Shouldn’t we be scoring more from set pieces?


Rafael Benitez famously used the saying ‘small details’ when referring to deciding big games or even tight games. I totally agree with him on this one, as we have seen a number of times goals scored at vital times change games. Over the years we have seen vital goals scored at vital times in huge games for us; goals in game against AC Milan, West Ham, Arsenal, Everton, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City immediately spring to mind that have sent us into elation as well as the goals we have conceded that have sent us into despair.Liverpool-v-Manchester-Un-007[1]

When a game is tight and it is difficult to score from open play, a well-worked set piece can often make the difference between winning and losing a game. It is something we have not been outstanding on over the last few seasons but it is an essential part of the game.

Sunday’s game highlighted to me how we do not make our superiority count at set pieces so I thought I would look at how we could improve our set pieces.

A study across all the big four European leagues showed there is little correlation by the number of corners your team has and the number of goals they score, although this was at its strongest across the English premier league. This table initially looks at corners and how we have performed this year


Game Liverpool   Opposition
West Brom
Man City
Man Utd
Goals scored direct
Goals scored indirect
Avg corners per game
% of corners scored

The two goals we have scored have been well-worked corners, which confuse me as to why we haven’t scored more. We have some dangerous players when the ball comes into the box e.g. Skrtel and Agger and some excellent delivery. It is something that I would like to see us make more use of. It doesn’t have to be scoring from a header; we have excellent creative players that could produce a well-worked corner routine. If we are going to get an average of 6+ corners per game then we need to convert more. I am pleased with the variety of our corners this year but yet again it is something I would like to see us develop even further.

Branching out further into set pieces yet again I feel we have some excellent deliverers of a dead ball to create numerous opportunities. Defenders and goalkeepers find nothing worse than having to deal with a ball in a dangerous area. In the likes of Gerrard and Enrique we have players who can put balls into dangerous areas for players to attack or defenders and goalkeepers to be put under pressure.
So how have we faired over the last few years when it comes to set pieces?

Last season’s set piece goals

Team    Total Goals % from set piece % from pen
1 Man City
20.43% (19) 7.53% (7)
2 Blackburn
39.59% (19) 8.33% (4)
3 Man United
20.22% (18) 10.11% (9)
4 Stoke
44.44% (16) 11.11% (4)
5 Norwich
30.77% (16) 3.85% (2)
6 West Brom
33.33% (15) 2.22% (1)
7 Chelsea
21.54% (14) 6.15% (4)
8 Liverpool
29.79% (14) 2.13% (1)
9 Bolton
28.26% (13) 10.87% (5)
10 Everton
24% (12) 10% (5)
11 Wigan
26.19% (11) 11.90% (5)
12 QPR
25.58% (11) 4.65% (2)
13 Sunderland
22.22% (10) 2.22% (1)
14 Tottenham
13.64% (9) 6.06% (4)
15 Fulham
18.75% (9) 6.25% (3)
16 Wolves
22.5% (9) 7.5% (3)
17 Arsenal
10.81% (8) 2.70% (2)
18 Newcastle
14.29% (8) 3.57% (2)
19 Swansea
15.90% (7) 11.36% (5)
20 Aston Villa
8.11% (3) 8.11% (3)
22.60% (241) 6.75% (72)

Last year we scored 14 goals in total from set pieces this was the joint 7th highest in the league and although we did not score enough goals last year 29.79% of our goals came from set pieces. One thing that does concern me is that Swansea only scored half the goals that we did from set pieces. I wonder if this is a trait of a Brendan Rogers side? Let’s check this years statistics:

