Liverpool have developed a set-piece problem over the last two games. It’s the kind of thing that needs curbing before it becomes a weakness.
Liverpool’s defeat to Atletico Madrid and victory of West Ham United didn’t have too much in common. Defensively, they did, however.
The Reds looked unusually vulnerable in both games. Both Atletico and West Ham got into the Liverpool box on multiple occasions and Liverpool just weren’t solid.
But there was one area where Liverpool definitely struggled – set-pieces.
Atletico bagged a goal from a corner just a few minutes into the Champions League clash. Liverpool defended it poorly, to put it simply.
The ball came in and just bounced off Fabinho, falling to Saul Niguez just a couple of yards from goal. Atletico didn’t do anything special, Liverpool just didn’t defend it.
That’s something you put down to a one-off, though. Poorly defended but you’ll do better next time. Only, it happened again on Monday.
Liverpool took an early lead but West Ham hit back immediately, again from a corner. Issa Diop pulled away from goal and met the ball with a header as he ran. It was low enough that Alisson couldn’t react in time and West Ham had an equaliser.
So that’s two in two games against a team that usually defends them very well. But it’s also the kind of thing that can be a problem.
It’s a problem that can develop, certainly, if Liverpool lose confidence from set-piece situations. It’s another mentality test, really – can they stay confident and composed at corners? Can they simply put it down to freak occurrences?
Jurgen Klopp has to ensure that they do. This Liverpool side thrives on having no real weakness and this would be a terrible time in the season to develop one.