in any kind of creativity or style, instead preferring to focus on tactical rigidity, grinding out marginal results and relying too heavily on two players to score goals.
However, a wealth of statistics from this year’s campaign go some way to dispelling this myth, with some figures threatening to debunk theories about other Premier League sides this year.
To start off, this year’s top scorers in all competitions have not been playing at the Emirates or Old Trafford. With 116 goals, English football cannot boast a team with a better record for hitting the net this season than the Reds of Anfield.
The combined talents of Wenger’s mercurial side have managed to score next best with 111, and Torres is taking Adebayor all the way to the wire for second place in the scoring charts.
Another accusation levelled at Liverpool is that they are too reliant on their primary goalscorers, namely Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
However, just up the M62 there is a duo who contribute more to their team’s tally than this pairing. Of Manchester United’s 104 goals, 59 were scored by Cristiano Ronaldo or Carlos Tevez, comprising 56% of the total.
Liverpool’s twosome bagged 53 of 116, or 45%. So, it seems that this is another allegation without grounding, at least with regard to their Northwest neighbours.
Combine this with another stat published by the Liverpool Echo this week and the spread of goals throughout the team becomes clearer. With Ryan Babel’s belter at Stamford Bridge taking his season tally to 10, his name joins five others already in double figures for 07-08. Already Benayoun, Kuyt and Crouch had struck at least 10 goals this term, making Liverpool the only team in the land with such a sextet of scorers.
Chelsea are next nearest with four members of the 10-or-more club, giving rise to the notion that the Anfield outfit are much less reliant on the finishing abilities of Stevie and Fernando than some might have you believe.
It is true to say that Arsenal play the more attractive football, and Manchester United’s flying winger has brought more plaudits than the endeavours of his Scouse counterparts.
But Liverpool’s reputation as a boring side without a semblance of flair is unjustified.
The Reds will complete a second year without a trophy come May, but there can be little doubt that the margin in domestic football is closing. Last season, the points difference between Liverpool and the champions was 21. This year, it is 11.
If the gap continues to fall away at such a rate, a league title could be on its way to Anfield sooner than we think.
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