This week’s set-piece analysis looks at Joël Matip’s headed goal from a corner in Liverpool’s recent friendly win over Blackpool. This set-piece is a good example of the benefits of a deeper run, and the importance of far side positioning.
We can see below Matip starts in a deeper position, while the majority of the Liverpool attackers stay tight to their markers. Roberto Firmino is of particular interest, as he is the closest player ahead of Matip. By committing the majority of players high on their markers, Liverpool create space in a deeper area. The corner is initially shown as an outswinger, but Liverpool play short to Milner, who is able to deliver from a more favourable angle.
As the ball is about to be delivered, Firmino moves forward slightly but his marker remains tight to him. Firmino doesn’t try to get in behind, and instead makes contact with his marker and puts his arms out to prevent the marker pushing out. Matip starts to time his run from deep.
As a result, when the ball is played in, Firmino is able to get between the Blackpool defender and Matip. Matip can actually use Firmino as a bit of leverage, while the defender’s movement is restricted due to Firmino’s presence. Matip has a run up and therefore has a dynamic advantage over the defender, and so he can power home a fairly open header. Simple idea, executed well.