In her new Talking Reds column, Kate Cohen talks us through the important percentage numbers in football and why continuing to cut out mistakes could provide the Reds with a happy Christmas.
Following Liverpool's fantastically pragmatic start to the season, with three consecutive 1-0 wins, the Reds had only been able to keep one clean sheet - the 4-0 win against Fulham - until Sunday's triumph at Tottenham.
Goalkeeping coach John Achterberg highlighted errors as the reason for the lack of shut-outs:
"At the moment, it seems to be one defensive error from the team and then we concede a goal. So we just have to try and keep focused and remain switched on to anything to stop that happening. That will help us to get better results, because you're not always scoring four or five goals. You might need to win the game 1-0."
Despite the frustration of conceding silly goals, reoccurring errors which lead to a goal is a problem for all sides. The fantastic Ouriel Daskal deciphered a study by German sports scientist Dr Ronald Loy (titled Zufall im Fußball) which suggested that around 50 per cent of goals come as a result of an error and a large portion of goals come from pure luck.
Even our own Brendan Rodgers has a similar statistic which he likes to refer back to:
"The only statistic I want to know is how good we have been with the ball. In my cultural upbringing, on my travels, the statistic that interested me was if you were better than your opponent with the football you have a 79 per cent chance of winning the game."
This has been often misconstrued as a statistic about the importance of keeping the ball, especially given the possession-based game he preaches. But the idea of 'being better with the ball' is as much about making less errors, and forcing the opposition into errors through structured pressing, as it is about keeping the ball.
And if we consider that forcing a turnover is forcing an opposition into making an error, then is it any surprise that Liverpool have been better than the opposition in this regard on 13 occasions this season and have won 10 matches?
Rodgers described the losses to Southampton and Hull as wake-up calls, proof that any drop from the lofty standards set could be fatal to a season of hard work. Looking at the image below, the goals conceded against Southampton and Hull all had an element of error and bad luck.
1) A poor control which led to the corner 2) a misjudgement which led to a turnover 3) miscommunication which led to a scramble 4) a turnover in the final third, as well as an element of bad fortune
Whilst deciding what is and isn't an error is highly subjective, it is clear that defensive lapses have occasionally prevented Simon Mignolet from adding to his five Premier League clean sheets.
With the busy festive period well underway, Liverpool now have four games in 11 days. Two of the four games are against teams in direct competition with Liverpool, and with the Reds just two points from the summit of the table, let's hope Mignolet can collect a few more.