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For Your Consideration: Coutinho’s Free Kick Shenanigans

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Well. That’s one way to reinforce a wall.

Philippe Coutinho kneels behind a wall of teammates
Screencap via Liverpool Echo

One of the beautiful things about football is that, relative to other sports, there aren’t that many rules. Sure, the Laws Of The Game have grown in the past century and a half, but compare that to, say, cricket or boxing or some Olympic sports. It’s a pretty free-flowing game where players have plenty of license to conduct themselves as they see fit, providing they adhere to the really important laws— don’t use your hands— and make safety a top priority.

And so, there’s nothing in the rules saying that players on one team have to form a wall when the opposition prepares to take a free kick. There are rules governing required distance from the kicker, but otherwise teams have lots of wiggle-room as to how to make and reinforce a wall.

Our own Philippe Coutinho took full advantage of this license in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Spurs yesterday.

It’s tempting to ask why, exactly, Coutinho decided to kneel behind his teammates.

To which one must inevitably answer: why not?

(Actually it was to block a low shot in case Christian Eriksen tried to send it under the wall. But, still.)