Symposium #6 – How Many Points Is Acceptable?

Symposium #6 – How Many Points Is Acceptable?
February 1, 2013 Paul Tomkins

For this week’s topic we asked our panel what they thought would be an acceptable points tally at the end of the season, and what they expected if the two differ. This week, Dan Kennett, Andrew Beasley, Bob Pearce, James Keen, Krishen Bhautoo, Alex Tate and Dave Cronin all put in their two penn’orth, as well as Chris Rowland, Daniel Rhodes and Paul Tomkins:

By Dave Cronin:

At the start of the season, I would have viewed any points tally below 60 as a disappointment and, based on our current situation, I see no reason to revise that view. However, there is a difference between ‘disappointing’ and ‘unacceptable’. To me, an ‘unacceptable’ points tally would mean the manager is lucky if he keeps his job (and probably shouldn’t), whereas a ‘disappointing’ tally would mean the manager gets a second season with the warning: ‘Must do better’.

Houllier posted 54 points in his first season while Rafa collected 58. Both needed to do better in their next campaigns and both did, with Houllier improving his tally by 13 points and Rafa by a massive 24. Hodgson was on course for under 50 points and that, along with everything else about the man, was clearly unacceptable. Kenny’s 52 points last season was also (rightly in my opinion) deemed unacceptable by FSG.

I feel Rodgers has a stronger squad than either Houllier or Rafa did in their first seasons and on that basis, I would suggest below 55 points is unacceptable; 55-59 is disappointing; 60-64 is reasonable and 65 or more is a decent first campaign.

I predict 58 points.

By Chris Rowland:

From here on in, breaking the 60 point barrier would be an acceptable return, and I think we’ll do it – just. I see a few draws ahead, but not too many defeats. I don’t expect a huge EL impact as I don’t expect us to get past Zenit. 60 points would be an 8 point improvement on last season, and probably secure 7th place, also up on last season, though only by one. The same six would be above us, with only Newcastle moving out of the bloc ahead of us. There is a chance of overtaking Everton and getting 6th with 60 points, but they’d only need another 20 points from their remaining 14 games to top that.

So that would represent an improvement – whether it would represent enough of one is the big talking point. I still see five teams as significantly stronger than us, and probably won’t be truly satisfied until that five is reduced by five, and we’re as good as anyone else around.

By James Keen:

As a minimum I would like us to get more points than we achieved last season, so 53 points would be the minimum to suggest some form of progress. As we are currently on 35 points we would need to get another 18 to reach that goal from 14 games, 1.28 points per game which seems eminently doable. In fact if we continue our current PPG of 1.46 then we would finish the season on 55 points. So given this scenario I will be content with this season’s work rather than bowled over by it.

Having gone through the fixtures, we have seven home games and some winnable away games. I expect out PPG to go up through this last sequence of games, if we could get somewhere around 60 points that would be a good result considering the hard start to the season. From this point that equates to 1.78 points per game from here on in, from my point of view that may be ambitious but we should be looking to get as many points as possible as the quality in the league this year is highly questionable. If we can crack 60 points I will be happy and content that the team is making good progress, anything on top of that will be a massive bonus.

By Dan Kennett:

This is what I said in the Pre-Season Previews from mid-August:

If we think back to 09/10, Benitez was sacked for finishing with an ‘unacceptable’ 63 points. In the two seasons since we’ve been considerably worse. I think a ‘par’ score this season is 61-63 points because when you think about it, you can get to 61 points with 17 wins, 10 draws and 11 defeats. That shouldn’t be beyond the capability of any Liverpool team. A ‘good’ season would be pushing to 65 points and beyond because that will be in genuine contention for 4th. A ‘bad’ season would be another season of 58 points or less. I think Rodgers’ job will be at serious risk if he ends up with 55 points or less.

In my recent “Decline or Rise” post I added to this:

Since 2001/02, the average Liverpool points per game performance is 1.76 with the median 1.67 (this is because very good seasons like 01/02, 07/08 and 08/09 skew the data).

So a real measuring stick for Rodgers should be 1.67 PPG or 63 over the season.

Based on it being the 50th percentile, I’d say 63 points is STILL the acceptable points tally.

Our current forecast of 55/56 points is right on the lower limit of what is acceptable and I’d still expect big pressure on Rodgers should he only get 55. The good news is that there is significant scope for year-on-year improvement in the 14 games left. For a start, Liverpool are only defending 3 points in six of the fixtures (but this does include Chelsea at Anfield). More importantly, there are six fixtures against teams below us in the table where we only got a combined 3 points last season: Swansea, West Brom at home; Wigan, Reading, Newcastle and Fulham away. Therefore 63 points, even at this stage, is not unrealistic.

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