FAIR PLAY

Liverpool are Europe's cleanest club; Real Madrid 169th

The football study group CIES has been assessing clubs around the continent and how many fouls they have committed, with The Reds coming out best.

Jürgen Klopp, durante el calentamiento de la plantilla del Liverpool.
Phil Noble Reuters

The International Football Observatory (CIES) has published a study based around the fouls that have been committed by clubs. It not only indicates the average number of fouls committed per game, but also calculates the percentage of fouls of each team in respect of each league's average. In total, 35 European leagues have been assessed, which equates to around 700 teams.

Liverpool fair, not foul

In terms of the world rankings, the club that currently holds the titles of European and World Champion, has also proven themselves to be playing with the fewest fouls. Liverpool's players have committed an average of 8.14 fouls per game in the Premier League, which comes in at a massive 22% under that of all teams combined in the competition. Jürgen Klopp's team has been on fire this season, winning all but one match, and are still unbeaten.

Clearly having the bulk of possession will often limit the number of tackles that are required to be made, but the high-pressing nature of The Reds could also work against them in this regard. It seems they are doing it right.

In Spain, it is Levante that have proved themselves to be the cleanest team in LaLiga Santander. Paco López' side have committed an average of 10.63 fouls per game, 22% less than the league's average. Second come Barcelona, who are 54th across Europe, registering 10.95 fouls per game.

Liga Santander foul count [Source: CIES]

Position Fouls per game Club Ratio to league
1 10,63 Levante -22%
2 10,95 Barcelona -19%
3 11,32 Valencia -17%
4 11,47 Betis -15%
5 11,53 Celta -15%
6 11,89 Villarreal -12%
7 12,63 Real Madrid -7%
8 12,84 Valladolid -5%
9 13,74 Osasuna 1%
10 13,74 Real Sociedad 1%
11 13,95 Athletic de Bilbao 3%
12 14 Atlético de Madrid 3%
13 14,05 Eibar 4%
14 14,21 Mallorca 5%
15 14,26 Sevilla 5%
16 14,42 Leganés 6%
17 15,21 Espanyol 12%
18 14,47 Granada 14%
19 16,58 Alavés 22%
20 18,58 Getafe 37%

Real Madrid sit seventh in their domestic competition but are a long, long way back when compared across the continent in position 169, with 12.63 fouls per game.