Liverpool ended the season with heartache following their Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid and the statistics show their goal scoring struggles in Paris are nothing new.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had 24 shots to Real’s four on Saturday night at the Stade de France, but could not find the back of the net. Thibaut Courtois was in inspired form in the Real goal, not conceding despite seeing nine shots fired in on target.
The Belgian keeper made an amazing save from Sadio Mane’s low shot in the first half before producing a string of others to keep out Mohamed Salah in the second half as Liverpool ramped up the pressure. His efforts ensured Vinicius Jr’s tap-in from Fede Valverde’s low cross was enough to win it 1-0 for Real.
Liverpool’s failure to score appeared to be a case of bad luck and a goalkeeper in brilliant form, but a look over their efforts in their three major finals this season suggests that is perhaps not the case. Despite winning both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, Klopp’s side did not manage to score a single goal in five-and-a-half hours of football in major finals this season.
Both Wembley wins came via penalty shoot-outs over Chelsea following 0-0 draws and the raw data from Opta lays bare their wastefulness in front of goal. Over the 330 minutes of normal time action in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League finals, Liverpool attempted 61 shots, had 17 efforts on target which have accumulated 5.7 expected goals. And yet they have still not managed to score.
That is particularly surprising given the team’s free-scoring nature across the rest of the season. Liverpool scored 94 goals in 38 Premier League matches and 17 in their six Champions League group stage games.
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“It was the two decisions against us were the smallest margins possible,” Klopp told BT Sport. “We played a good game, not a perfect game. I don’t think a perfect game is possible against an opponent set up with a deep formation.
“We had a lot of shots but not the clearest. Courtois made two top saves. We conceded a goal from a throw-in. Valverde wanted to shoot, Vinicius was there and that’s it.
“The boys tried everything, especially at 1-0 down then we played like we wanted to play before. We had our midfielders too deep. It’s a threat they are with counter attacks. We wanted to be more brave in the second half. That’s what we said at half-time. We played around them. We should have played more in the formation than around them.”