For Liverpool, set-pieces have become all-important in adding an extra dimension to their play and the team’s improvement has coincided with Andy Robertson‘s own progression over the dead ball.
The Reds were not particularly strong at punishing their opponents from dead ball situations prior to their title-winning campaign, but like any other area of their collective game – time and practice have seen them turn it into a key weapon in their arsenal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has proven his proficiency from set-pieces but as Liverpool look to keep unpredictability at the forefront, Robertson has stepped up to the fore.
The Scot provides a left-footed alternative with equal devastating potential, but it is something he has had to hone over time and is now starting to reap the rewards having become one of the regular corner takers.
In an interesting in-depth interview with the Atheltic‘s James Pearce, Robertson opened up on his progression on set-pieces and how time at Melwood is key to success on matchday.
“Look, set pieces are a big part of the game,” Robertson explained. “When you have got people who are so good in the air, like Virgil, like Hendo, like Bobby, you need to be able to capitalise on that and make the most of it.
“The delivery has to be right and the runs have to be right.
“Yeah, I struggled with [it]. When I took corners sometimes last year, I just couldn’t get them off the ground. I don’t know why
“It was something I wanted to add to my game. It’s always a buzz to prove people wrong.
“I practised a lot throughout last season, trying to improve it. I wanted to add a left-footed option for the team from corners because before it was always Trent or Millie [Milner] hitting them right-footed.
“I tried to become that left-sided option and I believe I’ve managed to do that. I’ve put in some good ones so far, like the one for Virg against Leeds, and long may it continue.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I won’t hit another bad corner in my life again. Of course, I will. There will be times when the delivery isn’t spot on. But if I can do it on a more regular basis, I’ll be happy.
“Trent and I are in control of the deliveries and it’s a good way to get assists. Whether they’re good or whether they’re bad, we always go away and work at them. There’s a real sense of pride when a routine you’ve worked on at Melwood comes off in a match situation.”
With assists not in short supply for Robertson prior to stepping up his dead ball duties, the extra string to his bow is not only a sign of his relentless desire to improve but also Liverpool’s continual evolution and the bid to remain unpredictable.
Robertson has a total of 31 assists to his name for the Reds, and he and those of the Liverpool persuasion can no doubt expect to see plenty more in 2020/21 and beyond.