Wednesday 26 April 2017

How Liverpool's goals dried up...

Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert
Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert
Steven Gerrard
Daniel Sturridge

Liverpool's bid for Champions League football has foundered mainly as a result of a lack of goals in the last month.

Since March 22, when they hosted Manchester United in a match which would have taken them into the top four with a win, the Reds have scored four times in five games and earned just four points.

Last season they amassed 101 goals in the Premier League but they have 47 with four matches left of the campaign so The Herald looks at how things have changed since.


Last season's impressive century of league goals came mainly courtesy of Luis Suarez (31) and Daniel Sturridge (21). Suarez (right) was sold to Barcelona in the summer leaving the England international as Liverpool's number one striker. A number of different injuries have restricted Sturridge to 12 league appearances and just four goals.



Mario Balotelli, whom manager Brendan Rodgers admitted was a gamble, and Rickie Lambert were recruited in the summer but have contributed one and two Premier League goals respectively. Fabio Borini has also scored once. Even with Sturridge's tally the Reds' four recognised strikers have fewer goals combined than Leicester's Leonard Ulloa (eight) - and he has just one goal in his last 10 games - and Burnley's Danny Ings (nine), whose current goal drought is 888 minutes.



Liverpool have had 15 different scorers in the league this season with winger Raheem Sterling, who has been pressed into a centre-forward role, leading the way with seven. Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard (right) have both contributed six and Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Sturridge managing four apiece. Sixteen clubs have players with more individual goals than Sterling, with Swansea's Sung-Yueng Ki level on seven. Only Crystal Palace (Glenn Murray, six) and Sunderland (Connor Wickham, five) have top-scorers with fewer goals.



With Balotelli, Lambert and Borini all unlikely to be at Anfield next season Rodgers is in desperate need of reinforcements up front. The Liverpool boss has already admitted he has to avoid the problems he has had with Sturridge (left) by signing a consistent goalscorer who can perform "at a top level every week". Rodgers needs proven quality but the difficulty is he is unlikely to attract the very best because of a lack of Champions League football. Ings, soon to be out of contract at Burnley, has been heavily linked with Liverpool and while he may yet make the short move to Merseyside he is not the finished article the club are crying out for.


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