Liverpool Are Kings Of Individual Errors

We're talking errors leading to shots and goals along with own goals, penalties conceded and red cards and Liverpool are by far the worst culprits...

Last Updated: 15/01/14 at 09:37 Post Comment

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The game between Stoke and Liverpool on Sunday afternoon was one packed with entertainment due to disastrous defending as much as moments of real quality. The game was calamitous for a number of players, with three errors leading to goals, one own goal and one albeit highly dubious penalty conceded.

The match caught the imagination of WhoScored.com, who in turn have delved into the stats to find the worst architects of their own downfall as well as those that have been most reliable at the back, with some alarming results. To do so we combine the number of errors leading to shots and goals along with own goals, penalties conceded and red cards received.

At the top of the pile are Brendan Rodgers' much-improved Liverpool side, though it's clear that for all of their free-flowing football the Reds still lack concentration and discipline at the back. The Merseysiders have committed a total of 23 errors leading to goals or shots - the highest in the league - as well as netting two own goals and conceding two penalties, taking their tally here to 27.

It's obvious that if Liverpool have realistic aims of challenging for the Premier League title they'll need to improve dramatically in this regard. Nevertheless they aren't the only team at the business end that isn't exactly doing themselves any favours defensively.

Both Manchester City and Arsenal rank among the top five here with 21 apiece, with Manuel Pellegrini's side committing 19 errors leading to goals and shots, a decent chunk of which came during a high-profile dip in form from Joe Hart. Arsenal, meanwhile, have been particularly guilty when it comes to conceding penalties, with four.

Chris Hughton's Norwich are second overall, with 25, making 20 errors leading to goals or shots, conceding two penalties, two own goals and receiving one red card. When you damage your own chances as much as that in the Canaries' position you're sure to be in a relegation scrap, and that is proving to be the case with the East Anglians without a win in six.

The team that complete the top five in terms of guiltiest parties when it comes to self-destructing are Stoke, with no side conceding more penalties this season (5). The Potters' total is also 21, and they find themselves at the opposite end of this spectrum to last season under Pulis, when only City, Chelsea and West Ham had a lower combined tally.

A look at the least error-prone defences certainly throws up some surprises. Bottom of the pile in terms of total errors leading to shots or goals, own goals, penalties conceded and red cards combined are Cardiff. It's apparent that Malky McKay had his side well drilled when it came to their concentration levels at the back, with the Bluebirds' total of seven all coming from errors leading to shots or goals - three of which came in one game against Chelsea.

The Scot lost his job regardless, as did compatriot Steve Clarke at West Brom, with both dismissals deemed harsh by the majority. The Baggies have committed just five errors leading to shots or goals this season - a tally bettered by just one other side - with three penalties conceded taking their overall tally here to eight. Such findings suggest that the out-of-work duo have good reason to feel hard done by.

The aforementioned side that have committed fewer errors leading to goals and shots than WBA are Hull (3), and if Steve Bruce's men are to avoid the drop this season they'll have the concentration levels of their back line to thank. To put that figure into perspective the lowest tally of errors leading to shots and goals last season belonged to West Ham, with 14. The Tigers total here is equal to that of West Brom (8), having conceded three penalties, scored one own goal and conceded one penalty.

The only title challengers at the desirable end of this list are Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, with so much of the Portuguese's success in his career spawning from meticulous organisation at the back. The Blues are one of just three sides yet to concede a penalty this season, have picked up just one red card and committed just seven errors leading to goals or shots, also leaving their total at eight. In this respect they clearly have the upper hand over the likes of Liverpool, City and Arsenal in the title race as they are far less prone to shooting themselves in the foot (avoid Ashley Cole air rifle gag).

These are the sort of numbers that can prove the difference between success and failure at either end, so it's serious business. However, on a more light-hearted note here is an XI of the players that have least helped their side's cause this season. The figures below each again represent the combined number of errors committed leading to shots or goals, own goals, penalties conceded and red cards.

Martin Laurence - follow him on Twitter.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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