Jack Hallows reveals the Reds’ incredibly contrasting records when it comes to fixtures against the ‘best’ and fixtures against the ‘rest.’
At the time of typing this, Liverpool have surrendered more points against lower-placed teams in the league. In fact, the best way to sum up Liverpool this season – and under Jurgen Klopp in general – is the simple fact they beat third-placed Manchester City on New Year’s Eve, only to draw with third last Sunderland days later.
The Reds’ draw against The Black Cats was the fourth disappointing result the Reds have had this season against sides that they really should be beating week in, week out. Burnley, Bournemouth, West Ham and Sunderland have now all grabbed a point or three at Liverpool’s expense and it’s made doubly disappointing that in three of those games, the Reds surrendered comfortable leads through poor defensive errors.
In fact, Liverpool have the worst record out of any team in the top six when it comes to points dropped against the ‘rest.’ With the Southampton draw taken into account, the Reds have dropped an unforgivable 12 points against the 14 teams below the top six. Meanwhile, in comparison, sixth-placed United have dropped 11, Arsenal and City have dropped nine, Spurs have dropped eight and league leaders Chelsea have only dropped two.
This record is not good reading for a team who are supposedly the closest challengers to current would-be champions Chelsea but the next stat is what makes it so utterly bizarre. The Reds do have the worst record against the ‘rest’ but when it comes to the ‘best’ then they well and truly have that one in the bag this season so far.
In the five fixtures against the other top six members this season, the Reds have taken 11 points from a possible 15 and have a +3 goal difference. Victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and City alongside draws against Spurs and United, mean they are the only undefeated side in the league against the top six teams. For comparison, Chelsea are second best with nine, Spurs have taken eight, City have taken six while Arsenal and United both have taken only five from their meetings with other top six opposition.
It’s clear then, that the Reds truly are one of the top teams in the Premier League and can contend closely with the best. However, if they are to really prove their title credentials then their form against sides positioned lower in the league definitely needs to improve.
The Reds have a big month of fixtures coming up with massive fixtures against Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs on the horizon. If they can take points from all of these three and hold their nerve in matches against Hull and Swansea sandwiched in between, then it’ll be hard to argue with their chances of at least a top-four finish in May.