Ten statistics that suggest Manchester City > Liverpool

Date published: Wednesday 24th June 2020 8:21

Liverpool are currently 20 points clear of Manchester City so there’s no doubt that the former have been the better team and will deserve the Premier League title. But there are so many statistics to which City can cling like 99 red balloons as they prepare for their next title challenge. 

Obviously Liverpool have conceded fewer goals, won more games and so claimed many more points so all this is utterly immaterial…


* Goals: Man City 76, Liverpool 66
That’s quite a lot more goals. But the bad news for City is that you still only get three points for winning 4-0, 5-0, 6-1 or 8-0 – the same as you do for a scratchy 1-0 or forgettable 2-0. City can boast six five-goal-plus goalscorers to Liverpool’s usual trio.


* Shots: Man City 582, Liverpool 462
Well that stands to reason but it’s worth noting that Liverpool are scoring with one in every seven shots (neat maths) while City are taking 7.66 shots for every goal. Liverpool are shooting less but shooting better.


* Possession: Manchester City 61.9%, Liverpool 59.2%
Interestingly, City’s possession statistics have noticeably come down over the last three seasons while Liverpool have remained relatively static. Possession clearly does not unequivocally equal success but Pep Guardiola will feel more comfortable with that figure closer to 65%.


* Pass completion: Manchester City 89.1%, Liverpool 83.9%
More risks and more long passes are taken by Liverpool, who are actually slightly less careful with the ball than Chelsea and Arsenal. It’s not a metric that will remotely bother Jurgen Klopp.


* Shots conceded: Manchester City 216, Liverpool 282
Now this is genuinely surprising considering Liverpool have conceded fewer goals. But then you drill down and realise that Liverpool’s opponents are taking 36% of their shots from outside the box in comparison to City’s 30%. Factor in Alisson’s peerless shot-stopping ability (81.4% save percentage) and it all makes sense.


* Dribbles: Manchester City 378, Liverpool 306
A really good illustration of the different styles of the two teams, with Liverpool moving the ball much faster. Their front three do post excellent ball-carrying numbers but the midfield take no such chances with the ball at their feet, unlike Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.


* Possession loss from a poor touch: Manchester City 359, Liverpool 466
Liverpool’s front three all lose the ball with a poor touch far more often than anybody in City colours. You go through Sadio Mane (82), Mo Salah (74) and Roberto Firmino (71) long before you even get close to Raheem Sterling (54). That’s an inevitable consequence of paying longer passes that are more difficult to control.


* xG: Manchester City 78.53, Liverpool 61.69
So the ten-goal gap between the two sides should actually be 13, with Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling both under-scoring according to Understat. While Roberto Firmino is way, way, way under his individual xG, all the other major goal threats at Liverpool are making the most of their lesser opportunities.


* xGA: Manchester City 28.39, Liverpool 29.31
This is the statistic that is utterly damning of Ederson and his 66.66% save completion rate, which puts him in a similar bracket to Tim Krul, Lukasz Fabianski and Alex McCarthy. It strongly suggests that it’s not only the defence that has been the problem at City, but the goalkeeper.


* xPoints: Manchester City 68.94, Liverpool 61.14
Basically, we should be getting giddy that Manchester City could cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League next week at the Etihad. But as this is a model that also tells us Everton should be seventh, Arsenal and Spurs should be nestled in 13th and 14th and Newcastle should be rock bottom, we shall stick to the actual Premier League table.

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