Everton host Liverpool this weekend and will be hoping, against all odds, that they can put their woeful run of results behind them and get some form going. League leaders Liverpool have hardly been at their best in recent weeks but the stats point to a huge advantage for the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp might have made some high-profile additions to his squad over the summer in an attempt to shore up his defence but he wasn’t the only manager on Merseyside to do so – Marco Silva signed Kurt Zouma and Yerry Mina to reinforce the heart of his backline.
Neither, though, have had the desired effect, be that through fault of their own or the Toffees boss’ insistence to stick by a clearly ineffective zonal marking system.
For all of Liverpool’s quick, counter-attacking prowess, there is a stat going under the radar that should be of bigger concern to Silva than the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The Reds have garnered a reputation for their scintillating, swift attacks and surely few would associate them with scoring the ugly way – through set-pieces.
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However, as of Monday, the Anfield outfit have netted from 15 – a league high – while their Goodison Park neighbours have conceded 13 goals from such situations – surprisingly, considering the height boasted by their defence, another league high.
All the focus will once again be on Salah, who has not delivered in the recent stalemates with Bayern Munich and Liverpool, but the stats indicate that the visitors will be at their most threatening when play has stopped rather than when one of their attackers is running with the ball at feet.
After the grief it has brought him and his side in recent weeks, Silva would surely be mad to stick with zonal marking for this heated clash with Everton’s bitter rivals.