Why can’t the Reds win at home?

Liverpool drew at home once again today, this time a goalless affair against Swansea. It is the fourth draw in six home matches and the third on the trot. This one was slightly different to the first three. In those first three draws we scored first before conceding a late equaliser and being unable to find an even later winner. (The two home wins followed similar patters, it’s worth noting.) This time, however, we nearly scored early before nearly conceding late and being unable to find and even later winner. Liverpool’s failure to turn pressure and chances into goals is starting to become an unwelcome staple of home matches. The Reds actually have nine points from five matches away from Anfield (plus all three League Cup wins) and ten points from six matches at home.

It’s late enough in the season now that it looks like a serious problem instead of just an early season fluke and it begs the question of why. Statistically, Liverpool play better at home than away (the Guardian have the season’s averages in several categories) but as mentioned above, we have fewer points per match at home. It’s not clear why this is, although Liverpool have clearly had a more difficult time converting opportunities into goals at home. Part of the problem has been the profligacy of Suarez and Carroll. Both are very talented, and Suarez in particular has created chances from absolutely nowhere time and time again, but both he and Carroll have conversion rates under ten per cent. This has been a feature both at and away from Anfield, but away from home Liverpool have been able to come up with late goals more often than they have at home. We did so at Arsenal, Everton and in the League Cup tie at Stoke (though we failed to do so in the league match at Stoke). By contrast, we are yet to score a late winner at home this season.

To be fair, the last two home matches have featured some spectacular saves by the visiting keepers to deny the Reds, but there have not been a shortage of outright misses either. (Of course I should point out that I’d be hard pressed to hit a ten metre wide target from ten metres out, but I am not a professional so I have an excuse.) This may, however, still be the main reason for Liverpool coming up short. The wins at home have been against Bolton Wanderers (19th) and Wolves (17th) whilst the three most recent draws were against Manchester United (2nd), Norwich City (9th), and Swansea City (10th). This would at least explain the dip in home form as a quirk of the schedule, though it’s still a problem; for the Reds to have any hope of being in Europe next year we must be able to beat mid-table sides at home. Finding a way to improve the Red’s goals to chances ratio must be Kenny’s main focus over the international break and hopefully that will cause everything else to fall into place.

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