New Liverpool manager instantly faces huge decision and xG data shows why

The xG data at Liverpool highlights a huge decision this summer - and it’s one the new manager will instantly need to deal with.

There's been a clear problem at Liverpool over the last few weeks. Well, there have been several and the fact they keep conceding goals needs to be addressed.

But more worrying and confusing is the inability to take chances. It was alarmingly obvious against Manchester United as the Reds peppered 28 shots at goal but required a penalty to find a second.

It was then even worse against Atalanta as Liverpool lost 3-0 at home, failing to convert any of their territorial dominance into goals.

And we say 'confusing' because Liverpool don't actually struggle for goals. Jurgen Klopp's side have more than anyone else in Europe, in fact.

The Reds get there, however, through creating a boatload of chances, rather than showing any ruthlessness. And the players' xG scores show that.

Liverpool's xG data

One way of measuring goal conversation is through xG differential. In other words, seeing how the number of goals a player should have differs from what they actually have.

Liverpool's forwards aren't particularly strong at this. Darwin Nunez, for instance, has five goals fewer than he should in the Premier League. That's the second-worst differential, behind only Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Worryingly for the Reds, they have a second player in the top (or bottom) 10. Luis Diaz also doesn't take his chances, and has three fewer goals this season than he should. That puts him with the seventh-worst differential.

Now, Erling Haaland also cracks the top 5 and he's the Premier League's top scorer. However, he also receives far more opportunities than any other player - he leads the league by far in xG and the gap between him and 2nd-placed Ollie Watkins is around the same as from Watkins to 10th.

Liverpool do not create that many chances for any one player. It would be fine is the other forwards boasted fantastic xG numbers but they simply don't. Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo are both right on par with their xG and the latter only has six goals.

The one bright spark is Diogo Jota, who has three more goals than he 'should' have. But then comes the negative - he only has 1000 minutes this season thanks to injuries. The Reds' one lethal goalscorer just doesn't play all that often.

Football - FA Cup - Quarter-Final - Manchester United, ManU FC v Liverpool FC MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool s Darwin Nunez looks dejected after the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 4-3 in extra-time. Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda MANCHESTER Old Trafford GREATER MANCHESTER ENGLAND PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xPropagandaxPhotoxAgencyx P2024-03-17-Man_Utd_Liverpool-98

Liverpool have one other player with at least one more goal than their xG total. That's Alexis Mac Allister, whose exact differential is +1.55.

For context, Manchester City have six players outperforming their xG by at least a goal - and none of those are Haaland. Arsenal have four. The Gunners also don't have any player inside the lowest 10 in the league, compared to the Reds' two inside the top seven.

And so whoever comes in as manager this season faces a major decision. Does he back the forwards to correct their finishing and put away chances consistently?

Or is it time to find a new reliable goalscorer? Especially with talk that Mohamed Salah could leave the club.

Because as things stand, Liverpool can't back themselves to win games they control. The major trophies aren't going to follow unless that changes.

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