LiverpoolDownload App

Liverpool FC: 5 Takeaways from Reds' First 3 Months of 2011-12 Season

Matthew WoodwardContributor IDecember 3, 2016

Liverpool FC: 5 Takeaways from Reds' First 3 Months of 2011-12 Season

1 of 6

    Over the past 18 months we have seen enormous change at Liverpool Football Club, with three managerial swaps, one boardroom takeover and a participation in the transfer market that has given the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea a run for their money.

    From Benitez to Hodgson to Dalglish, the Reds have rebuilt from when they crashed out of the Champions and Europa Leagues, but have now re-established their reputation over a long, expensive summer.

    Expectations have gathered for the 2011/12 season, and I will be leading you through five key lessons we have learnt over the opening three months of Liverpool's Premier League campaign.

Jose Enrique's Golden Debut

2 of 6

    Despite global worries over Liverpool’s defensive woes, the Reds maintain the third strongest back four of the Premier League so far this season.

    Position

    Club

    Goals Against

    1

    Newcastle

    7

    2

    Manchester City

    8

    3

    Liverpool

    10

    4

    Manchester United

    12

    10

    Tottenham

    14

    12

    Chelsea

    15

     

    Jose Enrique has received his fair share of praise since his arrival from Newcastle in the summer and has reiterated his desire to open his Premier League goal-scoring account.

    With two assists and 900 minutes to his name, the 25-year-old has been somewhat of a revelation to Liverpool fans as his quick footwork, electric pace and composure on the ball have highlighted Enrique’s season to date.

    Fixture

    Passes (successful/total)

    Attacking Third Passes (successful/total)

    Take-ons (successful/total)

    Sunderland (H) 1-1

    42/57

    15/23

    0

    Arsenal (A) 0-2

    27/40

    6/14

    4/5

    Bolton (H) 3-1

    46/55

    16/22

    2/3

    Stoke (A) 0-1

    43/57

    19/27

    4/7

    Tottenham (A) 0-4

    20/26

    7/11

    4/8

    Wolves (H) 2-1

    32/40

    16/20

    0/1

    Everton (A) 0-2

    52/61

    16/24

    0/1

    Man Utd (H) 1-1

    28/39

    12/20

    0/2

    Norwich (H) 1-1

    48/62

    21/32

    2/2

    West Brom (A) 0-2

    39/54

    13/19

    0

    Total

    377/491 (76.8 percent)

    141/212 (66.5 percent)

    16/29

     

    With a successful pass rate of 76.8 percent, the Spanish left-back has added composure and fluidity to Kenny Dalglish’s back line; however, greater accuracy in his final touch would finely complement his great start to the season.

The Reds' Defensive Dilemma

3 of 6

    Far too much inconsistency shadows the Reds’ right-back dilemma in a notable trend from last year. With Glen Johnson suffering small yet quantitative injury setbacks, Dalglish has opted for four different players to fill the position in just 10 games.

    England Under-21 international Martin Kelly has been Johnson’s most frequent stand-in and has enjoyed his fair share of highs and lows.

    A very poor possession rate against Bolton shows some of the 20-year-old’s defensive frailties, yet a strong attacking rate exposes Kelly’s many qualities. He was successful on 85.1 percent of his 63 forward movements, with a special 21/22 in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal at The Emirates.

    Much doubt has been cast over Martin Skrtel’s place in the Reds defence, and his two right-back performances can be considered average at the best of times.

    After a red card against Tottenham and only a 52 percent attacking success rate, it is safe to say the Slovakian international is not adept for Liverpool’s most troubled position.

    Despite only being available early on in the season and a lack of match fitness, Johnson has returned to the starting XI with flying colours. Kelly has shown promising signs over the past two seasons, and his start to the 2011/12 campaign has been a positive one.

    Fixture

    Right-Back

    Passes (successful/total)

    Attacking Third Passes

    Sunderland (H) 1-1

    Flanagan

    36/46

    10/16

    Arsenal (A) 0-2

    Kelly

    35/45

    21/22

    Bolton (H) 3-1

    Kelly

    9/10

    2/2

    Stoke (A) 0-1

    Skrtel

    33/49

    9/18

    Tottenham (A) 0-4

    Skrtel

    27/33

    4/7

    Wolves (H) 2-1

    Kelly

    19/27

    11/12

    Everton (A) 0-2

    Kelly

    35/43

    14/17

    Man Utd (H) 1-1

    Kelly

    21/32

    5/10

    Norwich (H) 1-1

    Johnson

    39/46

    8/11

    West Brom (A) 0-2

    Johnson

    46/51

    9/11

    Total

    Kelly

    119/157 (75.8 percent)

    53/63 (84.1 percent)

    Total

    Johnson

    85/97 (87.6)

    17/22 (77.3)

    Total

    Skrtel

    60/82 (73.2)

    13/25 (52)

    Total

    Flanagan

    36/46 (78.3)

    10/16 (62.5)

    I think it's safe to say the Reds are glad to have Johnson and Kelly fight for right-back.

Andy Carroll Slowly but Surely Adapting for the Reds

4 of 6

    In 520 starting minutes, Carroll has produced two very impressive performances. The England international has led the way against Everton and West Brom, scoring twice with 10 shots on target.

    Still finding his feet in the red jersey, Carroll is adapting to playing up front with Luis Suarez, a player who loves to steal the show with his bags of magical trickery and fox-like movement.

