Liverpool v Fulham
Liverpool scintillating start to the season came to an abrupt halt in their last league outing. Unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League in their first nine games the reds were unable top make it a perfect ten after falling to a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.
That game was just the second time this season Liverpool have been prevented from scoring as the prolific ‘SAS’ strikeforce have 14 goals between them.
Sturridge is the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s most prolific shooter, with 32 shots at goal showing a player full of confidence under Brendan Rodgers. Last season’s most prolific shooter Luis Suarez has seemingly take a step back this season a Sturridge takes the goal scoring pressure off him. Suarez is ranked 9th for shots at goal with 22. That’s an average of 4.4 shots per game, compared to the 5.1 per game he averaged last season.
At the other end of the pitch, Liverpool’s excellent string of results have as much to do with the form of their goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as their strikeforce. Mignolet has made 39 saves this season, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
Lucas has also dominated defensively, winning 44 tackles, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Lucas is one of only seven players in the league to have attempted more than 50 tackles, and has the best tackle success rate of those players with 78.6%.
Lucas’ defensive work has freed up Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to return to his imperious best with the ball at his feet. Gerrard has completed 365 passes in his opponent’s half, the fourth highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
After enjoying back to back wins last month, Fulham have now suffered three defeats in a row after losing 3-1 to Manchester United in their last match. A consolation goal from Alex Kacaniklic was not enough to get a result for Fulham, who conceded three in 25 minutes at the start of the game.
Fulham can rest assured that they don’t need to create many chances for Darren Bent this season, as he will convert those he receives. Bent has had just five attempts at goal this season, getting four on target and scoring two. Only four players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index have scored two or more goals from fewer shots.
Patjim Kasami’s season may be defined by his wonder goal against Crystal Palace, but his defensive work deserves equal plaudits. Kasami has won 29 tackles this season, the 14th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Likewise, team mate Steve Sidwell will strike fewer sweeter volleys than he did against Palace, but has been putting in the unglamourous work this season as well making 25th interceptions, the 9th highest in the Barclays Premier League, and 9 blocks, the sixth highest.