Why Liverpool in 2016-17 are better than 2013-14, plus Mourinho worse than Guidolin?

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Why Liverpool in 2016-17 are better than 2013-14, plus Mourinho worse than Guidolin?

Why Liverpool can surpass the class of 2013-14, how Harry Kane revels in local derbies and why Jose Mourinho is keeping Francesco Guidolin and Quique Sanchez Flores company.

Liverpool regain licence to thrill

After his team’s 6-1 thrashing of Watford, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played down the parallels with the buccaneering side of 2013-14 that could not quite reel in the Premier League title despite a glut of goals.

“This is not the team of two years ago,” he said. “This is a new group.”

But there is more than a hint of the attacking of the class of 2014 in Liverpool’s current form.

The win over Watford was the fifth time this season that they have scored four or more goals in a Premier League game.

The 2013-14 side, powered by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, managed the feat in 11 games across the whole season.

That figure is a record that they share with the Manchester City side that beat them to the title that year.

If they continue at their present rate, Klopp’s side will score four goals in 17 Premier League games this season.

But while they are similarly free-scoring, the current Liverpool side share the goals around far more.

After 11 league games of 2013-14 five players had scored for Liverpool – Sturridge, Suarez, Victor Moses, Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel.

With Georginio Wijnaldum adding his name to the scoresheet against the Hornets, Liverpool have 10 Premier League scorers already this season. And Sturridge is not yet one of them.

Just to round off an impressive set of stats for the Reds, they had 17 shots on target at Anfield on Sunday.

That is the most that Opta has seen in the Premier League since they started collecting data in the 2003-04.

Kane makes capital gains

“He’s one of our own,” chant Tottenham fans about striker Harry Kane.

And the 23-year-old, who was born just five miles from White Hart Lane, always seems to have a little extra motivation when he is facing Spurs’ local rivals.

He scored his team’s goal in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Sunday. He also found the net in the teams’ league meetings in the 2015-16 season and got both goals in Spurs’ 2-1 win over the Gunners in February 2015.

Only Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has a better goal return from Premier League matches involving two London teams.

OK Jose?

After only one goal and two points in his previous four Premier League games, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho eased some of the pressure with a 3-1 win over Swansea.

But the Portuguese three-time Premier League winner has enjoyed a miserable couple of years in England’s top flight by his own high standards.

Actually, by most standards.

Between being appointed Chelsea manager in June 2004 and the end of his 2014-15 title-winning season with the Blues, Mourinho averaged 2.29 points per game in the Premier League.

But since then he has been sacked for a second time at Chelsea, endured a mediocre start to life at Old Trafford and collected only 1.15 points per game.

None of the four managers above Mourinho in the list is still in his role, with Allardyce leaving Sunderland for the England job in July and the other three having been sacked.

Meanwhile, over the same time frame, his better-known rivals have been making hay…

Tight at the top

A new week, a new Premier League leader.

Liverpool’s walloping of Watford took them to the top on Sunday, but they have plenty of close company.

The leading four teams are separated by just two points – the lowest spread at this time of the season since 1996 when two points separated the top four on Monday, 28 October.

But the champions that season did not come from that leading pack.

Arsenal finished third, Newcastle second, Liverpool fourth and Wimbledon all the way down in eighth.

You know what’s coming don’t you?

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side – five points off the pace after 11 games – put in their customary post-Christmas kick to finish seven points clear of the rest in May.

Hope perhaps for Tottenham, who are also five points behind the early pacesetters.

In fact, based on United’s winning margin in May 1997, Southampton, West Brom and Stoke could all still be in the mix.

“I thought that was only me who had scored 25,000!”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first goal in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Swansea was the 25,000th in Premier League history.

He greeted the statistic with characteristic modesty when he was informed.

“I thought that was only me who had scored 25,000!”

Previous landmark goals have been claimed by some famous, and not-so-famous names.

Sheffield United striker Brian Deane scored the first in the rebranded top flight as the Blades beat United 2-1 on the opening day of the 1992-93 season.

Eric Cantona scored the 100th later that month playing for Leeds against Tottenham.

Big names such as Alan Shearer (4,000th for Blackburn against West Ham in December 1995), Dennis Bergkamp (7,000th for Arsenal against Aston Villa in December 1998) and Les Ferdinand (10,000th for Tottenham against Fulham in December 2001) later added their names to the honour role.

Meanwhile, Fulham defender Moritz Volz, who scored the Premier League’s 15,000th goal, and Aston Villa striker Libor Kozak, who netted its 22,000th, also have an obscure spot in history.