The stats from Liverpool vs Norwich make for good reading as the Reds ran out 3-0 winners. We take a look at some that really tell a story.
Van Dijk is back
We’ll start off with the most promising Liverpool stats – Virgil van Dijk absolutely looked like himself against Norwich. The Dutchman is back and Liverpool are much, much better for it.
Now, you can easily look at Liverpool’s clean-sheet and see what Van Dijk brought. But that’s far from the whole story here. What he did with the ball is as important to the Reds’ machine.
And Van Dijk was magnificent in possession. He completed the fourth-most passes of anyone in the Premier League this weekend, and was third for long passes.
In fact, no outfield player covered more cumulative distance forward than Van Dijk. He was constantly looking to get the Reds going, as proven by his eight passes into the final third – joint-fifth best for the weekend.
All of it was brilliant – the best in the world is back.
Naby Keita was one to watch this weekend – but then, he usually is. The 26-year-old is an immensely talented player who doesn’t consistently perform.
We always want to see if this is the season he puts it together. In that regard, Saturday was very encouraging.
One big problem with Keita has always been his defensive output. He can look lost and a little light in the middle. Not this time, though.
Keita won four tackles, per Statsbomb, which was ninth-best in the Premier League this weekend. Even better, he won the ball back with all of them – only two players can top that.
And the Guinean pressed relentlessly, too. Only Jorginho attempted more presses across every game.
So this was very encouraging. Keita applied himself in a way we don’t usually see – more of this, and maybe he will finally come to life consistently.
We went over this one in some detail here but Kostas Tsimikas made his full Premier League debut this weekend and looked good. He wasn’t perfect, of course, but the Greek did what Liverpool needed.
Above all, Tsimikas looked to move Liverpool forward. He carried the ball into the final third on four occasions – only six Premier League players best that.
He also passed the ball into the final third four times, in fact. Both suggest Liverpool have another aggressive full-back who can drive the team forward.
Man of the Match
Mohamed Salah has had some stick for being greedy or selfish in the past. Notably from Garth Crooks, who likes to hammer that point whenever the Egyptian is in the news.
And Salah did get his goal, of course. It was a wonderful strike, too, with sensational control to set it up. But what really set him apart on Saturday was his creativity.
Per Statsbomb, Salah created three chances for teammates on Saturday. They combined for an ‘Expected Assist’ total of 1.2 – far and away the best of any Premier League player.
His actual assists came in at two, of course, only behind Paul Pogba for the weekend.
Liverpool are very reliant of Salah for goals a lot of the time. But it shows just how special he is that the Egyptian can pivot and become a fantastic creator when you play through him.
Keep this up and Liverpool are in for a fifth consecutive year of Salah being a genius.