FeatureIn conversation with AXA: How data helps shape LFC on the pitch



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Liverpool FC utilises data in various ways to help monitor squad wellness, interpret player performance and identify areas to improve Jürgen Klopp's squad.

The Reds see data as a vital cog in the machine in their bid to build a consistent winning team behind closed doors at the AXA Training Centre.

Data can be gathered and collected through different avenues – whether it’s on the pitch, or off it.

At Liverpool, the club specifically uses a custom-built app for players that is used daily to gather and track information on topics such as fatigue and how they are feeling.

This allows coaches to get ahead of any potential issues, whether that be mental, physical or any possible early signs of an injury developing.

They also utilise more common things such as GPS tracking on-pitch to help understand players’ movements during matches, alongside player speed and bursts in acceleration.

Liverpool research software engineer Mark Stevenson sat down with AXA’s group chief data scientist and head of AI research and thought leadership Marcin Detyniecki to give an insight into how the club uses data to help shape its on-pitch approach.

His AXA equivalent also lifted the lid on how they similarly use data within their own field, in an exclusive Q&A with the club’s official training partner AXA.

Read on for the interview below…

Thank you both for joining us, let’s start with what kind of data you measure and why?

Mark: At Liverpool, we measure a huge amount of data, ranging from GPS data for the games, to where the players are and where the ball is. We also measure a lot of player metrics; the speed that they go, the accelerations and the distance that they run. Internally we also manage wellness data. We ask the players certain questions every day to try to gain a good understanding of how they’re feeling and that can raise things that the players may not have told us previously, but we can get them flagged sooner rather than later.

Marcin: Actually, data are small pieces of information that tell us something about the world. It could be, for example, the speed of the wind in a natural catastrophe or the speed of a player or his or her size or weight. In insurance, this information is about risks and how to deal with them.

Mark, specifically, what are the benefits of your work for Liverpool’s players?

Mark: We have a custom-built wellness app which the players use daily when they get to the training ground. This allows us to capture the subjective data, which can monitor fatigue and things like that with the players. We also then combine that with the objective data from training sessions and things to make sure that we’re capturing all the information about the players that we need. The subjective data will sometimes raise things that the players haven’t raised directly with us, and it will mean that we can catch things before they become too much of a problem, potentially.

And how do you both currently work with healthcare data?

Mark: We capture the subjective wellness data for players. They enter that as soon as they come to the training ground. That gives us an insight into how they’re feeling, whether that be fatigued, or something. That can then lead to a conversation with the player to help improve and resolve any potential issues that might arise. It’s an important aspect of the healthcare data that we capture.

Marcin: Insurance is a central actor in the healthcare system and our efforts go to anticipate customer and patient’s needs. This is why we have developed offers such as telemedicine or teleconsultations, but it’s also about helping the customers navigate through this very complex system and get the best possible outcome.

How do you leverage and build an improvement plan from the data points you gather every day?

Mark: We’re constantly looking to improve the data that we gather at Liverpool, whether that be gaining new metrics from it or improving the app that we have now. Anything that we can gather from the data could be a slight advantage for us as a team and a club. So, it’s important that we’re making the most out of the data that we receive.

Marcin: Data is the necessary resource to do our job as insurers. As a precious resource, we need to treat it in a careful and safe manner. For this we have teams which are dedicated to doing things such as management of the data, meaning treating this data properly, but also people taking care of the quality, making sure that we have a fair representation of the world and the risks associated to the things that matter.

What is the most surprising piece of data you have come across or found most interesting?

Mark: When we see the sprint speed from players, especially when you see a defender that’s done a magnificent sprint throughout a game that you didn’t really expect. From a fan’s point of view, when you’re watching a game and you think someone is sluggish, to look back at the data and see that they were one of the fastest players during the game is always quite surprising.

Marcin: We have worked on all sort of very exotic data, such as GPS position, real time of vessels around the world, or rather imaging coming from satellites. One data set I did not anticipate seeing is CO2 emissions. In fact, AXA wants to contribute to the global challenge of sustainability and this data is really needed there. This is the thing that allows us to be sure we are investing in green assets or divesting from carbon-heavy industries. And this applies also to underwriting, which is the fact that we accept or not to insure something.

Lastly, what do you think the future of data access is? And what would the use be in both of your fields, specifically?

Mark: We’re always looking to expand on the data that we obtain, especially about players on the pitch. So, there’s the advances now in tracking that will allow us to get skeletal data, and posture data for players. We can start to monitor posture on-pitch and things like that, which will help us with improving player performance.

Marcin: The future of data is going to be going from static data to data in movement. This has profound consequences in geospatial or in parametric insurance. A good part of the focus in the future will be about paying and dealing with the claims quicker and making sure that we anticipate even better the risks.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.