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Martin Skrtel’s goal vs Arsenal 2013/14

This week, we go back to one of the best Premier League seasons in recent memory, with Brendan Rodger’s high flying Liverpool taking on Arsenal at Anfield. Liverpool won the game in emphatic fashion with a 5-1 win, and on top of their dominance in open play, they also managed to score two goals from set-pieces, with both goals being scored by Martin Škrtel. A 13 year old me was in the Kop at Anfield for the goal, and Škrtel’s goal from the corner is perhaps one of my favourite set-piece goals ever.

We can see Liverpool are fairly oriented towards the back post and centre initially, with a block placed on the goalkeeper and Phillipe Coutinho initially making a diversion run towards the near post, in order to take his marker with him. Liverpool’s runners all start from deep and on the far side of their markers.

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The two closest runners to the corner taker, Kolo Touré and Jordan Henderson both move onto their markers, getting tight and remaining on the far side of their markers. These two therefore act as blockers for the deeper runner, Martin Škrtel. Škrtel is separated from his marker and moves from deeper towards the near post space. The distance his marker has to run is therefore a fair bit larger than Škrtel’s distance, and Škrtel has the natural bonus of always having a head start over a static defender.

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Škrtel therefore is able to run into a deeper area unmarked, with his marker failing to make up the ground to prevent him heading the ball. His marker also has to run towards the blocks of the two Liverpool players, which helps to prevent him reaching Škrtel also. Arsenal have a player on the back post, but they cannot stop the header and Liverpool score. Perhaps if this player was part of a structure which aimed to stop the initial header, Arsenal wouldn’t have conceded here. Sturridge’s initial block helps to occupy the goalkeeper slightly, and Sturridge also peels off to the back post in case of a knock down.

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