Support our independent LFC content & go advert-free.
Support our independent Liverpool FC content and go advert-free with This Is Anfield Premium.

Alarming stat highlights Liverpool’s struggles vs. 10 men

Liverpool played against 10-man Arsenal for 70 minutes and yet failed to land any significant shot on target, but, worryingly, it was not the first time the Reds have struggled in such circumstances.

“From that moment [of the red card] it looked like we felt somehow under pressure,” was how Jurgen Klopp assessed Liverpool’s performance against 10-men after Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders.

And it was not the first time.

As noted by Michael Reid, football data editor at Opta, the Reds have now had six of their opponents this season go down to 10-men for a total of 263 minutes.

They include Arsenal (0-0), Chelsea (1-1), Leeds (3-0), Atletico Madrid (3-2) and (2-0), and Man United (5-0).

In the time that the opponent has had to play with 10-men, Liverpool have only scored a total of three goals, and two of them were from the penalty spot.

Mohamed Salah converted both times against Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, while Sadio Mane added the one from open play at Leeds in stoppage time after the game was sealed before Pascal Struijk’s red card.

Overall, the final scoreboard in those games do not make for bad reading but it is the lack of invention and creativity that is alarming on the whole once the opposition drops into a low block.

“In the end, if you play such a low block – that’s already in football the most difficult thing to do – and I’m not surprised we struggled with that a little bit,” Klopp said after the drab stalemate with Arsenal.

“In the second half with the few changes we made I thought we looked better, we had clearer situations, with Curtis and Neco – proper wingers, higher up.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Liverpool's Curtis Jones sees his shot saved during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The lack of invention in the League Cup semi-final was not aided by the absence of Salah and Mane but the midfield did not help matters while any deep laying side nullify the threat of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool struggling to penetrate behind a stubborn low block is not a new issue but it’s one that has yet to see a reliable solution emerge, persistence alone is not always key in this instance.

Fan Comments