After Liverpool’s exhilarating draw against Manchester City on Sunday, one or two commentators were quick to comment how Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool are “undeniably progressing” this season. In fact, the entire managerial narrative arc under Rodgers’ Liverpool depends on the notion that once Liverpool adapt to his style perfected at Swansea, the club will return to the former heights of glory.
Borrowing a method from James Grayson, I plotted the rolling average of Liverpool’s total shots ratio (TSR) this season against their per-game PDO. Liverpool’s PDO averages to 1000, remarkably straight down the middle. They’re not particularly lucky or unlucky, but this average is slightly below that which you’d expect of a league-leading side.
Their TSR meanwhile has plateau’d around the .615-.620 mark. That’s an improvement over their Christmas TSR average of .608 (as Grayson has written, TSR has predictive power in as little as 4-6 games), but it’s also similar to the average Liverpool ended up with last season under Kenny Dalglish (.619). For comparison, Man City finished with a TSR of .654 last season.
Liverpool’s run of recent form may not seem that impressive considering the improvement in these numbers, but two draws against Arsenal and Man City respectively, preceded by three wins against smaller sides with a loss to United thrown in, indicate Liverpool could improve on their current 7th place position a little bit.