This season’s set piece goals

Team    Total Goals % from set piece % from pen
1 Man Utd
27.59% (8) 3.45% (1)
2 Man City
35% (7) 0% (0)
3 Chelsea
26.09% (6) 13.04% (3)
4 Fulham
20.83% (5) 16.67% (4)
5 Everton
23.80% (5) 4.76% (1)
6 West Ham
35.71% (5) 7.14% (1)
7 Southampton
26.67% (4) 6.67% (1)
8 Wigan
33.33% (4) 8.33% (1)
9 Stoke
44.44% (4) 11.11% (1)
10 Tottenham
22.22% (4) 0% (0)
11 Liverpool
28.57% (4) 0% (0)
12 West Brom
17.65% (3) 5.88% (1)
13 Reading
25% (3) 8.33% (1)
14 Arsenal
16.67% (3) 0% (0)
15 Aston Villa
20% (2) 0% (0)
16 Norwich
25% (2) 0% (0)
17 Sunderland
28.57% (2) 0% (0)
18 QPR
12.5% (1) 0% (0)
19 Swansea
6.25% (1) 0% (0)
20 Newcastle Utd
0% (0) 8.33% (1)
23.78% (73) 5.21% (16)

We have yet again scored almost a third of our goals from set pieces which is good to see we are scoring them and looking at Swansea’s dismal record this season maybe it is not just a Rogers trait. Like I have said before I would like to see more goals from the team and set pieces is another way we can break down a stubborn side. Hopefully, in the next few months we shall see more goals from well-worked set pieces from the training ground.

See if you can score from more set pieces on the football Safari slots game from Get through to the Go for Goal bonus round you’ll be faced with a spot kick. Score and you’ll be rewarded with some great prizes.

The Torres Dilemma


This weekend I asked a friend, “would you take him back?”…. His reply “hmmm would you take back a cheating ex?”


A lot of Reds have this outlook on the lad we call El Nino. I can recall every movement in that horrible transfer deadline day, glued to Sky Sports News and having to wait up with my mother until midnight to see him in that blue shirt to actually believe it was true. That this man I loved, and had every shirt with his name on since he arrived, had forsaken us and left to go to London where he would be the flavour of the month until Drogba started scoring again, always destined to be liked but never loved. Turns out we got our wish and he instantly turned into Sean Dundee. All the while wishing he would get hurt, never score again and / or Chelsea would be thrown out of the game… ANYTHING to stop Fernando Torres achieving anything else in football because he had hurt us all so much.

The trophies that reside in his cabinet at home, however he sees them, are tainted. It was not him scoring the winning penalty in Munich and it certainly was not him even getting to contribute anything to the F.A. Cup win against his friends. Looking at him last night trying desperately to score against us was, in truth, very sad to see. Not for one moment did I want him to, but he never even looked like scoring even when he had things laid on a plate for him. “NO, anyone but him” must have been said by thousands around the world yesterday (including myself) as he got close to Brad Jones’ goal, but as he left the field to rapturous, sarcastic cheers and jeers from the travelling Kop and muted, plastic clapping from Chelsea’s fans, you could not fail to see the sorrow in the kid. Much like Michael Owen being paraded in front of the Newcastle fans at St James’ Park, there was a sadness in his eyes. A longing almost to be elsewhere. Di Matteo very cruelly gave him that extra platform to be shot from with 8 minutes to go but, rightly so. Chelsea needed a goal and that game could have gone on until Wednesday and FT9 would not have scored. We all laughed when he rounded De Gea last season and fired into the United fans too but is it still funny that he is still likely to do that now? I ask this for one reason….

Part of me wants him back at Anfield. This period of time would be the equivalent of going on your ex’s facebook page to check in on them, to see if there is any sign he / she wants you back and misses you, as there is a stirring from Stamford Bridge that Falcao is coming to replace him and he would relish a return to Anfield. This is, at the moment, rumour. An interview with him in the week about Stevie G’s 600 game milestone shed some interesting insights to the troubled striker’s mind. It was, stating the obvious, his “happiest time in football” playing for us and the chemistry with Steven Gerrard was a big factor in making him the player we loved. Do we dare dream of an El Pistolero / El Nino partnership, or has the blonde kid from Madrid blown all chances of revitalising not only his career but probably one of the best relationships a footballer has ever had with his fans? He has stirred a desire in a lot of Liverpool fans this week, is he just leading us on? Hell hath no fury like a football fan scorned.

