Liverpool’s failure to convert a higher percentage of chances in front of goal this season has seen them throw away a number of points this season.
The most recent disappointment for fans came in Boxing day’s 1-1 draw at home to bottom of the league Blackburn Rovers, which saw Luis Suarez fire all 6 of his attempts off target, and Andy Carroll force only 2 saves from Mark Bunn from his 5 attempts.
The game prior to Boxing day was a goalless draw at Wigan Athletic. Liverpool head into their final game of 2011 3 points behind fourth place Chelsea and a massive 14 points behind the league’s joint-leaders.
The following table breaks down Liverpool’s goal attempts per player through the opening 18 games of the 2011/12 Premier League season:
|Player||Shots On Target||Shots Off Target||% On Target||Goals||Minutes Played||Shots per Game||Conversion Rate|
*Aaron Ramsey, Roger Johnson and Joleon Lescott have all scored own goals for Liverpool this season.
With Luis Suarez set to face a 9-match ban for improper conduct (1 game) and racial abuse (8 games), Liverpool will line up against Newcastle on Friday night with no player in their starting eleven having scored more than 2 goals this season.
Kenny Dalglish said after the draw with Blackburn that his side were creating good attempts on target and that they keep facing an “inspired goalkeeper”. Arguably, both Michel Vorm, Mark Schwarzer and Ali Al-Habsi all pulled off a string of saves in previous meetings earlier this season, but Mark Bunn was only forced into one top-drawer save on Monday, albeit at the very end.
With Suarez’s upcoming suspensions Andy Carroll will be looking for another long run in the team; something he hasn’t had since September. The £35 million striker has yet to impress, and statistics don’t make it look any better for the half-a-season Newcastle hit man.
Carroll has had just 14 attempts on target during his 835 minutes on the pitch; equating to less than 4 attempts a game (of which less than 50% are on target). The 6’3” striker has had more headed attempts off target (13) than any other player in the Premier League so far this season, and won 59% of his aerial duels this season, although having watched him on a number of occasions already in a Liverpool shirt, few of these are leading to goalscoring opportunities. His short range passing has lead something to be desired at times this season.
The transfer window is only a few days away and with the £57+ million spent last winter, I wonder if the owners will be tempted to open their cheque book and bring in another striker to help with Liverpool’s current goalscoring problems.