web analytics
Close
Diogo Jota: Liverpool’s title hopes could depend on his finishing ability as Darwin Nunez and others struggle | Football News | Sky Sports

Diogo Jota: Liverpool’s title hopes could depend on his finishing ability as Darwin Nunez and others struggle | Football News | Sky Sports

Jurgen Klopp bemoaned Liverpool’s defensive openness in their Europa League loss to Atalanta. “It was tactical discipline,” he said. “They scored and we kept playing into their hands.”

But there were familiar issues at the other end of the pitch too. Liverpool had 19 shots worth 2.6 expected goals and yet failed to score once. Their finishing is a headache for Klopp.

This was just the latest example of a problem best summed up by their record against Manchester United this season. In three meetings with Erik ten Hag’s side, Liverpool are somehow winless despite having a staggering combined total of 87 shots on goal.

Darwin Nunez has been the main culprit, having five shots without scoring in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Old Trafford and six without scoring in the FA Cup loss there in March. He was similarly profligate against Atalanta, his one-on-one miss in the 15th minute setting the tone.

Datawrapper

This content is provided by Datawrapper, which may be using cookies and other technologies.
To show you this content, we need your permission to use cookies.
You can use the buttons below to amend your preferences to enable Datawrapper cookies or to allow those cookies just once.
You can change your settings at any time via the Privacy Options.


Unfortunately we have been unable to verify if you have consented to Datawrapper cookies.
To view this content you can use the button below to allow Datawrapper cookies for this session only.

The Uruguayan has of course made an important contribution this season, scoring 18 goals across all competitions and providing 13 assists. But his wastefulness remains a frustration.

According to Opta, he has missed 24 of his 30 big chances in the Premier League this season, giving him one of the worst conversion rates in the division.

Mohamed Salah’s level has dipped too.

The Egyptian was outstanding before aggravating his hamstring injury in February, scoring 15 goals in 21 Premier League games with an impressive shot conversion rate of over 22 per cent.

Mohamed Salah is having more shots but of a lower quality

Image:
Mohamed Salah is having more shots but of a lower quality

But since his return to action, that conversion rate has dropped to eight per cent. He is shooting more than twice as often but his efforts have been of lower quality. The numbers suggest he is trying too hard to rectify Liverpool’s issue on his own.

The reality is that no one player can do that entirely. Their wastefulness is a collective problem. Liverpool, although only one point off the top of the Premier League, rank down in 10th in terms of shot conversion. They are even lower, in 14th, for shot accuracy.

Their 11.5 per cent conversion rate is particularly concerning in the context of the title race given it falls so far below the usual standards of Premier League winners.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports’ James Savundra, Peter Smith and Nick Wright look at Liverpool’s finishing stats and how the fit-again Diogo Jota could help them take more chances

The last 10 teams to have won the title have averaged 14.3 per cent in terms of shot conversion. Last season, Manchester City’s shot conversion rate stood at 15.7 per cent.

The return of Diogo Jota, then, although not a magic fix, is timely.

The 27-year-old was excelling before sustaining his knee injury in February, scoring nine times in the Premier League, either side of a separate muscle injury which kept him out for a month before Christmas, and exhibiting his trademark ruthlessness in front of goal.

Datawrapper

This content is provided by Datawrapper, which may be using cookies and other technologies.
To show you this content, we need your permission to use cookies.
You can use the buttons below to amend your preferences to enable Datawrapper cookies or to allow those cookies just once.
You can change your settings at any time via the Privacy Options.


Unfortunately we have been unable to verify if you have consented to Datawrapper cookies.
To view this content you can use the button below to allow Datawrapper cookies for this session only.

In a statistical comparison with fellow forwards Salah, Nunez, Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo in Premier League games this season, Jota comes out on top across the board, averaging 0.77 goals per 90 minutes, with an overall shot conversion rate of 25 per cent.

While Salah, Nunez, Diaz and Gakpo have all underperformed their expected goals, Jota has done the opposite, scoring nine times from an xG of 4.42. In other words, he has hit nearly five goals more than he should have, based on the chances he has had.

The underlying numbers underline the clinical edge that led Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher to describe Jota as Liverpool’s best finisher of the Premier League era in January.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Jamie Carragher explained why Liverpool have missed Diogo Jota after their 2-2 draw with Man Utd on Sunday

“When he gets the chance, he is so clinical,” he said. “When everyone is fit, he is probably not even playing. But I still think he is a better finisher than the likes of (Luis) Suarez, (Fernando) Torres, even Salah. The only one who can compete with him is Robbie Fowler.”

That is a debate for another day. But Jota’s numbers hold up. Since the start of the 2010/11 campaign, his 19.2 per cent conversion rate is higher than any other Liverpool to have netted a minimum of 25 Premier League goals for the club, including Salah.

Diogo Jota boasts a 19.2 per cent conversion rate for Liverpool in the Premier League

Image:
Diogo Jota boasts a 19.2 per cent conversion rate for Liverpool in the Premier League

So, while Klopp said Liverpool’s collapse against Atalanta left him with “nothing positive” to to talk about, he may privately take encouragement from Jota’s return as a substitute.

Jota could not find a way past Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso during his 15-minute cameo. In fact, he spurned a good headed chance. But he added some much-needed urgency to their attack and looked physically sharp despite his spell out.


Sunday 14th April 1:00pm


Kick off 2:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

    He makes Liverpool stronger. This season, they have only lost one of the 18 games he has started, with a win rate of 78 per cent, compared to 63 per cent when he doesn’t start.

    Take a look his time at Liverpool as a whole and the same applies, albeit not quite as starkly. Liverpool win more games and score more goals with Jota in their starting line-up.

    Liverpool have a better record with Diogo Jota starting

    Image:
    Liverpool have a better record with Diogo Jota starting

    With Jota having scored five times in seven games before his latest injury against Brentford in February, Liverpool now need him to pick up where he left off, starting against Crystal Palace, live on Sky Sports on Sunday. Their title hopes could depend on it.

    Watch Liverpool vs Crystal Palace live on Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm on Sunday; kick-off 2pm

    Read More

    Add Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *