By Bulldog Drummond
Liverpool find themselves in flux, according to the Guardian, and that is what their results of late show. Of the last ten games this season (three in the Champions’ League, seven in the Premier League) Liverpool have won just four, drawn four and lost two.
And there is a fair amount of angst to be found in the Liverpudlian ranks. Drawn matches with Fulham, Palace, Everton and Brighton, and a defeats to Napoli and Manchester United were not expected of them. We wouldn’t have expected them to win all those drawn games in the past, but surely some of them.
Perhaps the defeat to Napoli is excusable since Napoli are top of the Italian League (won six, drawn two) but the away draw with Everton and the home draw with Brighton were not really expected based on past seasons.
Indeed in the last 18 games of last season in the run-up to that infamous Champions League final, Liverpool didn’t lose a single match and drew just three, including winning the FA Cup and getting to the Champions League final. Clubs such as Everton and Manchester United were easily swatted aside, and indeed one might even say the same about Arsenal who were beaten 0-2 at Arsenal Stadium on 16 March.
Indeed that end-of-season league table was shown over and over again for anyone willing to look…
…what with Liverpool in second being 18 points and 18 goals above Chelsea in third place, and 23 points and 33 goals above Arsenal in fifth. But things season, my how things have changed…
True Liverpool have played one fewer than Arsenal and true when that is taken into account the goals for and against per game show Arsenal on 2.50 goals scored and 1.00 goals conceded. Liverpool are on 2.57 scored and 1.29 conceded. Which makes the difference look marginal – but most of their goals came from that aberration of a game against Bournemouth. Take the Bournemouth match out of the equation and Liverpool have scored 1.50 goals per game and conceded 0.67 goals per game.
So the chances are they might well score against Arsenal, but Arsenal ought to be able to knock in at least a couple of goals.
In history, Liverpool are one of a very small number of teams that have beaten Arsenal more than we have beaten them – we have won 81 they have won 94.
And indeed we have only beaten them three times in the last ten games: once in the League, once in the Community Shield and once in the league cup on penalties.
|30 Oct 2019||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||5-5||League Cup|
|15 Jul 2020||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||2-1||Premier League|
|29 Aug 2020||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||1-1||FA Community Shield|
|28 Sep 2020||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|01 Oct 2020||Liverpool v Arsenal||W||0-0||League Cup|
|03 Apr 2021||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-3||Premier League|
|20 Nov 2021||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||4-0||Premier League|
|13 Jan 2022||Liverpool v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Cup|
|20 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-2||League Cup|
|16 Mar 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-2||Premier League|
So all the historical odds are firmly stacked against us, but the contemporary odds in terms of this season’s form are in our favour and Liverpool are firmly ninth in the league, although with a game in hand. Although that game in hand will do little other than raise them as high as fifth If results don’t go their way the progress might only be as far as seventh.
As to why it has gone like this the Guardian is suggesting that Liverpool are the ones in flux, with “Sadio Mané’s departure appearing to have had a profound impact, and can no longer be sure of turning this season into a one-two with Manchester City.”
Now there is a certain Liverpudlian arrogance in that comment: “can no longer be sure of turning this season into a one-two with Manchester City.”
To achieve this not only would Liverpool have dramatically to turn their season around, Arsenal, Tottenham, Brighton, Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Fulham would all have to falter. And although we might see that happening for some of those teams, the notion that all of them will falter while Liverpool go charging up the league is so over the top it could only have come from a football journalist.
But these journalists will cling to any twiglet in a tornado, and Nick Ames gives that view, noting that “Arsenal have not scored against Liverpool in their last six meetings across all competitions.”
He does however finally calm down a bit and acknowledges that “It has been well documented that second place looks up for grabs this time around: this could be the time Mikel Arteta and company begin the changing of the guard in earnest.”
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