There's been some talk lately of shifting goal differentials, of form tables and points away from home and all the rest. Of the way Dalglish has radically altered Liverpool's performances this season and prospects for the next. So, at the risk of being accused of being too backwards looking, these are the numbers that tell the story of Liverpool's season, and of the two halves to Liverpool's season. So far, at least.
Liverpool's manager for the first half of the season was in charge of the club for 20 league games. Ten were at home, ten on the road. Overall, he managed the 12th best record in the league during his time with Liverpool. More specifically, he managed...
7 wins, 4 draws, and 9 losses.
The team recorded 6 clean sheets. They scored 24 goals and conceded 27 for a goal differential of -3.
They earned 1.25 points per game. Manchester United averaged 2.20, City 1.91, Arsenal 1.90, and Tottenham 1.71 over the same period.
However, at home he managed the third best overall form...
6 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses.
The team recorded 4 clean sheets. They scored 17 goals and conceded 8 for a goal differential of +9.
They earned 2.00 points per game.
While away from home was a very different matter...
1 win, 2 draws, and 7 losses.
The team recorded 2 clean sheets. They scored 7 goals and conceded 19 for a goal differential of -12.
They earned 0.50 points per game.
Dalglish, on the other hand, has only managed the club for 15 league games since his return, although in spite of this he has overseen the acquisition of 30 points compared to Hodgson's 25 that were earned in five more games. Liverpool has also scored six more goals, conceded 15 fewer, recorded more clean sheets, and overall has managed the second best form in the league under their new old manager...
9 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses.
The team recorded 8 clean sheets. They scored 30 goals and conceded 12 for a goal differential of +18.
They earned 2.00 points per game. Over the same stretch, Chelsea hummed along at 2.50 while United and Arsenal trailed with 1.93 each.
Liverpool have still performed better at home under Dalglish, even if some teams performing much better at home than on the road mean Liverpool's home form is only fifth despite their high overall standing...
6 wins, 2 draws, and 0 losses.
The team recorded 5 clean sheets. They scored 20 goals and conceded 4 for a goal differential of +16.
They earned 2.50 points per game.
On the road, then, they haven't performed quite as well, but they've still improved greatly since Hodgson left--and in a League where most of the teams are performing far worse on the road than at home, Liverpool's third best overall form away from Anfield serves to move them up the form table overall...
3 wins, 1 draws, and 3 losses.
The team recorded 3 clean sheets. They scored 10 goals and conceded 8 for a goal differential of +2.
They earned 1.43 points per game.
Extended over an entire season, Roy Hodgson's record equates to 13 wins, 8 draws, and 17 losses, with 47 points and 46 goals scored while letting in 51.
For Dalglish, his record equates to 23 wins alongside a rounding unfriendly 7 and a half of both draws and losses. His 2.00 points per game does rather easily turn into 76 points over an entire 38 game schedule, oddly enough while recording 76 goals and conceding 30 for a goal differential of +46.
Transposed to last year's 2009-10 season, the extrapolated results would see Hodgson finish tied for eleventh while Dalglish would finish third.
In Liverpool's nearly there 2008-09 season, Hodgson's record equates to eleventh and Dalglish's fourth.
In 2007-08 it is the same. In the year before, Dalglish would be a spot higher and Hodgson a spot lower.
In 1995-96, when the Premier League first moved to 20 teams, Dalglish would have again finished in third and Hodgson twelfth.
So what does that all mean? Certainly there's something to be said for being able to perform fairly consistently both at home and on the road, though that seems fairly self-evident before you even start to look at the numbers. What those numbers do make clear is that Dalglish's overall form roughly matches Roy Hodgson's home form.
Perhaps it suggests that Roy Hodgson has a definite level that his methods are suited for, as can be seen in the uptick at West Brom since his arrival there. Or perhaps it is that despite the weakened squad many of the clueless talking heads pointed to as an excuse for Hodgson's poor early returns, Dalglish has the club punching at about the same level it usually has in recent years--on top-four form, but not quite at a level that would normally result in challenging for the title.
It does seem to suggest, too, that while Dalglish has the club clicking at what would be a title challenging pace this season, whichever side does come away with it in the end will be the weakest champion in a long time. Which probably suggests that it will take better form than even what the club has seen since January--not to mention a handful of quality signings--if Liverpool is to challenge for next year's title.
And it probably says a whole bunch of other things, too, but quite what those things are I'll leave up to the reader to decide for themselves.