Football News

Jurgen Klopp explains why he lets Liverpool players decide their own free-kick roles

By J Smith

Published: 10:20, 23 September 2019

Jurgen Klopp has revealed he gives his Liverpool players free rein on their direct free-kick routines on matchdays.

The Reds gained a valuable three points with a 2-1 win away from home against Chelsea on Sunday, with both goals coming from cleverly thought out free-kicks.

Liverpool’s set-piece prowess: Five things to know…

  • Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 on Sunday thanks to two well-worked set-piece goals.
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a thunderbolt for the first, and Roberto Firmino headed home the second.
  • Both came as a result of clever, back-heeled lay-offs which disrupted the Blues’ defence.
  • Klopp has admitted his players have the final say on the pitch over their free-kick roles.
  • Liverpool have created more chances from set plays (13) than any other PL team this season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold scored the first with a rocket into Kepa Arrizabalaga’s top corner after being laid off by a Mohamed Salah back-heel.

And the second was laid off to Andy Robertson in similar style, though he used the disruption to find the head of Roberto Firmino in the Chelsea penalty area.

And although Klopp says they do work on these situations on the training ground, he is adamant it is the players who have the final say over direct free-kicks during a game.

He said: “The Robbo one is from the training ground but, [with] the Trent one, I really think the boys have the best view on the pitch and it’s their job to see the best opportunity to score.

“It was a direct free-kick, obviously, so he could have scored with that, but this little move changed the whole angle and made it pretty impossible for Kepa to make a save. It was a brilliant goal.

“I said it before and it’s no problem to say it but Peter Krawietz and our analysts they do a really brilliant job around set-pieces, especially corners.

“Direct free-kicks are the boys’ job, we cannot show them how to shoot that ball, you have to do it every often and you will be good at it.

“But I loved the corners in the second half as well, where we probably should have scored twice, that would have been great.”

Klopp unsurprised with Liverpool ‘character’

Liverpool’s win maintains their 100% start to the new Premier League season and keeps them five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

However, they had to earn the three points by staving off a second-half rally from Chelsea, especially after N’Golo Kante halved the deficit in the 71st minute.

But Liverpool’s character in the closing stages came as no surprise to Klopp, who says this comes as an expectation with his players.

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“I think I shouldn’t be surprised anymore about the character of my team, to be honest,” he added.

“We don’t tell them every day: your character is brilliant! It’s not like this. We expect that we fight for everything.

“We have a big job to do in a really difficult league. Everybody thinks we should be first or second and we have to play the football for it, we don’t think about these things. Without character, life is difficult, but football is impossible. I was not in doubt about that.

“The boys did really well, they fought really hard, and all good. I don’t think there’s any other way to win here. It’s a big one.”