The Manuel Pellegrini era at West Ham United got off to the worst possible start yesterday afternoon as his team were thrashed 4-0 by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield in their Premier League opener, it’s now time to get the statistics behind the scores as we analyse some of the key stats from the one-sided affair.
If you wanted one stat that displays alone the Reds’ dominance as they scored four goals against the Irons for the fourth game in succession in all competitions, possession certainly is the one for you.
Klopp’s men weighed in with a staggering 64.8% to the West Ham’s 35.2%, the Merseyside club used this to launch attack after attack and boss the centre of the park, strangling Pellegrini’s men when they had possession of the ball and tiring them quickly by keeping the ball for long periods.
The total shots stat simply displays just how much more of a threat Liverpool’s world-renowned front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane was, compared the West Ham’s system of Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere and Michail Antonio supporting Marko Arnautovic the lone striker.
The visitors only had five attempts for the whole match, while you would need to triple that figure and add three to reach the amount the Merseyside got off, in truth, their 18 shots should have warranted plenty more goals than the five they conjured up.
Shots On Target
You can have as many shots as you like, but to be successful, you have to be accurate with them, and this is something the West Ham struggled with whilst last year’s UEFA Champions League finalists had no problems in doing.
Eight of the hosts’ 18 efforts were on target, which means they struck gold with half of their shots directly on goal, Pellegrini’s men only offered a quarter of that figure, two on target, both of which were easy stops for Alisson on his debut.
Pass completion percentage is one statistic that new gaffer Pellegrini won’t be too worried about in the post-mortem of such a heavy defeat that he will be undertaking at the club’s Rush Green training ground today, with his team managing over 80%, 82.8 per cent, we’ve seen far worse.
But, that respectable number is made to look pedestrian by that of the side believed by many to be genuine title contenders this campaign, as average, nine out of ten of their passes reached their intended target thanks to a 90% pass completion rate.
Key passes are what can change a match, no matter which way it is swaying, in the blink of an eye, a flash of brilliance from midfield that sets up a golden scoring opportunity for a striker or attacking midfielder and unsurprisingly, we can see a huge contrast once again.
12 of these moments were enjoyed by the Anfield faithful, three of which culminated in goals, with the fourth strike coming from a slice of luck from a corner, whereas, the vocal Claret & Blue Army were only treated to four, far too few to cause a team of the Reds’ calibre any real problems.
In the case of this match, corners are something of a statistical anomaly, in that they are much tighter than the other stats and for large periods of the game, the Hammers actually had more corners than their much-superior opponents.
The Reds had just five and the boys in Claret & Blue were right behind them with four, the former made one of these count when Daniel Sturridge rounded off the scoring late on, the latter did manage to test Allison once from these set-plays, when he was able to catch the header of fellow South American Fabian Balbuena.
While usually irrelevant in such a one-sided encounter, this statistic has been included as a nod to a defence that, in many ways and despite being blasted for playing an unsuccessful high line, did well to keep the scoring down at Anfield.
Meanwhile, West Ham’s attack could only force the defence they were battling with into nine clearances, the back four cleared over twice as many crosses and passes that came into the area, giving them a glimmer of positivity and something to build on, having been transformed in the summer transfer window.
Our eighth and final stat relates to the two starting goalkeepers on Merseyside, world-record Brazilian Allison on debut for Klopp and another debutant, 33-year-old Polish International Lukasz Fabianski who was signed from recently-relegated Swansea City in June.
As aforementioned, Pellegrini’s team could only force the ex-Roma man into a pair of saves and both were fairly straightforward catches for him on one of the easier afternoons he will enjoy in this league, the story was different for Fabianski with him pulling off four saves in an impressive opening performance, there was little he could have done about the four elusive goals.
So, now that all the stats have been well and truly crunched from the day where West Ham fell to the bottom of the Premier League table after Matchday One and Liverpool rose to the top of it, will we have more positive statistics to reflect on come this time next week, after Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have been the first visitors of the season to London Stadium?