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Carling Cup Final: Liverpool v Cardiff Preview

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The Carling Cup Final takes place this Sunday between Liverpool and Cardiff City.  The following analysis compares the two goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Pepe Reina and looks at the potential impact of Craig Bellamy, Peter Whittingham and Steven Gerrard.

CARLING CUP FINAL: CARDIFF CITY V LIVERPOOL

HEATON AND REINA – PENALTY KINGS

Player

Pepe Reina Tom Heaton

Team

Liverpool Cardiff City

Appearances

6 6

Goals Conceded

5

5

Clean Sheets 2 3

% of clean sheets

33%

50%

Total shots 16 21

Saves made

11

16

Saves per game

1.8

2.7

Saves to Shots ratio

69%

76%

According to Castrol EDGE Performance data, Tom Heaton has outperformed his opposite number Pepe Reina in this year’s Carling Cup. Although both goalkeepers have conceded five goals in six appearances, Heaton has a superior shot-to-save ratio of 76% compared with Reina’s 69%, having saved 16 efforts versus Reina’s 11. Heaton has also kept three clean sheets to Reina’s two.

If this encounter were to go to penalties the outcome would most probably be determined by talented spot kick stoppers Reina and Heaton.

Heaton was the hero as Cardiff overcame Crystal Palace in a penalty shootout in the semi-finals, saving two of the four penalties he faced

Heaton in the League Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out v Crystal Palace

Opponents Penalty taker

Shot

Outcome

Crystal Palace

Jermaine Easter

Low Right

Attempt Saved

Crystal Palace

Sean Scannell

Low Centre

Attempt Saved

Crystal Palace

Mile Jedinak

Low Left

Goal

Crystal Palace

Jonathan Parr

Close Left

Miss

Heaton has kept three clean sheets on his way to the final and will hope to add another as the Welsh side attempt to end their ‘Wembley curse’.

Liverpool’s Pepe Reina prides himself on being a renowned penalty stopper and has proven this over the years with Liverpool. He has excelled in penalty shoot outs, winning Liverpool the FA Cup in 2006 and also qualifying them for a Champions League final in the same fashion, overcoming Chelsea in a shootout at Anfield in 2007.

Pepe Reina in penalty shootouts for Liverpool

Opponents Penalty taker

Shot

Outcome
West Ham United Bobby Zamora

Low Left

Attempt Saved
West Ham United Teddy Sheringham

Low Right

Goal
West Ham United Paul Konchesky

Low Centre

Attempt Saved
West Ham United Anton Ferdinand

Low Left

Attempt Saved
Chelsea Arjen Robben

Low Right

Attempt Saved
Chelsea Frank Lampard

High Centre

Goal
Chelsea Geremi

Low Left

Attempt Saved

BELLAMY AND WHITTINGHAM SCORERS AND CREATORS

Castrol EDGE performance analysis shows that Craig Bellamy has been more clinical in front of goal than Luis Suárez this season in the Premier League, he converted 26% of his shots, compared to just 8% for his Uruguayan team mate.

Liverpool forwards in the Premier League 2011/12

Player Suárez, Luis Bellamy, Craig Carroll, Andy
Minutes Played 1579 834 1345
Goals 6 6 3
Mins/Goal 263 139 448
Shooting Accuracy % 41.67 60.87 39.13
Shot Conversion Rate % 8.33 26.09 6.52
Assists 1 2 1
Chances Created (inc. assists) 37 28 22
Mins per Chance Created 43 30 61

Whittingham has undeniably been one of Cardiff’s key players in the Championship this season, leading their promotion charge with nine goals and 10 assists, a higher goal involvement than any other Championship midfielder according to Castrol EDGE performance analysis.

Most prolific midfielders – Championship 2011/12

Midfielders Goals Assists Total
Whittingham, Peter 9 10 19
Do Prado, Guilherme 10 7 17
Burke, Chris 7 9 16
Koren, Robert 9 4 13
Boyd, George 5 7 12

GERRARD: LIVERPOOL’S LUCKY CHARM

Steven Gerrard has won four out of the five domestic cup finals he has played in for Liverpool, scoring three goals in the process. The Liverpool captain has won two FA Cups and two League Cups and will undoubtedly want to add to his impressive record.

Steven Gerrard’s five appearances in League Cup and FA Cup finals

Domestic cup

Opponent

Result

Goals

FA Cup (2001)

Arsenal

2-1

-

League Cup (2001)

Birmingham

1-1(5-4 on pens)

-

League Cup (2003)

Manchester United

2-0

1

League Cup (2005)

Chelsea

2-3 (a.e.t).

-

FA Cup (2006)

West Ham

3-3 (3-1 on pens)

2

Gerrard has also played in two Champions League finals, scoring in 2005 when Liverpool beat Milan on penalties (3-3; 3-2 on pens), and appearing in the 2007 defeat to the same team (2-1). The midfielder also scored in the UEFA Cup final victory over Alaves (5-4 aet) meaning that Liverpool have won every major final that Gerrard has scored in.

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