Liverpool got their 2015-16 Premier League campaign off to a winning start as Philippe Coutinho’s second-half stunner secured a 1-0 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.
There was little to separate the two sides, however, with Brendan Rodgers’s side only managing one more shot than the Potters, although Mark Hughes will be particularly disappointed with a shot accuracy of just 20%.
Possession, too, was only marginally in Liverpool’s favour, with the visitors enjoying 53% to Stoke’s 47%, and total attempted passes were at a similar level, as the Merseysiders managed 478 to the home side’s 411.
New signings Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner were the most effective in terms of passing combinations, exchanging 14 passes down the Liverpool right, while the combinations (11) between Coutinho and centre-back Dejan Lovren shows the Brazilian’s eagerness to get involved and dictate play.
A revealing statistic of Liverpool’s play is their preference to attack down the right-hand-side, with a significant 51.3% of their attacking focus favoured to that area, with Clyne, Milner and Jordon Ibe all stationed in and around that flank.
Liverpool’s shape, and thus their preference to attack down the right, shows a clear lack of width on the left, with Adam Lallana more suited to jinking inside than sticking to the touchline, allowing Glen Johnson more freedom to get forward from right-back.
Coutinho’s position just off of Christian Benteke, meanwhile, was ultimately the area of the pitch that saw him slam home his side’s late winner, with Jordan Henderson performing more of a protective role in front of the back four.