Liverpool have had a strange relationship with set pieces over the years: in 2013/14 we scored more than anyone else in the league, and it nearly propelled us to the title, whereas in more recent years, at times during each season, it felt like all the opposition had to do to score against us was win a corner. Opposition scouts would watch us and send back a simple message: when playing Liverpool, win a corner, win the second ball, score a goal. This two part series will focus on our attacking set up initially before moving on to the new set up defensively in the second part.
Set pieces are a notoriously difficult thing to analyse, with many perceptions about what makes a quality corner at odds with each other, or raging diatribes from pundits about the benefits of man-to-man marking, leaving men on the post, whether to shoot direct or come up with a tricky interplay to confuse the opposition.
In this piece we will go over the Reds’ attacking variety, assessing any changes to the approach and trying to place it in the context of the rest of the league. To start with though, here’s a study by the brilliant Paul Power from STATS, who looked in precision detail at the corners and direct free-kicks in the Premier League last season, in the process busting a few commonly held myths (it probably deserves a whole article looking at it in fairness and I’m interested in subscribers’ thoughts on it in the comments section). And crucially for this article, a massive dose of context:
The rest of this article is for subscribers only.