Chelsea 1 – 1 Liverpool


By jpa90, 11-11-2012, 19:37:20

Liverpool took a point away from Stamford Bridge in a 1-1 draw after cancelling out John Terry’s first half goal for Chelsea. Luis Suarez provided the equaliser for the Reds but neither side could find a winner.

Chelsea controlled the first half and deserved to go ahead when Terry headed home from a corner. Jamie Carragher earned a rare assist for Liverpool’s equaliser when he flicked the ball goalwards from a corner, allowing Suarez to net his eighth Premier League goal of the season.

Both Liverpool and Chelsea started slowly in attempts to hold the ball and control the pace of the game. It looked like the Reds were coming out in a defensive frame of mind by starting five at the back, but early charging runs from Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger hinted at an alternative strategy from Brendan Rodgers.

The home side’s abundance of striking prowess required Liverpool’s defence to be on constant guard; Fernando Torres’ acceleration proved to be extremely threatening when Chelsea broke away from a Liverpool corner. The Spaniard fed the ball through to Juan Mata whose cross was blocked – a vital interception in what could have resulted in the home side taking an early lead.

Carragher’s experience in dealing with Fernando Torres had earned him a rare place in the Reds’ starting line-up. Liverpool’s defence seemed shaky however and Chelsea’s strike force were exploiting defensive gaps and pushing forward. Both Johnson and Agger failed to pick up Terry during a Chelsea corner and the defender marked his return back from a five-game ban with a thumping header to make it 1-0 to the home side. The visitors will have been asking questions of themselves after allowing Terry to nod home with such ease. Liverpool had hardly threatened Chelsea’s goal and the home side’s tight back line were ensuring it stayed that way.

Chelsea were quick to pounce on Liverpool’s mistakes and Brad Jones was all that prevented Torres from scoring against his old club. Eden Hazard missed the follow up shot but there was no doubt that the home side were eager for more goals – especially their number nine. Nuri Şahin saw his shot roll wide of Petr Čech’s goal at the opposite end and the visitors will have been discouraged that this was the closest they had come in the first half.

Despite the home side enjoying most of the first half’s best chances, Liverpool held the majority of possession without creating much in front of goal. John Terry’s goal was all that separated the sides at the mid-point but Chelsea’s captain was stretchered off the pitch after a nasty collision with Suarez. Mata had the opportunity to double the home side’s lead but smashed his shot over the bar, having only Jones to beat.

Liverpool had given the Blues freedom to roam in midfield and the visitors needed to tighten the gaps in their defence in order to avoid a repeat of the first half. Chelsea were unfazed by Liverpool’s ability to retain the ball as the Reds had so far been unable to penetrate the home side’s back line.

The start of the second half saw no change in the pattern of play as Chelsea’s midfield confidently rolled the ball around and created several chances. Howard Webb booked Johnson for a flailing arm and Jones did well to save Torres’ glancing header from the resulting free-kick. The introduction of Suso aimed to strengthen the visitor’s midfield and the Reds became more confident in moving the ball further up the pitch.

The danger of a Chelsea counter-attack still loomed for the Reds but they hoped that an equaliser would come before the home side were able to take advantage of their commitment up front. It was Liverpool who capitalised from this tactic however as Carragher majestically flicked on the ball from a corner to find Suarez at the back post. The Uruguayan kept his cool and calmly headed home to level the score.

With just over 15 minutes of the game remaining, both teams will have felt confident that they were capable of a winner. Chelsea continued to pressurize the visitor’s defence but Suarez found himself receiving the ball behind the Blues’ back line on more than one occasion, only to be thwarted by close marking from Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanović. Apart from Suarez’s equaliser, the substitution of Torres merited the loudest cheer from the visiting fans, albeit with a large sigh of relief that he was unlucky to not score against his former club.

Steven Gerrard battled hard, proven when he won the ball in midfield back and fed Raheem Sterling down the right wing with a perfect through ball. Sterling found Suso in the middle but he took his eye off the ball and scuffed his shot wide. Suarez then timed a run perfectly to beat Chelsea’s offside trap but Čech was straight out of his goal and got a vital touch on the ball to prevent Suarez from taking it around him.

