This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
It is now 33 games in a row unbeaten for Liverpool in the league.
The Reds continue to lead the way at the top of the Premier League table, although their lead remains at eight points once again following Leicester’s victory on Sunday against Aston Villa. However, Manchester City’s defeat against Manchester United now sees them move 14 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s team.
On Saturday, the Anfield outfit were convincing against Bournemouth at Dean Court, winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In a game that saw a number of changes from the former Borussia Dortmund manager, the latter started off in the unfamiliar position of left wing. It is a role he has very rarely been deployed in since making the move to Merseyside, and there may be a reason why.
Whilst the 26-year-old may have got himself on to the scoresheet, it was a very ineffective performance. Going forward, he didn’t really contribute to the play, with him failing to land a key pass and managing just one shot other than the one that ended up in the back of the net. He also completed just one of the three dribbles he attempted, whilst he also failed to find a teammate from his crosses.
On the defensive side, too, he was a peripheral figure. He made zero tackles, zero clearances and zero interceptions, whilst he also won just two of the nine duels he participated in. All in all, it was somewhat of a lacklustre display against a team that could only muster up 26% possession and had no shots on target.
His appearance on that flank came as Sadio Mane was rested. Although, it would be unfair to expect the £31.5m-valued England international – as per Transfermarkt – to hit the same heights as the 27-year-old, it was a performance that was nowhere near the former Southampton man’s usual output. He has averaged two key passes per match and 1.7 dribbles, whilst he has also managed 1.6 tackles as well. In all three of these aspects, Oxlade-Chamberlain was way off what was required.
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As the transfer window approaches, a back-up left winger would not go amiss. Divock Origi has valiantly tried to prove his worth there, but he is naturally a centre-forward rather than a wide man, and other than him, there are pretty much no options. Klopp’s decision to play Oxlade-Chamberlain there on this occasion paid off, but it did come against a particularly abject Cherries side. Had he not scored, his showing would have appeared to be an awful lot worse.
In other news, one other Liverpool moment may have been even better than winning the Champions League last season.