The importance of beating the Bottom Eight

Andrew Beasley looks at how Liverpool have fared at Anfield against the lowest third of the Premier League and how it has influenced their seasons in the last 20 years. Last campaign was very poor in this respect.

Liverpool have only once previously had a clean sweep in these games, in 2009/10, so it’s unrealistic to automatically expect 100% success. This was the only season when more than two teams in the Premier League managed this feat. The bottom teams were poor in the 2009/10 campaign; Portsmouth propped up the table with nineteen points, and thirty-one points was enough to stay up.

The table suggests that it’s not unreasonable to expect seven wins from these matches and indeed Rodgers did manage that in his first two seasons. It’s interesting to see which seasons are at the top end of this table. Rafa Benítez had a reputation for being too cautious against lesser sides but his Liverpool team only failed to win a total of five of these games across his six seasons. 

The worst campaign is 2011/12 at the end of which Kenny Dalglish was sacked. Brendan Rodgers is sliding down the table, only averaging 1.75 points each game in 2014/15 well below his average of 2.38.

All teams that fail to achieve what they want for each season can say: “if only we’d won this game or that game” but what we’re looking at here aren't wins against Chelsea or Manchester City. It’s about Liverpool winning a set of games that they are expected to. Matches like these may be poor spectacles as the visitors park the bus and Liverpool huff and puff, but they can definitely be very important come the final reckoning.

Copyright - Andrew Beasley - first published at

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