What happened to Liverpool’s Naby Keita?

Naby Keita. Just a few years ago, his name evoked fervent exaltation in some sectors of the soccer analytics community – he was the young midfielder who could do it all, with apparently unlimited talents both attacking and defending. Now, he can’t get a game for Liverpool. What happened? To answer this question, I think it’s important to understand where Keita started. Following an impressive maiden season in Europe at Istres, he began 2014-15 playing a combination of defensive midfield and central midfield at Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. Even as a defensive midfielder, he pushed the ball…
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What does Manchester City’s win over Liverpool mean for the title race?

It was the biggest match of the season so far, at least at the top of the table: Liverpool, leading the Premier League by seven points, traveled to second-place Manchester City in hopes of ending the title race early. At least, that was the narrative coming from the media. Manchester City were narrowly victorious, but does this mean the title race is back on? Before the match, the bookies gave Liverpool roughly a 60-65% chance of winning the league, with Manchester City at about 30-35% and Tottenham around 5%. It’s worth pausing for a moment to consider what that meant….
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A tribute to Sigi Schmid

Last week the soccer world lost Sigi Schmid, the German-American coach who did so much to enhance Major League Soccer and the sport in general across the United States. I’m not a great historian, so I won’t dwell on Schmid’s less measurable contributions. I want to pay tribute to his acumen in ways I can quantify. Readers of this blog will already be familiar with the NYA method for rating coaching skill, i.e. whether a coach can make the whole of his squad perform better than the sum of its parts. By this metric, the quality of coaching in MLS…
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