Mignolet calls for focus...but stats suggest a case for Liverpool's defence

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has called for his defence to improve as they fight for the league title, but how many errors have they made this season?

Liverpool showed yet again at the weekend that they can outscore the opposition when necessary, but despite being on the right side of a 4-3 score-line against Swansea City, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has called on his team to improve defensively.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the Belgian stopper said, "We made it more difficult than it needed to be.

"The objective going into every game is to win and we did that.  Obviously it's easier to do that if you're not conceding goals and we know we need to be tighter and not concede so many."

That is certainly the case, but how have Liverpool's back-line fared this season in terms of errors that have lead to goals or goal-scoring opportunities for opponents?  

We have previously published analyses on the Reds' defensive performances in terms of the every-day elements of the role - interceptions, duels, tackles and the like.  But what Mignolet was calling for appeared to be an improvement in focus, so how have Brendan Rodgers' defenders been performing in that regard?

Much has been written about Kolo Toure's mistakes earlier this season, so it is no surprise to see that he leads the way in terms of errors that have lead to goals.  In contrast, while Aly Cissokho has conceded one penalty, he has not made a single error that led to either a goal or indeed a shot.

Martin Skrtel has scored two own goals in the league to date this season, has made two errors that led to shots and one that led to a goal.

And special praise goes to Jon Flanagan, who does not find himself in the table below because he has not made a single error in the league to date this campaign.

PlayerError Lead To GoalError Lead To ShotPenalty ConcededOwn GoalsAppsMins
Kolo Touré 2 1 0 1 19 1,434
Martin Skrtel 1 2 1 2 25 2,232
Daniel Agger 0 3 1 0 13 871
Aly Cissokho 0 0 1 0 13 1,027
José Enrique 0 2 0 0 8 602
Glen Johnson 0 2 0 0 18 1,531
Mamadou Sakho 0 2 0 0 12 1,029

That their opponents have scored is not in question, but the defensive four have made just three errors in the league between them, one less than Mignolet on his own.  

In contrast, Mignolet has made four errors that have led to goals - no surprise given his position in the team - and has made one error that led to a shot.  But in truth, Liverpool's defence have not made too many mistakes when it comes to conceding.  

PlayerError Lead To GoalError Lead To ShotPenalty ConcededOwn GoalsAppsMins
Simon Mignolet 4 1 0 0 27 2,430

So while Rodgers will be hoping the defensive unit becomes, well, more unified in the months and years to come, there are not many mistakes to iron out; just more time needed for Sakho to get fit and integrated, for Flanagan to grow and for the Reds' defenders to start playing like the champions they have the potential to become.

image: © banoootah_qtr

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