piece problem under Jurgen Klopp must be addressed

Posted by: Fr. Sandy | June 5th, 2017

piece problem under Jurgen Klopp must be addressed

Jurgen Klopp has not solved Liverpool set piece issue. Could West Brom expose it again? Adam Bate examines the stats on why the trip to The Hawthorns is the ultimate test Liverpool’s failure to deal with set pieces is not a new problem. In 2014, Brendan Rodgers’ Reds conceded two goals in that fashion against Queens Park Rangers, prompting Jamie Carragher to describe them as “the worst side in the league” at defending set pieces.

But three years on and Liverpool’s weakness remains just that. The month began with victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby and yet even that triumph featured Matthew Pennington’s tap in equaliser after Klopp’s men struggled to cope with a corner.

“It is still a question for us to find a real answer for,” said the Liverpool manager afterwards. “Obviously it is not our best skill of all the football skills.”

Liverpool have conceded more goals from corners than any other top six side

The statistics bear this out. Liverpool have conceded six goals from corners this season, twice as many as the two teams above them in the Premier League table combined. It is also more than every single one of their top six rivals.

It’s a factor in their difficulties against bottom half teams too. Style issues play a part and Liverpool are susceptible to the counter attack as well. But it’s telling that four of the six goals conceded from corners have come against relegation strugglers Hull and Swansea.

Both have beaten Liverpool. Indeed, they account for two of their three defeats in 2017. Fernando Llorente gave Swansea the lead from a corner in a 3 2 win at Anfield in January, while Alfred N’Diaye forcing home Hull’s opener in a 2 0 win the following month.

West Brom have scored more goals from set pieces than any other team

At the weekend, things are unlikely to get any easier for Liverpool in this respect. They travel to The Hawthorns on Sunday to face Tony Pulis’ West Brom statistically the strongest side in the Premier League when it comes to set pieces.

The Baggies http://www.cheapjerseys11.com/ have scored 18 goals from set plays this season, more than any other team. They have also conceded eight at the other end with only leaders Chelsea able to better that. In terms of net goals from set pieces, Albion are better than everyone.

“West Brom are undoubtedly the best team in the Premier League at set pieces, not just because of their size but the way they attack the ball,” says Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson. “Nullifying that threat is crucial to getting a result but I think Tony Pulis fancies his chances against most teams in an aerial confrontation.”

Klopp’s team already suffered a scare against them at Anfield in October when, despite the home side having dominated the game, Gareth McAuley pulled one back late on with West Brom’s only shot on target after Liverpool failed to clear a corner.

Klopp was pleased with how his side came from behind to see off Stoke

Pulis’ men might have snatched an undeserved point had Hal Robson Kanu’s effort not been blocked in the dying moments. Set pieces always give Albion a chance, as demonstrated in their 3 1 win over Arsenal last month thanks to two goals from Craig Dawson.

Speaking about Arsenal’s marking approach, Pulis explained: “They mark zonal, they have a line of players inside the box and they have two to block people. If you can get across that block then you are running on top of people who are standing.

“Dawson has two goals doing that today. It doesn’t just happen, you need to have the quality of ball into the box and you need to have someone who wants to head it. We have an abundance of them.”

With the likes of Dawson, McAuley and Jonny Evans, that is undeniably true and makes it difficult for Liverpool to man mark. Centre backs could pick up two but who is Liverpool’s third best man marker? He would struggle one on one against any of those three players.

As a result, Klopp is forced to find an alternative, as he explained on Monday Night Football earlier this season. “We have to be more creative,” he said. “At Dortmund we had a lot of man marking because we had a lot of tall players. Here, we had to find a different solution.” So far that solution eludes Klopp.

“As a player we all man to man marked and as a coach I always had man to man,” explains Thompson. “I would have a list pinned up in the dressing room with their six best headers of the ball. Their main threat would be getting marked by Sami Hyppia then I go down the list in order to make sure we were matching up correctly.

“Jurgen Klopp likes to zonal mark so if I was him going into the game I’d go three at the back to get a bit more height into the side. Divock Origi will probably cheap jerseys also need to play to add some height, so you’d have him plus Ragnar Klavan, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren all strong in the air.

Jurgen Klopp likes to zonal mark so if I was him going into the game I’d go three at the back to get a bit more height into the side. Phil Thompson

“Liverpool’s blockers need be clever as well because that was something Arsenal didn’t do on the big men, leaving them with a free runs on the goal.

“They should have been practicing that in training and making sure goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is clever with his movement to get a clear space to help the defenders.

“They do have great delivery, too, so the first thing you need to do in minimise the amount of corners and free kicks you are giving away, which isn’t always easy but is something the players need to be aware of.”

Whether Liverpool can put that theory into practice remains to be seen. But if set pieces continue to be a source of cheap goals for their opponents then Liverpool are in trouble. At the top of the table, these are the little details that they need to get right in order to progress. Starting at The Hawthorns on Sunday.

Categories News/Events | Tags: | Posted on June 5, 2017

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