SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Fortress Anfield surpasses 110 shots as stats show off “special” Curtis Jones

Liverpool strangled Newcastle into submission at Anfield, and the final 4-2 scoreline was flattering for the visitors after 34 shots at Anfield on a record-breaking night!

As the old cliche goes, start as you mean to go on.

It was not the perfect performance from Liverpool, they could have easily kept a clean sheet and put more goals on the scoreboard themselves, but it was a show of intent nevertheless.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side broke the all-time expected goals (xG) record, ending the night with 7.27 – the most in a Premier League games since the records first started in 2010/11.

It was a death by a thousand cuts for Eddie Howe’s side, and FotMob showcased that perfectly (above), with the data all clearly in Liverpool’s favour.

 

One shot, then another, and another!

Fortress Anfield is no marketing gimmick, and any visiting side must be prepared for an onslaught.

Against Newcastle, the Reds had 34 shots on goal, it is the joint-most in a Premier League game this season since the 34 efforts Liverpool managed against Man United just a couple of weeks ago.

In fact, in the last four home games across all competitions, Liverpool have managed a combined 110 shots on goal – that is an average of 27.5 per game.

Now, we know only a small percentage have found the back of the net, but that is utterly ridiculous, and many are still saying this side have not even reached their peak.

It is a sign of this team not growing disheartened by missed chances, instead ready to “go again” – in the words of Klopp – and that is huge nod to the mentality that will serve the team well for the rest of the campaign.

 

A “special” night for Curtis

“Special game from Curtis, to be honest: his high press, his counter-press…he sets the level actually, how it should look,” Klopp assessed after the victory.

Curtis Jones was everywhere all at once for Liverpool, or that’s how he made it feel at least! Mohamed Salah may have been FotMob’s Man of the Match, but Jones was breathing down his neck:

  • Won 6/9 ground duels – joint-third most of any player
  • 10 recoveries – joint-most
  • 2 chances created – joint-third most
  • 8 passes into final third – joint-fourth most
  • 100% shooting accuracy, plus one goal

The midfielder set the tempo and, as per Andrew Beasley on X, he made four of his 10 recoveries against Newcastle in the final third.

To put that into some context, in Klopp’s early years at the club, “Liverpool made around 4.5 final third ball recoveries per match,” according to Beasley.

Jones often finds himself on the end of some underserving criticism, but this was him at his very best.

 

Diaz dribbling returns

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Luis Diaz has not been his electric best for some time, but against the Magpies we saw that fearlessness to attack the defence start to re-emerge.

His quick feet on the byline in the second half to drive into the penalty box was one obvious example, plus his work to win the first penalty – and there was no dive there, sorry Gary Neville!

In fact, he finished the match with five successful dribbles from eight attempts. No other player was as successful – only Anthony Gordon could match that tally.

And it is significant in the fact that he managed that in a single game, he completed five across his previous six appearances combined prior to the New Year’s clash.

Diaz at his best is hard for any defender to manage, and the more confidence he gets, the better it is for Liverpool. Here’s to 2024 being a year to remember for the Colombian!


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