Nerdy by Nature – Crystal Palace by the numbers

What a fun game. Anytime you win 4-0, it’s enjoyable. But my goodness Palace made this especially fun by just being abject for almost all of it.

Let’s get nerdy with numbers shall we?

Overview

On the xG table, this thing was a blowout. Liverpool had an xG of 2.4. And that really underestimates how well Liverpool played. They had  numerous chances, and it seemed at times there was a queue of players lining up to try and score. Wayne Hennessey was mostly confused and out of place. However, I felt there was a bit of a lack of sharpness for the Liverpool players, meaning there were some great passes that would have been shot attempts or even goals in February, but players aren’t quite on form yet. In addition, the xG feels low because of some of the insane goals LFC did score. Fabinho’s goal has an xG of 0.1, which means there’s about a 10% probability of that shot going in.  Our experience reminds us that this isn’t new – Fabinho has scored from essentially the same place before – most notably against Manchester City at Anfield.

On the defensive side, there is almost nothing to discuss. Had Liverpool played with no GK, the score would have actually been the same because Alisson did not touch the ball once off a Crystal Palace shot. He did collect some misplaced passes by them and he did have a few goal kicks. But as a fun stat, you can tell folks Alisson had a 0% shot save percentage. Of course, that’s because Palace had zero shots on target. Alisson could have read a book and just gotten up when there was a misplaced pass and done the same thing! Though, a player that really stood out defensively is Fabinho. He was everywhere and was key in stopping the few chances Palace had going forward. Overall, the defense played great when they had to – but they had to very rarely.

Standouts

Fabinho – Fabinho is the key standout from this game of standouts. He was impeccable. We have already talked about his goal. He has a great amount of skill from that distance and has shown it again. The goal keeper had no chance at stopping that laser of a shot off Fabinho’s foot. His assist for the Mohamed Salah goal was absolutely spot on. He eliminated the entire Palace defense with the lofted pass and put it in a place where Salah would have a great chance to score – it was absolutely beautiful! However, that isn’t where his contribution ended. He was an incredible 94/96 (98%) passing, including 74/74 (100%) on passes between 5 and 20 yards. While many passes may be shorter and intended to move play along but even still, 98% passing accuracy is world class. 

In addition, he had the most presses with 20, demonstrating his constant pressing and putting Palace under duress. Going into every game, Klopp picks a player or two on the opposing side to harass and pressure and has someone spearhead that.  Palace didn’t really have any real ball progressers once Wilfred Zaha left injured but it’s clear Fabinho’s role was to disrupt everything in the midfield, something he did with aplomb.

Andrew Robertson – It was so good to see ole Robbo back in the lineup. When the Liverpool can threaten to go down either the left or right wing instead of just one, the entire offense looks better. And the numbers back it up. He was second in the team in progressive passes (advancing the ball more than 10 yards past where it was in the last six passes) with 10. He kept the game flowing and moving the ball forward. As well, he chipped in with an assist as well.

Mohamed Salah – Everyone claims he’s selfish. And honestly, with his finishing record, he has earned the right to be. But this game was a prime example of how not only is he excellent finishing but he is a fantastic shot creator. Salah had a goal and a great assist. But that’s the start. He led the team in shot creating actions (actions that should lead to a shot) with six. He also led the team with 12 progressive passes and eight passes into the penalty area. He also had the most touches of the front three with 79. That shows that Klopp uses him as one of the key playmakers from the right side of the field. So I focused completely on his passing and distribution with this is a two-time Golden Boot winner, which tells you how good Salah’s complete game is.

Neco Williams – since we don’t have any strugglers today, I decided to put one more standout. Was he a game changer? No. But my goodness how fun was it to watch him flying down the right side? I honestly think in a world where Trent Alexander Arnold doesn’t exist, Neco would be the next TAA. He is absolutely fantastic down the wing and I’m excited to watch his development!  He had 33 touches in 17 minutes.  Extrapolate that for 90 minutes and he would have had more touches than Trent did in the derby – when all the play went through him.  His 17 minutes were action packed with him attempting two dribbles (successful on one), passing at a prolific 24/27 (89%) rate and had two progressive passes.  I don’t want to overstep here because he is a kid, but if he plays like that regularly, we have a stud in the wings waiting!

Strugglers

This was such a thrashing – there were no strugglers.  Everyone played great in a very easy win for the lads. 

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts down below!

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