LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 21, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected after Real Madrid's captain Karim Benzema scored the fifth goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

5 goals, 16 matches – The crazy stats that expose Liverpool’s 2nd half problem

After their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, a series of remarkable statistics have exposed Liverpool’s issues in the second half of matches.

Even after throwing away their two-goal lead in the first half at Anfield on Tuesday, with the scores level at half-time, Liverpool were still very much in the game, or at least they should have been.

But a look at their recent record in the second half of matches shows they have become over reliant on winning games in the first period, and far too vulnerable in the second.

Opta’s Michael Reid has highlighted that 18 of their last 23 goals in all competitions have come in the first half of matches.

That means Liverpool have scored just five second half goals in their last 16 games, and conceded 14 second half goals in that time.

Liverpool’s expected goals (xG) total in the second half against Real Madrid was just 0.07, with just two shots after the interval.

All of this would point towards a tiredness or mentality problem in the Liverpool squad.

Despite going on to lose the game 5-2, Liverpool somehow ended up with a higher xG ratio (2.09) than Real Madrid (1.66), which goes to show how their defensive vulnerabilities proved so costly.

Another stat that has sent shivers down the spines of many supporters is one that shows how Liverpool also boast a higher aggregate xG score than Real in all of their meetings in the last decade, despite the fact the Spaniards have scored nine goals in those matches, and Liverpool just three. A real nemesis.

Tuesday’s result, Liverpool’s worst-ever home defeat in Europe, saw Real score 18 percent of the Champions League goals Liverpool have ever conceded at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp.

It adds to the Reds’ embarrassing defensive record since the resumption of their season, with three or more goals conceded in five of their 13 games since.

Their Champions League aspirations for this season are all but over, but if Liverpool are to find a way to push for a top four spot in the Premier League, their second half performances need to improve, and their defending simply has to.