New research claims that Liverpool are the ‘unluckiest team’ in the Premier League, while Manchester United are the luckiest.
If you’re a fan of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and have felt that your beloved side just can’t catch a break, it turns out you might have been right all along.
A study conducted by ESPN, Intel and the University of Bath has found that Liverpool dropped 12 points in matches affected by wrongly disallowed goals or incorrect decisions on penalties and red cards last season.
If you’re a United fan, though, the study reveals quite the opposite: the Red Devils were the luckiest team last year, gaining six points through similar incorrect decisions.
The research team, collaborating with ex-Premier League referee Peter Walton, took all of the following into account:
Goals that should have been disallowed
Incorrectly disallowed goals
Incorrectly awarded penalties (that were scored)
Penalties that were not awarded but should have been
Incorrect red-card decisions
Red-card incidents that were missed
Goals scored after injury time overran
Once these decisions were taken into account, other factors like team strength, form, and home advantage were also factored in to predict an alternative outcome of the affected matches.
The study also concluded that Huddersfield would have been relegated instead of Stoke if bad refereeing decisions were taken into account.
Furthermore, Brighton would have finished a full six places higher in ninth, while Leicester would have finished five places lower in 14th.
Liverpool would have finished second and United would have been fourth – instead of the other way around.
Manchester City would still have won the League but they would have finished three points short of the 100 mark.
Assistant Professor Thomas Curran from the University of Bath said the study was “one of the most detailed pieces of research we have ever conducted”.
Walton added: “The results demonstrate the impact and importance of refereeing decisions on a game.
“With the Premier League deciding not to introduce VAR for the coming season, it is interesting to see how much luck plays a part in the way the league unfolds.”