The post-European record Liverpool can shake to prove their growth under Jurgen Klopp

21 September 2018

Manchester City and Liverpool had contrasting fortunes in the Champions League this week but both must now overcome their historical European hangovers.


And while Liverpool are the ones coming off an impressive win over Paris St Germain, a look at recent seasons’ statistics suggests City may be better equipped to follow up with a domestic win as they look to bounce back from defeat to Lyon.

Both clubs have relatively easy Premier League fixtures on paper this weekend, with Pep Guardiola returning to the dugout at Cardiff following his UEFA suspension while Liverpool are at home to Southampton.

But that provides no guarantees, as Jurgen Klopp will be able to testify having seen his Reds held to draws by Newcastle, Burnley and relegated Stoke following European games last season.

They also drew twice with local rivals Everton and once with Chelsea after Champions League games en route to the final, but lost in another such meeting with the Blues and also to Manchester United and Tottenham.

From the group stage onwards, their only wins the weekend after a European game came against West Ham and Bournemouth.

(Credit: PA)

Press Association Sport has looked at results over the last five seasons for the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, City, Manchester United and Tottenham.

And the figures show that City and Liverpool have seen their results affected most heavily over that period when playing the weekend after a game in the Champions League or Europa League main draw.

The Reds had 31 Premier League games over the five years which came less than seven days after a European fixture.

They won 11, drew 11 and lost nine of those for an average of 1.42 points per game, compared to 1.84 in their other league games the same seasons.

That decline of 0.42 is the largest of any of the six clubs, with City also dropping off by more than a third of a point, from 2.23 per game to 1.89.

Guardiola’s side, though, were untroubled last season – winning nine of their 10 post-European games with the only exception being defeat to United in April.

Their 27 points from those 10 fixtures was actually an improvement on the 2.6 per game they collected in their other 28.

Unai Emery (PA Images)

Arsenal are unique among the six clubs in improving their points-per-game ratio in matches immediately after a European assignment – albeit very slightly, from 1.90 to 1.95.

That was not a product of playing in the Europa League with mostly shadow teams last season, when their 23 points from 14 games marked a slight dip compared to the rest of their season.

It may, however, be partly explained by their follow-up fixtures over the five years.

The Gunners faced another top-six finisher from the season in question on only 13 occasions out of 46 post-European games – only Tottenham had a lower ratio (eight out of 44).

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 15, 2018: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (left) and Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa DembÈlÈ during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Spurs also had the majority of their European fixtures in the second-tier Europa League, in theory offering easier opposition on those occasions – and yet they declined by 0.22 points per game in the matches following, the third-worst ratio.

Chelsea were marginally better, with a drop-off of 0.18 points per game, while United all but held firm and actually improved their win percentage to 55.9 (19 out of 34) after European games compared to 62 of their other 118 games (52.5 per cent).

* The above report is courtesy of Press Association Sport.

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