José Enrique came close to winning all three points for Liverpool right at the death with a powerful shot but an emphatic save from Čech meant that the points were shared. A point was not enough for either side to move up in the Premier League table but both teams will have been happy not to have lost the game. Liverpool will hope to take a win against Wigan Athletic at Anfield next Saturday and Chelsea travel to The Hawthorns to take on West Brom.

Kopworld man of the match: José Enrique

Sterling to reject new deal?


Several papers are today reporting that Raheem Sterling is set to reject Liverpool’s initial contract offer after talks opened last week.

sterling1[1]The 17-year-old winger has 18 months left on his current deal – worth £2,000 a week plus bonuses.

The Independent claim the Reds have offered in the region of £20,000 per week, but Sterling’s representatives have made it clear that such an offer is unacceptable and believe he deserves closer to £50,000 per week.

Sterling has been a revelation since breaking into the Liverpool first team – and a string of solid performances earned him a recent call up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad. Let’s just hope that recent successes haven’t gone to his head and the youngster is able to negotiate a deal with the club that suits both parties.

Bitter about Twitter


I am sure many of us have a Twitter account and use it to vent/rant/praise/argue with United fans (a personal fave) and I am sure we follow the Redmen who have Twitter accounts. I have always been a fan of this until recently, there was one occasion at the start of the season where we had just been played off the park and Jonjo Shelvey – rather than apologising for the awful display – took to Twitter to inform us all how he, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling were really looking forward to heading off to the England U21 camp. Not the slightest sign of a care that we had just been outplayed and totally outclassed, at home, by an Arsenal side under as much scrutiny as ourselves or any sign of apologising to the fans who have worked hard to earn the ticket money for that week’s A class game.


I now log on to my own Twitter page (@CeriCollins) and see he is at it again. A picture taking the mick out of Adam Morgan’s attire a few hours after what is probably the worst Liverpool performance I have seen in many a season. I am sure the disgruntled – and probably knackered – travelling Kop are overjoyed to see this on their long flight home. Just what you need after the trouble of travelling to a freezing cold Russia – your (supposedly) senior midfielder in that game you have just witnessed, joking that his young team-mate wears crap clothes. No apology or thank you to those on the way home, no “We will bounce back Sunday” words of encouragement for us to show that it does matter to them that they have lost this game and that we are now in a difficult position in this group, but that one of the teenagers playing for Liverpool in Europe has a dodgy outfit. Sorry, but it is difficult to get behind that.

The young and inexperienced Reds had a massive opportunity to show Brendan what they were capable of last night and they did…. not a damn thing. Suso, when he came on did very well and showed some flashes of a hungry-to-win young man. The “fighting for a place” attitudes voiced by Henderson, Downing and Joe Cole were really not backed up, and in truth they were probably the worst players in purple last night. There seems to be an attitude amongst some of these young players that they are already world beaters because they wear the Red shirt. Not the case sorry fellas. Jonjo’s second touch, 7 times out of ten, is a tackle and the argument that.. “he gets in to good positions” aspect of his game is all well and good but if you can’t finish, it is a futile exercise and quite frankly, embarrassing, see Newcastle game last week and the final ball last night any time he got near the box. We also won’t mention the free kick he hit that was closer to going for a throw in than in the goal but I am sure Adam Morgan’s “gear” choice is again more important than getting his head on the game for Sunday which, I am sure he will feature in as BR sees something in him I, and a lot of other fans I have spoken to, do not.

This is not a personal attack on the young players as it is not only them taking to the internet to voice what they consider humour and in-jokes amongst each other. To his credit Suso was very quick to go online, thank fans for the support and affirm his focus on the next game. Jose Enrique taking the proverbial Michael out of Jon Flanagan this morning was also a highlight. Flanagan was another player that was dreadful last night. The lad’s confidence may have been shaken in the light of being relegated to the u21s and reserves for a period, but again, he had an opportunity to shine last night and he did the exact opposite.