     

    Andy Carroll’s six starts this season in the Premier League:

    Fixture

    Shots (goals/on target/total)

    Aerial Duels (won/total)

    Attacking Third Passes

    Sunderland (H) 1-1

    0/1/8

    9/9*

    9/17

    Arsenal (A) 0-2

    0/1/2

    4/6*

    9/15

    Tottenham (A) 0-4

    0/0/0

    7/12*

    12/20

    Wolves (H) 2-1

    0/1/3

    5/10*

    13/21

    Everton (A) 0-2

    1/3/3

    2/6

    6/12

    West Brom (A) 0-2

    1/3/7

    9/18*

    14/23

    Total

    2/9/23

    36/61 (59 percent)

    63/108 (58.3)

    *highest in the game

     

    Completing 58.3 percent of passes in the attacking third may seem a poor statistic, but with Carroll playing the ‘classic No. 9’ role, his passes are more likely to be knock-backs and through balls rather than fluid, build-up passes as he is categorically leads the Liverpool attack.

    As for his aerial prowess, the 22-year-old has topped the statistical table in every game except against Everton.

    As Dalglish has reiterated on numerous occasions, the £35million is a long-term investment and despite a slow, gradual start to his Merseyside career, the big man has shown hints the form that landed him a transfer to England’s most decorated club.

Downing Needs to Deliver the Final Product

5 of 6

    Stewart Downing has yet to make a single contribution towards Liverpool’s attack, despite having played 833 of a possible 900 minutes.

    The England international got off to a flying start to his Liverpool career during the opening game of the season against Sunderland, making a spectacular run from the halfway line and striking the crossbar with a powerful left-footed shot.

    Fixture

    Shots (goals/on target/total)

    Passes (successful/total)

    Attacking Third Passes (successful/total)

    Chances Created (goals/total)

    Sunderland (H) 1-1

    0/0/1

    28/35

    13/18

    0/2

    Arsenal (A) 0-2

    0/1/3

    47/56

    24/32*

    0/1

    Bolton (H) 3-1

    0/1/3

    45/50

    24/26*

    0

    Stoke (A) 0-1

    0/1/3

    49/58

    34/40*

    0/3

    Tottenham (A) 0-4

    0/1/1

    28/34

    10/15

    0

    Wolves (H) 2-1

    0/1/1

    30/34

    18/21

    0/6

    Everton (A) 0-2

    0/0/0

    19/24

    10/12

    0/1

    Man Utd (H) 1-1

    0/0/3

    33/38

    18/22

    0/2

    Norwich (H) 1-1

    0/0/6

    28/36

    15/19

    0/4

    W. Brom (A) 0-2

    0/0/2

    30/38

    13/18

    0/1

    Total

    0/5/23

    337/403 (83.6)

    179/223 (80.3)

    0/20

    *highest in the game

    Downing’s accuracy passing rate is outstanding, having completed 83.6 percent of his passes so far. His passes in the attacking third have been just as consistent; however the former Aston Villa man fails to make his efforts count.

    With only five shots on target, the 27-year-old needs to take the initiative and use his pace to flourish as he did in the midlands last season. Having created 20 chances in 10 league games, Downing can consider himself unlucky to not have a single assist to his name, a statistic which coincides with Luis Suarez’s record for the league’s most offside rulings.

Magical Suarez Needs to Finish His Chances

6 of 6

    Luis Suarez has been involved with almost half of every successful attack Liverpool has made in the Premier League this season, bagging four and assisting two others.

    Since his £22.8 million arrival from Ajax in January, El Pistolero has rejuvenated the Reds and added various options to Kenny Dalglish’s attack.

    Following a successful summer with Uruguay, Suarez helped his country win the Copa America while being named the Player of the Tournament.

    Fixture

    Shots (goals/on target/total)

    Attacking Third Passes (successful/total)

    Chances Created

    (goals/total)

    Fouls Suffered

    Sunderland (H) 1-1

    1/1/2

    15/21

    0/3

    6*

    Arsenal (A) 0-2**

    1/2/2*

    10/10

    0

    0

    Bolton (H) 3-1

    0/0/2

    20/24

    0/3

    1

    Stoke (A) 0-1

    0/2/6

    24/29

    0/3

    2

    Tottenham (A) 0-4

    0/0/1

    10/12

    0

    3*

    Wolves (H) 2-1

    1/2/5*

    18/29

    0/1

    0

    Everton (A) 0-2

    1/2/5

    18/22

    0/1

    2

    Man Utd (H) 1-1

    0/2/5

    11/15

    0/1

    5*

    Norwich (H) 1-1

    0/6/11

    17/27

    0/3

    0

    W. Brom (A) 0-2

    0/0/5

    31/34*

    2/5*

    2

    Total

    4/17/44

    174/223 (78 percent)

    2/20

    21

    *highest in the game / **substitute appearance

    The 24-year-old has already been involved in all sorts of controversies; however Suarez has shown his class throughout. He is the target for adversaries, a statistic shown in the number of times he is fouled.

    Suarez has been chopped down 21 times during his nine starts in the league, yet maintains a classy 78 percent success rate passing in the final third of the pitch.

    Having been caught offside more times than any other player in the EPL this season, Suarez needs to time his movements better.

    We could consider the Uruguayan to be unlucky in some of his games, but his attitude to chase balls down and get his opposing players into the referee’s book is a vital part of Liverpool’s decent start.

    Being caught offside so many times could be converted into a very positive goal-scoring future for the Reds if Suarez manages to break the mould and win over the linesmen.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices