How much do passing and possession statistics matter? Stoke City could argue not at all, when you consider their last two results.
The team who top the statistics in the Premier League in the possession stakes is Brendan Rodgers' former club, Swansea City. Who were beaten easily by Stoke 2-0 a little over a week ago.
After Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United, Liverpool sit in fifth in this particular table.
Stoke have matched up with four of these top five already this season, United the exception, and have only lost once, to Chelsea.
Liverpool have recorded 58.5 per cent of possession in their opening seven matches (Swansea top on 59.3 per cent), while Stoke are bottom of the rankings in 20th having the ball just 37.4 per cent of the time.
Another comparison is the pass completion statistics- Liverpool, again fifth, with 86.1 per cent of their passes successful, 3,289 in total.
Stoke again in 20th, are bottom with 67.4 per cent successful, and a meagre 1,324 accurate passes in seven games.
So Liverpool have completed two-and-a-half times as many passes as Stoke this season. But where has it got them?
Stoke lie in 12th in the table with eight points, and Liverpool in 14th with six points.
They say what matters is what you do with the ball, and when the two sides met up at the weekend, Liverpool completed 81 per cent of their passes, compared to Stoke's 65 per cent.
Liverpool also had 18 shots compared to Stoke's six, but the statistic which matters was that the game ended goalless, 0-0.
So this shows that while Liverpool certainly do outclass Stoke in passing the football, and so do Swansea for that matter, the Reds remain less efficient than the Potters, who lie level on points with Michael Laudrup's side.
So while it is great Brendan Rodgers is implementing a passing style which pleases the purists, he will know himself that if the club are not above Stoke in the Premier League table in May, questions will be asked.
They must learn to be as efficient as Tony Pulis' side in their shots conversion.
Liverpool have had the fourth highest shots per game in the Premier League; 17.6 per game on average, 123 in total, while Stoke are 18th in this table, with 10.1 shots per game, 71 in all.
Perhaps what Liverpool really need is a sharpshooter like Peter Crouch...?
Can Liverpool learn some efficiency from Stoke?
image: © jbj