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Surprise Luis Diaz stat offers hope as Liverpool maintain amazing recent record

Signs of life in Liverpool’s attack emerged as Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz produced their first Premier League assists of the season, while the Reds maintained a brilliant recent defensive record.

It has been a problem in recent weeks that Liverpool’s front three haven’t been on their game. If the attackers had been more clinical, Jurgen Klopp‘s side could well be clear at the top.

As it is, two home draws meant missed opportunities last week, but there were signs of improvements against Burnley.

 

Setting up goals

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 26, 2023: Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores the second goal in the 90th minute during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thanks to FotMob, we know Gakpo and Diaz both registered their first assists of the season, for Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota respectively, as Liverpool inflicted Burnley‘s ninth Premier League home defeat of the season.

In fact, it was Diaz’s first assist in all competitions since before his long-term knee injury, last season.

While assists are sometimes a misleading measurement as they rely on others to finish, they do help provide a general overview of a player’s creativity and form.

The fact neither had registered one in the league this season was an example of how they, Diaz in particular, haven’t been fully in sync with their striking counterparts.

A much improved performance from Gakpo and Nunez, albeit against a poor Burnley team, provided hope with Salah set to leave for AFCON in January.

 

4 in 4

Burnley certainly had their moments had points in the second half but, on the whole, Liverpool kept them at arm’s length and the stats back that up.

The hosts didn’t manage to put a single shot on target against Liverpool, meaning the Reds have conceded just four shots on target in their last four games.

This has all been achieved with a rotated backline, too. Jarell Quansah looked superb again as he came in for Ibrahima Konate. Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk was imperious as ever, and Joe Gomez was excellent defensively on the left.

Except for one moment in the second half at Turf Moor, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been solid also, stepping up in both attack and defence.

 

Van Dijk back to his best?

It does feel like we’re reaching the point where Van Dijk is almost back to his pre-injury superhuman levels.

This season, he has given attackers less time on the ball and has been helped massively by refreshed energy in midfield.

Against Burnley, he won all seven of his aerial duels, taking his Premier League total for the season to 81, according to Squawka.

It also means the Dutchman has the highest aerial duel win rate (81.8 percent) of those who have contested 25 or more, in this Premier League campaign. Quansah nearly reached over half that total in one game on Tuesday night, winning 11 of the 14 he contested.


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