Stats shows one PL boss close to Bayern, Barcelona tactics - not Mourinho

Pep Guardiola

Statistics indicate that Liverpool manager - not Arsenal, Manchester United nor Chelsea - is gaining ground on feats set by Bayern Munich.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has obviously watched Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United with interest in this season's Champions League tournament and he will have seen the Premier League representatives struggle to match the might of the European elite, particularly clubs such as Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Even Chelsea were turned over by Paris Saint Germain.

All three of those continental clubs, though, share a trait. They have multiple pass masters. There is a continual onus on the ball, the more you have it, the more you can be an influence.

When Bayern Munich brushed Hertha BSC aside by a 3-1 score, Toni Kroos completed an astonishing 143 passes of his 153 attempts. Not to be outdone in terms of passing accuracy, his team-mate Philipp Lahm connected with every single one of his 134 passes.

When Barcelona beat Almeria 4-1 last month, Xavi found a team-mate 129 times from his 134 passes.

And, when PSG slayed FC Lorient, Thiago Motta passed 125 times, 119 with accuracy, while Marco Verratti connected with 106 of his own 114 attempts.

Liverpool have not yet been beat by the continent elite - but that is, of course, because they are not competing in the Champions League.

Yet.

The Reds will be next season - that much is certain - and they may well do so as Premier League kings.

Rodgers, a canny tactician, may have seen that his rival clubs in the division cannot beat them so instead, it will be he who joins them. It will be he who grooms his own pass masters.

Out of every single footballer who played in the Premier League over the weekend, there are two Liverpool representatives in the top five for total touches on the football - Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson both occupy the top two - and it is no surprise that they also head up the total pass column, too.

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosTouchesTotal PassMins
Gerrard West Ham vs Liverpool 33 Liverpool MF 111 96 90
Henderson West Ham vs Liverpool 33 Liverpool MF 102 85 90
Theophile-Catherine Cardiff vs Crystal Palace 33 Cardiff DF 101 67 90
Arteta Everton vs Arsenal 33 Arsenal MF 99 87 90
Medel Cardiff vs Crystal Palace 33 Cardiff MF 98 88 90

Interestingly, Gerrard's 96 total pass haul is almost a club record for the season (4th highest of all Reds players) and so if Liverpool truly want to tangle equally with the best in Europe then they will need to continue to improve - much like they have through the course of their domestic campaign.

For Rodgers, this may well be a gradual process.

Here is a top ten list of player-by-match statistics indicating who Liverpool are relying on to influence their games. Unsurprisingly, Gerrard is the most frequent.

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosTouchesTotal PassMins
Gerrard Cardiff vs Liverpool 31 Liverpool MF 122 108 90
Leiva Liverpool vs Cardiff 17 Liverpool MF 110 98 90
Gerrard Newcastle vs Liverpool 08 Liverpool MF 119 97 90
Gerrard West Ham vs Liverpool 33 Liverpool MF 111 96 90
Leiva Liverpool vs Fulham 11 Liverpool MF 105 91 90
Johnson Liverpool vs Fulham 11 Liverpool DF 136 90 90
Coutinho Liverpool vs Fulham 11 Liverpool MF 105 88 90
Henderson Fulham vs Liverpool 26 Liverpool MF 98 88 90
Gerrard Liverpool vs Stoke 01 Liverpool MF 113 87 90
Sakho Liverpool vs Cardiff 17 Liverpool DF 102 87 90

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