I love a fast counterattack. The moment when a soccer game breaks open and suddenly five or six players are all racing toward goal, attackers looking to fill the right lanes and defenders desperately planning a last-ditch tackle that could score a goal. And these are not just exciting moments. Recent research has shown that attacking at speed correlates strongly with odds of scoring.

The faster an attack is, the higher the chance of scoring along a roughly linear scale. But weirdly, at above about eight yards per second, the relationship breaks down.

Attacks that cover ground at a rate faster than eight yards per second are extremely rare. This is because it’s not reasonably possible to run with the ball much faster than that. Take Mame Biram Diouf’s goal against Manchester City last week:

From the clearance to the shot, Stoke and Diouf cover about 80 yards in 10 seconds. It’s a perfect example of the utility of attacking speed. By driving up the heart of the defense, Diouf gets a one-on-one chance against keeper Joe Hart. While Hart perhaps could have done better against the shot, the chance was an excellent one precisely because the speedy counterattack prevented City from putting any defensive pressure on Diouf at the point of the strike.

To go faster than that, the attacking team probably has to use less effective attacking methods. It would take a very long pass, moving much faster than a player is likely to run, to create an attack at 12 or 15 yards per second. That means, in turn, that the attacking player needs to be well ahead of the ball, and thus that he is probably already defended. In my new expected goals methodology, I adjust attacking speed for whether the attack includes a very long pass.

So how do we measure which teams attack at speed? I do not think average attacking speed will be a very useful metric because it will be skewed by those few very fast but not very useful attacks. I think the simplest way to do it is just to collect the total number of fast attacks. As you can see from the above chart, at about five yards per second, the odds of a shot being converted rises to over 10 percent. That seems like a reasonably good cut-off. So which teams last year took the most shots after fast attacks?

Liverpool tops the list, unsurprisingly. Chelsea is notable here for having slightly more fast attacks that did not involve a very long pass. Brendan Rodgers encouraged long-balling, and Liverpool’s 20 shots following a long-ball driven fast attack was the most in the Premier League.