Lucas, Brad Jones, Luis Suarez and Suso are regular tweeters, and in all fairness their posts are – more often than not – about how grateful they are for support and how they are feeling about a game they have featured in (or not in poor Lucas’ case) so there is an argument that, if used for the right reasons, these accounts are a great avenue for us as fans to get the slightest bit of personal contact with our boys.

We as Reds fans are very forgiving and going in to the next game I am sure this feeling of disappointment and frustration at the attitude of our heroes will be gone, but as long as their Twitter accounts are used for this type of immature and frankly thoughtless posts, there may be an air of resentment towards them, and rightly so. They are paid to represent the best club in the world and they need to remember where they are.

Anzhi 1 – 0 Liverpool


By AmericanKopite, 08-11-2012, 20:18:43

Bad luck for the traveling Kop as they say our boys go down 1-nil in Moscow to Group A leaders Anzhi.

Brendan Rodgers had rested almost all his regular starters for the weekend clash against Chelsea, so this mostly youthful side captained by Jamie Carragher faced an uphill challenge against a team who hasn’t lost a single European game at home this year.

The first European away loss for our side started as a strong 45 minutes with the defence holding strong despite strong runs by Traore and Eto’o.

It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that Jonjo Shelvey had opened up Anzhi’s midfield with lovely touches and a cool pass to Adam Morgan, who’s shot didn’t trouble Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov. The next few minutes we dominated by Liverpool, but it was until a rare 29th minute substitution by Anzhi that saw their side take control for the rest of the half.

Brad Jones made himself a household name with excellent saves all throughout the night including the save of the game in the 36th minute when Samuel Eto’o raced around Andre Wisdom to fire a laser at Brad Jones, but the Australian international made his intentions known with a brilliant save.

The match leveled out in terms of dominance for the rest of the half until ten seconds before the whistle a lapse in Liverpool’s defence saw Lacina Traore in open space with Jones off his line and all that was left to do was a cool chip over Jones to make the score 1-nil just moments before the halftime whistle.

Possession became the name of the game as it was all Liverpool in the early moments of the second half, but poor runs and a great defence didn’t allow the visitors to capitalize but for one shining moment when young Adam Morgan took an awkwardly angled shot that spun off course for a goal kick.

Liverpool first two changes came in the 61st minute when Dani Pacheco and Suso came on to replace Adam Morgan and Connor Coady, respectively.

The attack-minded changes by Brendan Rodgers showed and Liverpool was off to the races with Jamie Carragher pressing forward in the late 69th minute.

Joe Cole who hasn’t made himself heard at all this year had a chance in the 76th minute, but to no avail, and it would be his last touch of the match as he would shortly come off for Ousamma Assaidi.

Up until the 80th minute it was all Anzhi, but the pressure was on for the home side with Liverpool putting 5 men in the attacking third for the rest of the match.

Pressure, pressure, pressure, and nothing to come of it but one free kick in the 87th minute from Jonjo Shelvey that did nothing to trouble the man between the sticks.

The final whistle came just four minutes after the home side was delighted to keep their perfect record and go top of Group A with Udinese looking to join them level on seven points.

The only bookings of the match came in the 33rd and 38th minute for Jonjo Shelvey and Jon Flanagan who were carded for a dive late in the match and an elbow thrown.

The reds will make a journey to London on Sunday to visit 2nd place Chelsea, and then it’s back to Anfield to host Wigan athletic on Saturday, the 17th. The next European match will be at home that following Thursday the 22nd and Liverpool will try to go back to top of the group and move on in Europe.

Until then, YNWA.


Shelvey & Sterling get England call-up


Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling have been called up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the friendly match against Sweden in Stockholm next Wednesday.


The pair were brought into the senior England set-up for the first time earlier this season and Shelvey made his international debut as a substitute in the 5-0 win over San Marino in October.

20-year-old Shelvey is currently in Moscow preparing for Liverpool’s Europa League tie against Anzhi tonight, whilst Sterling has been rested by Brendan Rodgers and has not travelled to Russia.

Steven Gerrard is set to make his 100th appearance for the Three Lions, following on from his landmark 600th outing for the Reds on Sunday.

The other Liverpool player named in Hodgson’s 23-man squad is full-back Glen Johnson.

