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16th Jan 2017

Jürgen Klopp might want a look at the Premier League’s latest ‘long ball’ statistics

It seems Liverpool are more of a 'long ball' side after all


Manchester United’s late equaliser against Liverpool left a sour taste in the mouth of Jürgen Klopp, with two more dropped points putting another dent in his side’s title aspirations.

The nature of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal, which came seconds after substitute Marouane Fellaini had hit Liverpool’s post with a header, appeared to particularly frustrate Klopp. United had adopted a more direct approach in the final minutes after sending on the Belgian, with the German conceding that this ‘long ball’ approach had been difficult to deal with.

Much was made of Klopp’s post-match comments, with some United fans claiming Klopp was simply bitter that his side had not managed to hold on to their lead.

While some recalled a time in the not-so-distant past when Klopp had deployed defender Steven Caulker in an attacking role, others pointed to the current Premier League statistics.

According to the official website of the English top flight, Liverpool have played 1,417 long balls this season, 71 more than United’s total of 1,346. Liverpool are ranked 12th in the long ball table, with United five places behind in 17th.

But just before anyone gets too carried away with this, it’s worth noting that Liverpool supporters have responded by pointing towards the overall passing statistics of the two sides. While they might have attempted more long passes than United, they’ve also attempted more passes altogether, meaning their old rivals from down the East Lancs might well have made a higher percentage of long balls after all.