Although a 2-2 draw doesn’t exactly spell catastrophe for the club, what ended up a fair result illustrated a worrying trend emerging in all four of Liverpool’s matches so far, as Brendan Rodgers’ men fail to maintain standards in the second half. In fact, the Reds haven’t managed to score once during the second half in any of their matches so far.
For the initial 45 minutes at the Liberty Stadium, Liverpool were able to take away 50 percent of the possession figures, but were completely overrun in the second and retained the ball a dismal 39 percent of the time.
On top of this, the Reds created half as many chances as they had done previously before the break.
Some might suggest that Phillipe Coutinho’s injury stifled creativity in the area of the pitch connecting Liverpool’s attack with the third of the pitch they were defending, and typically playing out from: an area Swansea City continued to press.
This setback, alongside the moment Jonjo Shelvey finally decided which team he wanted to play for, arguably tipped the scales in swan’s favour.
Liverpool also saw their passing activity impoverished, only managing to successfully move the ball on 112 times in the second half, less than half as many as the first, 243.
Similarly, during their victory against Manchester United, Liverpool created more than twice as many chances in the first half, and what’s more, they allowed United to create more than twice as many chances in the second half themselves.
During their trip to Villa Park, the Liverpool players were also overwhelmed in the later stages of the game. After dominating for the first 45 minutes through retaining the ball almost 60 percent of the time, the reds slumped to 43 percent during the second.
Furthermore, again we saw how Liverpool allowed their opponents to generate so many more chances later in the game. Standing out among others is the heart stopping moment in which Christian Benteke latched onto the ball in the last five minutes and produced a quality save from Simon Mignolet.
There is also a lack of concentration that seems to infiltrate Liverpool’s game toward the end of the match. You would be hard pressed to think of an acceptable explanation for what Daniel Agger must have been thinking during the last ten minutes of Liverpool’s opening game, in which he gifted Stoke City a penalty by fist-bumping the ball, so much less than imperceptibly.
Undoubtedly, few Liverpool fans will mind all that much about uninspired second half displays should they continue to produce the results they have been. Yet, if Liverpool want to be involved in the battle for fourth place, they would do well to take a look this particular flaw in their game and come up with some sort of solution – half-time smelling salts, maybe?
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