Patience is the key to success


A lot has been said about Brendan Rodgers this week via various media outlets following last weeks home defeat to Swansea, and the 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United. Most of this has been negative and I think it is very early days to judge our new leader, especially when there are a number of players at the club that he does not want as part of his plans. Some forums are saying he is not ready for a job like Liverpool whilst others are saying he doesn’t have a Plan B when things are not going right. I sort of agree with the latter however, we will benefit from this in the future once the Ulsterman has his own squad.

It may be naive from Rodgers to only pay the ‘tiki taka’ way however, as proven with Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea last season, if you start changing the style you have, you can start to get very confused which results in fans and the media questioning you even more.

Rodgers is sticking to his vision and if he is given time, I believe that vision will pay off and bring more success to our great football club. Brendan is our 4th manager in as many years and this is not stability that Liverpool Football Club is used too. Okay, people may say that Roy Hodgson was never given enough time in the job however it was clear after the first few games under Hodgson’s tenure that the club had made a massive mistake. Hodgson was too cautious and negative to be a Liverpool manager. The job is all about taking risks, which Rodgers has achieved by bringing through youngsters and playing the way he wants too with, arguably, a mediocre squad.

The fans understand what he is trying to do and have built a solid early relationship with him; they never took to Hodgson and vice versa. It was clear Hodgson did not really have a plan as to what he wanted to achieve and build at Anfield. Rodgers has. Kenny Dalglish steadied the ship after Hodgson’s dismissal and now we need to get back to basics by giving a manager time and the chance to succeed. There needs to be some stability with regards to the manager’s position.

There is so much pressure on the club to get back in to the Champions League (which we all want) however it is going to take time and stability is needed whilst we make our way back to Europe’s premier competition.

When Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez took over at Anfield, the club were in similar positions as to when Rodgers took over. Maybe more similar under Houllier than Benitez. Both were given time to get their own squads in and implement their styles. I know we won the European Cup in Rafa’s first season, as well as The Treble early into Houllier’s reign, however both were still given time and we benefited from that as a football club.

We cannot keep chopping and changing and we have to make sure Rodgers is given time, and I’m convinced this time next year we will be in a more healthy position and on the right road to where we want to be. That is competing for trophies on a domestic and European scale. The reality is, at the moment, we are where we are and there is no quick fix unless you have the spending power of Chelsea and Manchester City. That’s why I believe in our current position; we need to back the manager and we will be rewarded. Remember, patience is the key to success.

Rodgers rests stars for Russia trip


Brendan Rodgers has left Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Nuri Sahin, Raheem Sterling, Glen Johnson, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Jose Enrique out of the travelling party to face Anzhi in Russia tomorrow.

With a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea looming on Sunday, Rodgers has decided to rest most of his key men for round four of the Europa League group games.

Provisional squad: Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Robinson, Shelvey, Henderson, Cole, Downing, Yesil, Assaidi, Gulacsi, Ward, Flanagan, Sama, Wilson, Coady, Suso, Morgan.

Gerrard: “I would like to play for Mourinho”

Gerrard: "I would like to play for Mourinho"

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has spoken of his respect for Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and has admitted that he would like to play for him one day.

The Portuguese manager nearly made that happen in 2005 when he came very close to prising Gerrard away from Liverpool down to Chelsea, but the Reds legend rejected that move at the last minute.

Gerrard still regards Mourinho as the best manager around after years of success with Porto, Chelsea, Inter and now Spanish champions Real Madrid.

“I would like to play for Mourinho, the Special One,” Gerrard said.

Gerrard has reaffirmed his commitment to the Reds though, having nearly linked up with Mourinho on three occasions.

On Chelsea’s initial move for him in 2005, he said: “Liverpool weren’t really challenging at the time, so there was something to think about.”

“But I ended up saying ‘no’ and a year later I said ‘no’ again. But he came back when he arrived at Real Madrid two years ago.”

“I look at some players who get interest from clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona and they cause absolute wars to get out and get there.”

“But that has never been me and, again, it just wasn’t going to happen.”