With their lead in the battle for the Premier League title thinned, Liverpool have found ways to take advantage of every possible advantage. Set-pieces have proven to be an important part of any title-winning side, with games that can be flipped from a single ball, securing vital points and progress right through to the final stages of tournaments.
The Reds’ recruiting strategy, which focuses on central defenders of considerable height and athleticism, has helped coaches make the most of fixed tactics. Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konaté and Joël Matip have scored seven out of ten goals in total this season – with three of the French defenders in the last three games.
And with players like Trent Alexander-Arnold throwing the ball into the penalty area, Liverpool have used that key advantage to become one of the best teams in the league at set pieces.
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Opponents will eventually have to adapt. Jurgen Klopp has found a way to orchestrate plays in which Konate is regularly seen in space, punishing even the hugely organized Manchester City defense of Pep Guardiola, who have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season. That could finally unlock Virgil van Dijk’s dominance in the air from corners again.
The Dutch captain has scored twice less than his best five ever in the 2018/19 title-winning season. But as Klopp continues to penalize teams whose defensive focus is solely to prevent Van Dijk from getting to the ball, they may have to give way quickly, leaving defenders the difficult task of challenging him in an aerial duel.
That looks set to be a deciding factor in one of the closest title races in Premier League history. Liverpool have already dealt with the pain of missing out on the award despite hitting 97 points in 2018 – making every point vital as the Reds keep the pressure on the side of Pep Guardiola who drove past Watford on Saturday afternoon .
While Liverpool’s front lines with the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have pushed the Reds forward in every game, it’s the return of Van Dijk that has transformed Klopp’s side straight back into title battle after one of the most bizarre run of the injuries. that we got last season. The former Southampton star has added the stability that is the foundation for Liverpool’s more advanced players to perform, with displays that have seen the 30-year-old as the best central defender in world football.
But with Klopp finding a new solution for scoring points from set pieces, Van Dijk could soon recapture his scoring form – a factor that will make Liverpool even more untenable in the future. The Reds have found a way to be relentlessly efficient in all parts of the pitch, and that has been the key factor in keeping the Manchester City team backed by billionaire owners.
Liverpool will need a near-perfect run if they want to raise the Premier League one more time, supported by an Anfield crowd who will be by the side of the team all along. For Klopp, who has once again found a solution to an ever-changing competition, his latest masterstroke could be the final chess move that puts Virgil van Dijk in position to find his scoring form at a point of the season that could be one of the best to be. most decisive moments in the club’s history.