Did Liverpool have Two Seasons?

Following on from my shot locations articles I was asked to have a look at Liverpool’s season to see if they showed a marked difference in terms of their shot locations in each half of the season.

I could have chosen a number of dates as the cut off point, but @benjaminpugsley came up with the idea of looking at BC and AC, ie before and after Coutinho.

I have done this and have used the date of 16th February as the dividing point, which I believe is just prior to his first start.

Whole Season

First of all, let’s have a recap on how Liverpool’s shot heatmap looked for the entire season.

Liverpoolwhole

20% of shots came from poor positions (as before I am using the dotted line as the start of the poor positions area), 56% from inside the penalty area with 31% of those  coming from the central 6 zones within the penalty area.

Early Season

Now let’s look at what their shot heatmap looked like for games played prior to 16th February.

Liverpoolearly

Shots from poor positions are fairly similar at 21%, 56% from within the penalty area and 32% from the central portion of the penalty area.  All in all, the numbers for the first portion of the league are very close to those displayed over the entire league programme.

Late Season

And their shot heatmap for games played after the arrival of Coutinho .

Liverpoollate

Once again, not very different to that generated by games played prior to 16th February.

Findings

Despite what the perceived wisdom may suggest, it doesn’t appear that the arrival of Coutinho resulted in Liverpool having a vastly different shot profile from the one that they had before his arrival.
As an aside, I also looked at using other different cut off dates.  I looked at Christmas Day, Sturridge starting and transfer window – but the findings were all pretty similar.

Liverpool didn’t materially change where they struck their shots from over the course of the season.
Yes, they had slightly less shooting zones in games after 16th February, but as those games had just 232 shots versus 500 before the cut-off t its quite likely that this phenomenon was simply as a result of having fewer shots.

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