Liverpool v Chelsea, Sunday 16:00
– Liverpool face Chelsea on the back of successive 0-0 draws against Reading and West Ham, and are now ten points off fourth place and a champions League spot.
– Those back to back 0-0 draws don’t tell the full story though, as in the game against Reading Luis Suarez got five shots on target, more than any other player in the games taking place last week and in midweek, so this may be the game when those chances start hitting the back of the net again.
– That was the fourth time this season that Suarez has had five or more shots in target in a game, taking his tally of shots on target for the season to 98, and putting him course to have his 100th shot on target against Chelsea.
– Suarez is now just one goal ahead of van Persie in the race for this season’s golden boot on 22 compared to van Persie’s 21. The number behind those goals make interesting reading, as Suarez is the more accurate shooter (60.1% on target compared to van Persie’s 57.8%) yet he needs more shots for each goal than van Persie (7.4 shots per goal compared to 5.5 shots per goal). That may suggest that Suarez has just been held up by inspired goalkeeping performances this season, as he gets his shots on target more but has not been reaping the rewards.
– Chelsea should be especially wary of Liverpool regaining possession, as Lucas made 21 interceptions and Carragher 20 against Reading to rank second and third in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for interceptions in the last week of games.
– Only two Liverpool players had made 20 or more interceptions in a game before Lucas and Carragher’s masterclasses against Ready – Skrtel with 31 against Southampton in March, and Agger’s 20 against Norwich in January.
– Lucas is also ranked 7th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s midfielders for tackles won with 62, despite having played around half as many minutes of any of the players above him. Lucas has played 1,573 minutes this season, while the top tackling midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has won 80 tackles in 3,044 minutes. On his current average, if Lucas has played as many minutes he would have won 120 tackles this season.
– Chelsea, on the other hand, hit three past Fulham in their last game, but all from their defence as John Terry scored a brace and David Luiz a goal of the season contender.
– Luiz’s goal shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as the Brazilian has never been shy of a shot at goal. He’s had 43 efforts this season, more than any other defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 51% on target.
– Remarkably, Terry now has four goals this season from just 6 shots at goal. The only defender who can rival that conversion rate is Manchester United’s Jonny Evans who has thee goals from 7 shots at goal in the Premier League.
– Fernando Torres has returned to his best this season after enduring a tough season last year, and will face his former club on Sunday. He’s won 25 tackles this season, the fifth highest by a striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and proof of his tenacity and desire to win the ball back.