It’s January 15, 2020. The football team at Liverpool has now scored at least seven fewer goals this season than any other Premier League team. In the Premier League this season, the Reds sustained 55 goals, 10 less than the second-best Chelsea on 65, led by Manchester City with 70. This record appears to have as a source the ability of the team to monitor the pitch through data.
Tim Waskett, astrophysicist, and Will Spearman, a philosophy Ph.D. holder, are part of the data science team. They explain that they integrate unique event data (all types of data generated during a match) with player tracking data (a player’s position on the field as well as personal measures such as heart rate, kilometers walked and run throughout the game,..). Combining this player tracking data with the event data allows Liverpool to understand how each movement and activity on the pitch impacts the probability of scoring a goal. Waskett backs this up by saying “[b]y converting everything into a goal probability, this value, 1.3 %, is the probability that a goal will be scored in the next 15 seconds .”
Such knowledge is complex. However, the findings can provide Liverpool with insights that may give an advantage over unaware competitors. It’s up to Liverpool’s boss to interpret the data and apply it to his team.
On the offensive line, despite playing on opposite flanks, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson excel at passing the ball between them.
The sheer volume of diagonal passes that Trent made across the field throughout the game suggests his acts were intentionally directed. This implies that the data that has been collected is being used by the Liverpool manager to adapt strategies.
No one knows how much the Reds have actually discovered behind closed doors.
Since the team is world champion and has lost only one Premier League match since May 2018, it seems plausible that data science is bringing advantages into their pitch results.
The point to retain from this article is not about how many goals Liverpool scored. Is how many goals were influenced by their data analysis as well as how many goals they have avoided suffering throughout the season.
As we can see, data is everywhere. If used wisely, data can improve any business, even those businesses that we disregard being a business, such as a football club.
There is clear evidence throughout several industries that data combined with strategy provides better results than if data is disregarded. Any business has different data points, but they all merge to create a clear picture of the situation, showing clear gaps in ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’.
If we look at retail, data can be used to create buyer personas both in-store and online, combining both to achieve the highest fidelity. It could also be used to combine social-political event data with sales, or with specific item sales. The combinations are infinite. This can help your business prepare ahead of time, the same way American energy companies know that during the Super Bowl interval there is a spike for energy requirements, as most viewers will turn on the microwave or kettle (or many other items to keep themselves busy and ready for the next half).
If we apply the same formula to your business, what do you think would be the outcome?
AQ focuses on searching for these data gaps among your stores and staff, bringing these into the light and helping you to act on them.
Interested in what data could do for your business? Get in Touch and let’s find out together.