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Incredible stats show why Konate was Man of the Match for Liverpool – 19 duels won!


A dogged Liverpool win over Sheffield United took them four points clear of Man City, and the stats revealed why Ibrahima Konate could be considered man of the match.

Dominik Szoboszlai‘s added-time goal ended up being a tension reliever for the travelling supporters, who had watched Liverpool largely dominate, only to come under pressure in the closing stages.

Having 76 percent of the possession away from home tells the story of how Liverpool, clad in their purple kit, controlled the match.

There was always a slight feeling of nervousness, though, with just a one-goal advantage.

FotMob’s momentum graphic shows how little Sheffield United offered until the closing minutes of the match.

In fact, the hosts’ only shot on target all game came from James McAtee in the 12th minute, which forced Caoimhin Kelleher to stay on his feet and save one-on-one.


Defending on the front foot

One statistic in particular stood out on the night and it came thanks to Ibrahima Konate‘s aggressiveness on the pitch.

The Liverpool defender won 19 duels, according to FotMob. That’s an outstanding amount, with the previous highest this season being Virgil van Dijk‘s 14 against West Ham.

For some context, the Frenchman has won on average 7.64 duels won per game this season. The 19 duels even accounts for 39 percent of all his duels won this season (49).

Of those duels, 14 were in the air which he won all of. That’s some going.

What do these statistics actually mean on the pitch? Well, it shows how the two centre-back roles differ.

Konate plays much more on the front foot then Van Dijk, with the Dutchman usually taking a role closer to a sweeper at the back.

WhoScored.com’s heatmap from the game backs this up, with Konate spending more time in the opponent’s half than Van Dijk.

Konate also played more passes into the final third than anyone against Sheffield United (18), one more than Trent Alexander-Arnold.


Set pieces “a massive help”

Despite having 15 shots and dominating the ball, Liverpool weren’t at their most fluid on Wednesday night. FotMob tell us they had just four ‘big chances’ and the Reds’ xG was 1.69 to Sheffield United‘s 0.99.

This meant Klopp’s team relied on set pieces, mostly corners, to win the match. With seven ‘big chances’ created in total between the teams, the game was won in moments.

The manager said: “We defended their set pieces really really good and that’s the most important thing then, and then you have to go for the moments.

“Games are decided in moments. You don’t need 80 percent possession to win a football game, 10 percent is enough sometimes.”

The free-flowing football we have become used to wasn’t there, evidenced in part by Alexis Mac Allister‘s lack of involvement. He had 23 touches in almost an hour, compared to 51 against Fulham.

Liverpool won more corners at Bramall Lane (12) than in any other game this season, except against Everton when they also had 12.

Van Dijk stepped up for Liverpool and swept home a lovely volley to open the scoring, and could have scored directly from another corner soon after.

It was a real show of leadership from the captain whose goal was surprisingly his first of the season.

The Dutchman was fantastic in defence too and, with Arsenal, Liverpool now have the joint best defensive record in the Premier League this season.

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