Liverpool were held to a 3-3 draw yesterday against Norwegian side Valerenga, a result which concerns most of the Liverpool camp. After conceding three goals for the fifth time in a row, questions must be put to the defensive line, and the team in general. However, despite the underwhelming performances, I asked myself, what does a bad pre-season mean for the upcoming season?
To answer that question, I looked at some past pre-seasons. Let's start with Manchester United's pre-season results from last year. As you all know, they went on to win the Premier League. Here are their results, courtesy of Eurosport.co.uk:
|17 Jul, 19:45||AFC Fylde 1 - 2 Manchester United||Friendly Match|
|18 Jul, 10:30||Malaysia 2 - 3 Manchester United||Friendly Match|
|20 Jul, 13:45||Malaysia 0 - 2 Manchester United||Friendly Match|
|24 Jul, 12:00||FC Seoul 2 - 3 Manchester United||Friendly Match|
|26 Jul, 13:00||Hangzhou Greentown 2 - 8 Manchester United||Friendly Match|
|28 Jul, 19:45||Luton Town 1 - 2 Manchester United||Friendly Match|
As you can see, Manchester United won every match, scoring twenty-two goals and conceding nine along the way. This is the form of potential champions.
Let us then look at the 2009 pre-season for Tottenham. Spurs finished that campaign in the final Champions League spot, which is Liverpool's aim for next season. Information courtesy of Wikipedia:
15 July: Exeter 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
17 July: Bournemouth 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
20 July: Peterborough 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur
Then came the Wembley Cup, where Tottenham's results where as follows:
Barcelona 2-0 Tottenham
Celtic 2-0 Tottenham
Following this, they competed in the 2009 Asia trophy, where Tottenham had some mixed results:
West Ham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Hull City 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
South China 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Olympiakos 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Looking at both sets, the results seem quite consistent, with very few goals conceded. The first match of the season for Tottenham that year was against Liverpool, and they beat the Reds lost 2-1. So, it looks as if a pre-season can lay the groundwork for a good start to the actual season.
To round things off, lets take a look at Liverpool's 2009/10 pre-season, a season which finished with Liverpool in sixth place.
That year, only two friendly games were played, and Liverpool lost both:
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Liverpool
RCD Espanyol 3-0 Liverpool
Conversely to these results, Liverpool were undefeated during the 2008/09 pre-season, and they went on to finish second in the league.
Although this is a small sample, it seems that a good pre-season can correlate to a successful season, and vice versa. As a Liverpool fan, I hope the club can prove this formula wrong after a disappointing pre-season.