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The animated map shows how the world was painted red from Liverpool's first season in 1892 to the most recent season that ended in 2016. A country is painted red on the world map when a player who was born in that country appeared in the Liverpool squad for the first time.

Red Shift
At the end of season 1976-77, the season when Liverpool won their first European cup, only 7 countries had been painted red: England, Scotland, Wales, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and USA.

At the end of season 2015-16, 44 countries had been painted red. This is a remarkable increase, illustrating the globalisation of LFC and football. The graph below describes that growth.


The creation of the Premier League in 1992 and the Bosman Ruling in 1995 influenced this growth. For example, Fabio Aurelio (Liverpool's first Brazilian) joined Liverpool in 2006 'on a Bosman'. The new freedom of movement of players worked both ways of course. Steve McManaman was one of the most high-profile Bosman departures when he moved from Liverpool to Real Madrid in 1999, making him the highest paid British footballer at that time.

Liverpool's 'global revolution' started slowly with 3 new countries painted red from season 1977-88 to 1987-88, taking the total number of countries to 10. These 3 countries were Egypt (Avi Cohen joined in 1979), Denmark (Jan Molby in 1984) and Jamaica (John Barnes in 1987). From 1988 to 2016 the number of countries represented in Liverpool's squads increased significantly with 34 new countries painted red.

Red All Over The Land
The graph below shows when each of the 44 countries were painted red. For example, in season 2004-05, following Rafa Benitez appointment as manager, Liverpool signed the first players from Spain and Argentina. Josemi Rey was the first of a quartet of Spaniards to arrive at Anfield in the 2004 pre-season and Mauricio Pellegrino became the first Argentine to sign for Liverpool in January 2005.
As you can see, Liverpool's search for new talent has resulted in at least one new country being painted red in most seasons since 1996.

For how many of the 44 countries can you name a Liverpool player? If you are scratching your head wondering wondering which Liverpool player resulted in Zaire being painted red in season 2015-16, the answer is Christian Benteke. Note that the map (and the graphs) shows a player's country of birth, not their chosen nationality. Christian's family emigrated from Kinshasha, Zaire (now The Democratic Republic of the Congo) to Belgium when he was a child.

Most Red Countries
Here are the top 10 countries sorted by player league appearances.

And here are the top 10 countries sorted by player league goals.

Where Next For The Red Army?
The map of the world at the end of season 2015-16 is shown below. Liverpool FC has marched out from its British and European roots, like some crazy game of Risk.
So where next for Liverpool as Klopp seeks players with the skills and desire that were once easily found in England and Scotland? Will the next big splash of red paint be applied to Asia?

The first transfer window for season 2016-17 has just closed and Liverpool has painted Estonia red for the first time, with Ragnar Klavan joining in July 2016. We will have to wait and see if Klopp decides to paint another country red in January, perhaps to buy the next Luis Suarez.


AcknowledgementsThanks to the excellent LFChistory.net for the base data.

This article was first published on The Tomkins Times on 14th September 2016.
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Every Liverpool fan knows that Liverpool Football Club has a strong connection with Scotland. Bill Shankly forged the modern Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish was probably Liverpool's greatest player. Liverpool's most successful period during the 1960s, 70s and  80s (when 13 titles were won) was shaped by Scots.

But this Scottish influence goes way back, to Liverpool's first season. Liverpool were literally made in Scotland. It is unlikely that Liverpool would have won their first league title in 1900-01 without the Scottish contingent.

The First Team of MacsIn my article about Liverpool's creation I described the situation in 1892 following an almighty bust up with Everton where John Houlding, Liverpool's founder, was left with the Anfield stadium and no team to play in it!

John McKenna travelled to Scotland to find talented players for the new Liverpool team. Heading north in search of players wasn't a radical new approach. Preston North End's 'invincibles' had won the first ever league title in 1888 with several Scots in the team.

In 1892 Scotland didn't have a professional football league but it did have many skilful footballers with limited job opportunities. And Liverpool FC had an ambitious owner who was determined to build a team that would challenge for the title. It isn't a surprise that so many Scots took up McKenna's job offer.

The graph below shows the number of Liverpool squad players, with their country of birth, from 1892 to 1907. Liverpool won their first 2 league titles during this period, with Tom Watson as manager. The coloured dots show the number of players in the squad in each season for a particular country. For example, the blue dots show the number of Scots in the squad in each season. And the blue line shows the trend in the Scottish player numbers over the seasons.


 In their first season in 1892-93 Liverpool's squad was 75% Scottish. In the away match against Blackpool, 9 of Liverpool's starting 11 were Scottish, the match was billed as 'Lancashire against Scotland'. Liverpool were known as the 'team of Macs'.



When Tom Watson was head-hunted for manager by Liverpool in 1895 he'd already won the league title with Sunderland 3 times. Watson strengthened the Liverpool team with additional young Scottish players, just as he had at Sunderland.

The Scots were in the majority in the Liverpool dressing room until around 1900. The Liverpool squad that won the first title in 1900-01 season was 50% Scottish. Alex Raisbeck (also known as 'Alexander the great') was the captain of the first two title winning teams and Liverpool's first superstar. Raisbeck - as with all great Liverpool captains - said that he enjoyed beating Everton the most.


Alex Raisbeck, Scottish defender and
Liverpool's first title winning captain

Looking back over Raisbeck's 11 years at Anfield, Victor Hall described him eloquently in the Echo:
"Who that ever saw him play can forget the unmatchable enthusiasm he displayed in the sheer love of the game. He not only put body and dash into individual games he played, but more importantly he helped to create the soul, that inward sacred fire of zeal without which no club can thrive and live… Tall, lithe, sinuous, and yet gifted with muscular and physical development beyond the ordinary… With a perfect blending of the qualities that to make a really great player!"

The Scottish ResurgencesThe graph below shows the number of Liverpool squad players over the whole of Liverpool's existence, from season 1892-93 to 2015-16.


The trend lines tell the story of the globalisation of the Liverpool squad, with the green 'Other' line - showing the trend in squad players from countries outside the UK - growing steadily starting in the 1980s and then heading off the chart.

You can also see the slow decline of the Scottish influence. However, if you look closely at the blue dots you can see two important modern(ish) Scottish resurgences, one in the 1960s and one in the 1980s. Let's take a closer look at these two resurgences.

Shankly's FoundationsThe graph below shows the Shankly years from 1959 to 1974 when the foundations of modern Liverpool were laid down. Liverpool won 3 league titles during this period.


That first Scottish resurgence peaked around 1966. Shankly's  Scottish legends included Tommy Lawrence ('the flying pig'), Ron Yeats ('the collossus') and Ian St John ('the saint').

Shankly's first season was Billy Liddell's last full season. Liddell ('King Billy') was one of the Scottish greats. It was a shame that Shankly didn't benefit from King Billy in his prime. Shankly said of Liddell,
“He had everything. He was fast, powerful, shot with either foot and his headers were like blasts from a gun. On top of all that he was as hard as granite. What a player! He was so strong – and he took a nineteen-inch collar shirt!"

The Final Scottish FlourishThe graphs below shows the Paisley, Fagan and Dalglish years from 1974 to 1991. And what years they were, with 10 league titles!


That final Scottish flourish peaked around 1986. The quality of the Scots in the Liverpool squads was very high. The Scottish legends included Kenny Dalglish, AlanHansen, Graeme Souness and Steve Nicol.

The Scottish PeaksThe graphs below show the LFC Scottish players with the highest number of league appearances and goals.

Billy Liddell has the highest number of league appearances with 492.


And King Billy is also out in front with 215 league goals, 96 in the top flight.


Here is a comparison of those 4 top Scottish goalscorers over their Liverpool career using the LFC Goal Machine.


Kenny Dalglish tops this chart, twice achieving over 20 top flight league goals. Dalglish joined Liverpool when he was 26. He'd already scored 112 league goals in 204 games for Celtic; in 2 of his 9 seasons at Celtic he scored over 20 league goals. King Kenny is still Scotland’s most capped player and joint-highest goalscorer.

Bob Paisley said of Dalglish:
"Of all the players I have played alongside, managed and coached in more than forty years at Anfield, he is the most talented… Kenny is not only the best individual I have come across, he is the best team member too."

Captain MarvelsFinally, the graph below shows the percentage of Liverpool's title winning captains by country.


Remarkably 61% (11 of 18) of Liverpool's title winning club captains were Scottish. The other 39% (7 of 18) of captains were all English. This is another clear illustration of the important part the Scots have played in Liverpool's success.
AcknowledgementsThanks to the excellent LFChistory.net for the player profiles and base data.


This article was first published on The Tomkins Times on 24th August 2016.
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I've developed a simple web app called The LFC Goal Machine that plots a player's age against the league goals that the player scored in a top level season. The app knows about every LFC player who scored a top level league goal in more than one season, from 1894-95 to 2014-15. You can use the app to compare players across different seasons and eras. Simply select one or more players and take a look at their graph. You can play with the lfcgm app at lfcgm.lfcsorted.com.

To whet your appetite I've selected some graphs from the app that I found interesting. I've been watching Liverpool since the early 1970s. The graphs show players from before my time, such as the record-breaking Gordon Hodgson who was born in South Africa in 1904. The app's data is sourced from lfchistory.net and you can find out more about the players listed at www.lfchistory.net/players.

Early Riser
Robbie Fowler is the only player in Liverpool's illustrious history to score 20 or more top level league goals when under 20 years old. In his first three seasons Robbie scored at one of the fastest ever rates, scoring 12, 25 and 28 goals.



Late Flourish
John Aldridge made his Liverpool debut at 28 and had an extraordinary late flourish, scoring more than 20 league goals in two consecutive seasons. John is one of five players who have scored 20 or more league goals when over 30. The others are Dick Forshaw, Gordon Hodgson, Jack Balmer and Ronald Orr.



Career Top Scorers
Here is the graph of Liverpool's top league scorers. The following players all scored 120 or more league goals in the top flight:  Gordon Hodgson (233 goals),  Ian Rush (229), Roger Hunt (167), Harry Chambers (135),  Robbie Fowler (128) and Steven Gerrard (120).



Elite 30
Liverpool have five elite goal scorers who have scored more than 30 goals in a league season. They are: Gordon Hodgson (36 goals, season 1930-31), Ian Rush (32, 1983-84), Sam Raybould (31, 1902-03), Roger Hunt (31, 1963-64) and Luis Suarez (31, 2013-14).



A Striking Trio
The highest scoring trio was Roger Hunt (31 goals, age 25), Ian St John (21 goals, age 25) and Alf Arrowsmith (15 goals, age 21) with a total of 67 goals in season 1963-64 when Liverpool won the league championship for the first time under Bill Shankly.


For more about this striking trio see this blog post.

A Striking Duo
There are two striking Liverpool duos who both scored 52 goals. The first partnership was Roger Hunt and Ian St John from the 1963-64 championship side described above. And the second  partnership was Luis Suarez (31 goals, age 27) and Daniel Sturridge (21 goals, age 24) from season 2013-14 when Liverpool came so close to winning the league.



Player Managers
Here is the graph of the Liverpool players who went on to manage the club: Kenny Dalglish (118 top level league goals), Graeme Souness (38), Phil Taylor (32) and Bob Paisley (10).



Top Midfielders
These seven players scored more than 15 league goals from midfield in a season:  Billy Liddell (19 goals in 1951-52 and 17 in 1949-50), John Wark (18 in 1984-85), Kenny Dalglish (18 in 1982-83), Gordon Gunson (17 in 1931-32), Steven Gerrard (16 in 2008-09), John Barnes (16 in 1991-91) and Dick Edmed (16 in 1928-29).



Top Defenders
These four players scored more than 6 league goals from defence in a season: Chris Lawler (who scored an amazing 10 goals from defence in 1969-70), Phil Neal (8 goals in 1982-83 and 7 in 1976-77), Martin Skrtel (7 in 2013-14), and John Arne Riise (7 in 2001-02).



Goals Per Game King
The six players with the best top level league goals per game (GPG) ratio over their Liverpool career* are:



Player
Career GPG

Best Season
Goals
Age
Season GPG
Gordon Hodgson
0.651

 1930-31
36
26
0.900
Fernando Torres
0.637

 2009-10
18
25
0.818
Daniel Sturridge
0.636

 2013-14
21
24
0.724
Luis Suarez
0.627

 2013-14
31
27
0.939
Jimmy Smith
0.623

 1930-31
14
28
0.667
John Aldridge
0.602

 1987-88
26
29
0.722

*Excludes current season 2015-16, so Daniel Sturridge can still topple Gordon Hodgson; includes only those players with more than 50 top level league appearances.

Unfortunately prolific goal scorers are not a guarantee of success. Of all the players listed above only John Aldridge featured in a league title winning side.

The Champions
The following players scored 37 or more goals in league championship winning teams: Ian Rush (113 goals in title winning seasons), Kenny Dalglish (78), Roger Hunt (60), David Johnson (44), Harry Chambers (41), John Toshack (39), John Barnes (37) and Kevin Keegan (37).

 These are arguably the most significant goal scorers in Liverpool's history.



Peak Performance
Gordon Hodgson appears in many of the graphs shown above, so let’s finish with his graph. Gordon has a classic distribution, showing remarkable consistency and with an extraordinary peak in his 26th year. The 36 goals he scored in 1930-31 is the highest Liverpool total in a top level league season. He also holds the record for the highest number of career top level league goals with 233 goals. He made 358 league appearances and has the highest goals per game ratio at 0.651.



Acknowledgements
Thanks to the excellent lfchistory.net (@LFChistory) for providing the raw data. And thanks to the python community for providing the data analysis and app development tools.

You can find out more about The LFC Goal Machine app and the data analysis on the lfcgm repository on github.

Finally, thanks to Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins)who first published the article here on The Tomkins Times on 2nd March 2016.

Update 29th March 2016: The lfcgm repository now includes the source code for both the original python version and the new R version. You can play with the lfcgmR app at https://terrydolan.shinyapps.io/lfcgmR.
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Liverpool Announce A Reduction In Ticket Prices


Liverpool FC today  stunned the footballing world by announcing a reduction in ticket prices starting in season 2016-17. Ian Ayre said: "Liverpool is a special club, we lead rather than follow. As Shankly said it's really all about the holy trinity of fans, manager and players. After a lengthy consultation we've reduced the average price our fans will pay as a reward for their loyalty. In many cases generations of fans have followed the reds. We want that proud tradition to continue, particularly for the local fans. Anfield already has a special, unique atmosphere that lifts the team. In Jurgen Klopp we have one of the best managers in the world. We plan to build a team, inspired by the Anfield crowd, that will win trophies ".



The details of the reductions have been published on the lfc.com website. Overall the average ticket price for non-corporate fans has reduced by 10%. The corporate ticket prices have seen a hefty increase to offset this, particularly for the luxury boxes in the new stand. Liverpool's promise to not increase the ticket price the non-corporate fan pays for at least 3 years is bold. Ayre said "we only want those who can afford it to pay more. The new corporate facilities will be second to none". Liverpool also announced a much improved match day experience, with quality food and drink.

Liverpool are now expected to market their Holy Trinity brand extension more aggressively. Liverpool are rumoured to have applied for a trademark on Holy Trinity, though this is expected to be challenged by the Vatican. A spokesman for Deloitte's Football Unit said: "This is a clever move by Liverpool. They've recognised the brand value of marketing the unique bond between fans, manager and team. With the new TV revenues the proportion of income from the normal fan's ticket expenditure is relatively small. I expect Liverpool to increase its overall income as a result of this strategy, particularly from the corporate fan and increased match day sales. Not to mention the galvanising affect this can have on the team. There is also pressure on the top four clubs [by revenue] in England to follow suit."

The Man United press office issued a statement: "We see Liverpool's move as a cynical exploitation of their fan base. Only some tickets have reduced in price. Many Liverpool customers will pay much more for their ticket and match day experience." After a twitter-storm, the official Man United supporters club have already started to put pressure on their club to follow Liverpool's lead. The Man United press office added: "The ticket prices for our customers are always under review."

Jurgen Klopp said "I've always believed the fans are the heart beat of a football club". Ayre said that Klopp's next press conference will have 10 minutes set aside for questions about tickets.

Reporter: Clark Kent, Daily Kloppo
7th February 2016

STOP PRESS
This article was originally published by @lfcsorted on twitter on 7th February 2016, a day after the 77th minute walk out at Anfield  and three days before FSG announced a rethink on ticket prices. In an open letter to fans FSG  apologised for 'distress caused' and announce two year general ticket revenue freeze.



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Earlier this evening Liverpool Football Club announced that Brendan Rodgers has had his contract terminated. The full announcement is here.
"At a football club, there's a holy trinity - the players, the manager and the supporters." Bill Shankly
I've been watching Liverpool since the early 70s. I stood on the Kop and watched the end of the Shankly era and the beginning of the Paisley era. I watched the best team in the world defeat all before them. This was the time when, to paraphrase Shankly, the bond between fan, team and manager was strongest. I grew up giving the manager my full support and I was richly rewarded. Support for the Liverpool manager is in my DNA. At least it was until Roy Hodgson. I was uneasy with that appointment and I was carrying a metaphorical pitch-fork by the end. I'm saddened that Brendan Rodgers has been sacked. He is a talented coach who gave his all to the cause.

Let me put my cards on the table. Kenny Dalglish is my hero. And I still love Rafa who was working with both hands tied behind his back in his last season, dealing first hand with the Epic Swindle. Of course I would have given Dalglish more time as manager. Sacking Kenny would have been like cutting off my own arm. The Liverpool manager's job is arguably the most difficult in the football world and comes with a serious health warning. The manager must face many challenges: the hopes and expectations of the fans who have seen the best team in the world; the long shadow of the great managers and teams; and all this with finances that predict a 5th place finish.

Rodgers also faced the shadow of his own great team from 2013-2014 that so nearly ended the long wait. The Liverpool manager's job is a draining experience. There comes a point when enough is enough, when the manager and fans need to move on. I'd argued that he deserved at least 10 games. But I accept that the time may now be right for Rodgers to leave, with the ghost of last season's implosion refusing to go away. As Rodgers stated after the Everton game, the post-Suarez 'rebuild' was still in progress. The rebuild was stuttering forwards, with Rodgers once again seeking the magic formula that would transform his team. In truth the appetite for another Rodgers-led rebuild was diminishing, particularly when there were strong managerial candidates waiting in the wings.

In 2013-2014 Brendan Rodgers came very close to realising every fans dream of winning the league title. It was a fantastic season, characterised by exciting attacking football. To put this in context, see my article From Rafa to Rodgers, written a few days after the Stoke debacle. I've also summarised below the key premier league stats for Rodgers, Dalglish, Hodgson and Benitez.

Thanks Brendan, you can be proud that in season 2013-14 you made the people happy.


LFC Manager Stats: June 2004 to October 2015

Manager: Brendan Rodgers
From: 01 Jun 2012, To: 04 Oct 2015

Prepared by @lfcsorted
Season

Win

Draw

Loss
Total
Games

Win%

Draw%

Loss%
Total
Points
Points
 Per Game
2012-2013
16
13
9
38
42.1
34.2
23.7
61
1.6
2013-2014
26
6
6
38
68.4
15.8
15.8
84
2.2
2014-2015
18
8
12
38
47.4
21.1
31.6
62
1.6
2015-2016
3
3
2
8
37.5
37.5
25
12
1.5
Total
63
30
29
122
51.6
24.6
23.8
219
1.8

Manager: Kenny Dalglish (2ndTerm)
From: 08 Jan 2011, To: 16 May 2012

Prepared by @lfcsorted
Season

Win

Draw

Loss
Total
Games

Win%

Draw%

Loss%
Total
Points
Points
 Per Game
2010-2011
10
3
5
18
55.6
16.7
27.8
33
1.8
2011-2012
14
10
14
38
36.8
26.3
36.8
52
1.4
Total
24
13
19
56
42.9
23.2
33.9
85
1.5

Manager: Roy Hodgson
From: 01 Jul 2010, To: 08 Jan 2011

Prepared by @lfcsorted
Season

Win

Draw

Loss
Total
Games

Win%

Draw%

Loss%
Total
Points
Points
 Per Game
2010-2011
7
4
9
20
35
20
45
25
1.2
Total
7
4
9
20
35
20
45
25
1.2

Manager: Rafael Benitez
From: 16 Jun 2004, To: 03 Jun 2010

Prepared by @lfcsorted
Season

Win

Draw

Loss
Total
Games

Win%

Draw%

Loss%
Total
Points
Points
 Per Game
2004-2005
17
7
14
38
44.7
18.4
36.8
58
1.5
2005-2006
25
7
6
38
65.8
18.4
15.8
82
2.2
2006-2007
20
8
10
38
52.6
21.1
26.3
68
1.8
2007-2008
21
13
4
38
55.3
34.2
10.5
76
2
2008-2009
25
11
2
38
65.8
28.9
5.3
86
2.3
2009-2010
18
9
11
38
47.4
23.7
28.9
63
1.7
Total
126
55
47
228
55.3
24.1
20.6
433
1.9

Summary Chart






















Acknowledgements
Thanks to lfchistory.net for providing the raw data. And thanks to the python community for providing the data analysis tools.                             

This article was also published here on lfchistory.net on 13th October 2015.                      
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