As well as being three of the most successful football clubs in English football history, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have something far more niche in common in 2023/24. None of these illustrious sides has yet converted an Opta-defined high turnover into a goal.

Per the data provider’s definition, this situation relates to starting an open play sequence no more than 40 meters from goal. The turnover aspect, therefore, relates to the opposing side losing possession in a dangerous area.

The thoughts of Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino on their respective team’s profligacy on this front remain unknown. However, it’s safe to assume Jürgen Klopp won’t be happy that his troops have yet to exploit his favorite playmaker, the counter-press, this term.

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Of course, goals are merely the final, albeit most important part, of the whole process. To score in such a situation there needs to be a shot, and before that possession needs to be won high up the pitch.

On this front, Liverpool has been easing off in recent years (though the figures for 2023/24 remain asterisked by a quartet of red cards). In 2021/22, the Reds averaged 11.7 high turnovers per match, with 1.9 shots generated as a result. Those figures fell to 9.7 and 1.4 respectively last season and currently stand at 9.0 and 1.1 this term.

Considering the multitude of dismissals and the fact the midfield has been built from scratch, the Liverpool players deserve credit for the numbers not falling away more than they have. The data should improve, but if Klopp’s men need a target, then they have players at United and Chelsea whom they can aim to emulate.

Football visualization account @ftblnl shared an image earlier this week that highlighted that "Bruno Fernandes and Connor Gallagher have forced the most High Turnovers in the Premier League this season", with 21 and 20 respectively. It’s important to note that the definition here relates to tackles won, ball recoveries and interceptions in the attacking third, so isn’t identical to the one Opta uses for its identically named metric. It does give an opportunity to look at who has been delivering most for Liverpool in this way though.

Perhaps it’s Harvey Elliott or Ryan Gravenberch, who (per Fotmob) have respectively averaged 2.8 and 2.1 possession regains in the final third per 90 minutes this season? Their relative lack of game time means they haven’t recorded that many in total, unfortunately, though as Liverpool’s top pro-rata player for this metric last season too, Elliott clearly has a knack for attacking third recoveries.

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

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A glance at FBRef, meanwhile, reveals that Mohamed Salah (with six), Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Díaz (both five) have been the Reds’ top men for tackles in the final third. However, as these are attempts rather than wins, we can’t be certain that this trio has forced the most high turnovers in 2023/24 either.

Fortunately for us, @ftblnl revealed that it is Alexis Mac Allister who tops the chart for Liverpool with 13 high turnovers, roughly two-thirds as many as Fernandes or Gallagher. The Argentine has made nine recoveries (the most of any Red), three interceptions, and a successful tackle in the final third this season. Although not directly leading to a goal, the latter prevented Brighton from escaping their half and ultimately resulted in Liverpool winning a penalty at the Amex, while Mac Allister regains led to shots in that game as well as against Bournemouth and Everton.

And lest we forget, the World Cup winner has been this effective at regaining possession in the final third despite playing in a somewhat unfamiliar position at the base of the Liverpool midfield. Imagine what Mac Allister might be capable of when deployed in one of the advanced central roles. Chances are he’d catch up with Fernandes and reinvigorate Klopp’s playmaker of choice while he was at it.