Looking back on the 2008/09 season where Liverpool finished second on a record points total, my thoughts always go towards one of the ELEVEN draws we had during that season. Some of them were thrilling encounters such as the 4-4 draw against Arsenal, but others, such as 0-0 home draws against West Ham, Fulham and West Ham, were disappointing performances which really the Reds should have done better in. We only needed a few of those draws to come our away to win the Premier League title, but alas, since we have slipped back from those promising times.
Fine margins win football matches, and fine margins are the difference between success and failure during a Premier League season. Every side has to play 38 games but little moments can make all the difference to the all important points total at the end of the season. Rafa Benitez’s side during that nearly season were pretty much superb throughout the campaing, but one fundamental area where they lacked a cutting edge was at set pieces and especially corners.
In fact it has been a running joke for the best part of 40 years that Liverpool have been hopeless at corners, and even in recent years the same trend has continued. Some may say that if teams like Barcelona don’t focus on scoring from corners, why should we? The fact is though we are not Barcelona and what is the harm in improving in the areas that you are weakest anyway?
Focusing on scoring from corners and set pieces may have connotations of focusing on being a more direct team, rather than a pass and move philosophy in keeping with the Liverpool Way, but for me, those fine margins that I’ve talked about, can be made up by having a good set piece delivery.
The ability to vary your play, and to be able to beat the opposition with a variety of options is crucial to a title winning side. In 2008/09, the only thing you could accuse Rafa Benitez’s side of being, was that they lacked variation; something that title winning sides such as Manchester United and Chelsea have always possessed.