With every match a team plays, they subtly alter the statistical picture they are painting of their season. Perhaps they add a splash of colour here or a throughball assist there.
It can leave what was a strong idea for an article somewhat weaker before you know it, and truth be told that has occurred to some extent here. After their 2-2 draw with Manchester City, Liverpool were averaging 7.7 completed crosses per match, which if maintained across the whole of 2021/22 would give them the highest total of any Premier League team in the last 13 seasons.
However, by falling below this by only having a pair against both Watford and Manchester United their rate has cooled off. But then again, is there ever a bad time to take a look at how the Reds are performing with their deliveries from wide areas? In one way or another, crossing has arguably been the key tactical facet of the FSG era.
The first team they built was designed by Damien Comolli, with players such as Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson tasked with providing the aerial ammunition for Andy Carroll. It didn’t work, but then two seasons later Liverpool nearly won the title thanks in no small part to 21 crossed assists, a total no Premier League team has topped in a single campaign since.
The side to come closest was Jürgen Klopp’s 2019/20 crew, with 20, and you all know how they got on that year. It couldn’t last, though, and Liverpool’s crossing reached such a nadir last season that Jim Garrison had to study the tape and investigate what had happened.
So perhaps what we’ve seen with crosses is simply a pretty standard numerical rollercoaster, with the trough of 2020/21 following the peak of the year before, with the current campaign levelling off somewhere in the middle in due course. But whether the Reds ultimately do complete more crosses than any other side in the analytical era or not this season, they’ve created more chances from them than any other team in the division has this term, so a closer look is certainly worthwhile.
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