Liverpool put up big numbers in 2013

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First published at Footy Matters

It’s clear that 2013 was another action-filled year in football, despite featuring no major international championships. Here’s a look at some of the biggest (and smallest) numbers from the year just passed:

40 – The number of teams Michel Platini, president of Uefa, announced he believes should start the World Cup Finals in Russia in 2018. When asked what Sepp Blatter, Fifa president, thought of the idea, Platini replied, “I haven’t told him yet”.

6 – Brazilians are famous for their relaxed attitude to life and phenomenal ability to party, as demonstrated by the fact that 6 of the 12 stadia due to be used for the World Cup missed the December 31 deadline for completion. They are confident of finishing the rest before the end of the month.

2,393 – England fans who’d rather not take an extra flight in Brazil will drive over two thousand miles from their first game in Manaus to Sao Paolo to see England take on Brazil. If they go straight away, they might just make kick-off.

 

54 – San Marino conceded on average over 5 goals per game in their qualifying campaign, but did manage one solitary strike in reply, against Poland. Alessandro Della Valle’s 22nd minute equaliser was the minnows’ first competitive goal in over 5 years.

£750,000,000 – The estimated number by English clubs on transfers in 2013. Oh to be an agent…

£85,300,000 – The amount spent by Real Madrid on Gareth Bale

£18,000,000 – The amount spent by Newcastle United on Frenchmen

£12,500,000 – Everton’s net transfer spend in 2013

 

82 – Arsenal accumulated more points than anyone else over the calendar year.

0 – The number of trophies Arsenal won in the calendar year; also the number of English Premier League goalscorers for Newcastle in 2013.

165 – Lucas Leiva was injured for most of the beginning of the 2012-13 season, but in the second half, and the first half of this one, he made more tackles than anyone else in the league. The Brazilian, however, also committed more fouls than anyone else, with 75 (10 ahead of Ramires, and 11 ahead of Cheick Tiote).

10 – Number of games for which Luis Suarez was banned after a biting incident with Branislav Ivanovic, but…

29 – Premier League goals scored in 2013 by the Uruguayan – no-one scored more.

 

7 – The number of league wins achieved by Sunderland in the last 12 months.

39 – The number of times Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov was caught offside. Wow.

114 – The combined number of goals scored in all competitions by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

0 – The number of major trophies won by Ronaldo in that time.

11 – The tally for the top scorers in World Cup Qualifying, who were Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, and Belize’s Deon McCaulay.

46 – The number of goals Liverpool Ladies scored in 14 games on their way to the 2013 Super League title. Bottom side Doncaster Rovers Belles Women managed just 9.

125 – The average number of empty seats (or standing spaces) at a Borussia Dortmund home game at the 80,645 capacity Westfalenstadion.

 

Figures courtesy of premierleague.com, DailyMail.co.uk, whoscored.com, and european-football-statistics.co.uk

Does Luis Suarez Really Deserve the Player of the Year Award?

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First published on FootyMatters.com

Luis Suarez is, arguably, the form striker in the world at the moment, having carried, almost single-handedly, his Liverpool side to the top of the Premier League table with a staggering 19 goals in just 12 league appearances, despite having missed the beginning of the season with a suspension.

For many, Suarez will always be the man who abused Evra, bit, several players, or even handballed on the goal-line to deny Ghana a quarter-final place at South Africa’s World Cup. However, there is almost no-one to be found who can deny that he is a simply brilliant footballer. The real question is whether the Uruguayan’s past misdemeanours have made to be forgotten by his brilliance on the pitch.

He won’t figure in the top three when Ballon D’Or comes round on January 13th; there isn’t a lot of argument that Cristiano Ronaldo will win it. That is almost unquestionable, given his unerring and truly staggering form, both for club and country; his sensational hat-trick against Sweden will live long in the memory, particularly the moment when one of his team-mates celebrated before he had even shot when one-on-one with the keeper, so sure was he of the result.

Suarez too is a player whose goal can be celebrated before it crosses the line; his prodigious talent has now migrated into the consistent goal-scoring form which he demonstrated in the Erevidisie. His character is currently the only thing that holds him back in the public eye, but what has been cynically called a massive PR drive over the last six months has started to win over the public. Most recently, Suarez was handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Daniel Agger and Steven Gerrard. The honour of leading out Liverpool at Anfield is one conferred upon very few, and one which Brendan Rodgers would certainly not have given to his Uruguayian talisman 18,12, or even 6 months ago.

Rodgers is a true man-manager, as well as a studious tactician, and he has identified what makes Suarez tick. What exactly that is, whether it was a change of training regime or making sure he had his special Uruguayian tea, is guesswork at best, but more than ever Suarez now appears to be a team player.

It has reflected in his performances and in his work-rate especially. Even in the drubbing of Tottenham, up until the very minute he left the field Suarez was making runs in behind, asking for the ball, closing down clearances, and putting himself about. In his most recent game against Cardiff, when he scored two of the goals and assisted the other one, Gary Neville highlighted him giving Flanagan advice about when to get forward, and when to hold his run. His engagement with the other players is rare to see in one so integral to a team’s success, and speaks volumes of his respect for Rodgers and the coaching staff.

Luis Suarez will may not win any personal accolades this year, for wrong or right reasons, but if his current level of football and behaviour continues perpetually then its fair to say Suarez will have won a few friends at least.

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