When you think of Liverpool, you think of a dynamic team with lightning-quick attacks. The prolific front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah lead the way in the goal scoring department, with the Senegalese and Egyptian forwards sharing the golden boot last season. When you think of Liverpool’s attack, you think of curlers to the far post, audacious chips when one on one with the keeper, and no-look tap-ins. When you think of Liverpool’s attack, you don’t think of headers.
According to Opta stats, however, Liverpool lead the league in headed goals since the start of last season with 22. That’s seven more than the next team in the Premier League. That’s using the ol’ noggin.
So what has lead to Liverpool becoming so prolific at scoring from headers? The rise of Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold (long may they reign) has certainly helped. The fullbacks are not lumping in lofted crosses to large forwards. Rather, both players are known for their pinpoint whipped deliveries, which are often met by forwards making darting runs in behind the back line. The fullbacks combined for 23 assists in the league last season, with Trent adding two more to start this season off.
Liverpool’s set piece ability has also added in an additional wrinkle. The movement and skill of Liverpool’s forwards has often lead to fouls drawn in dangerous areas on the field, as well as panicked defenders turning the ball behind the net for corner kicks rather than cede a chance on goal. Scouse youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold has become known for his deliveries from set pieces, especially corner kicks (quickly taken or otherwise). Four of Trent’s assists in the league have come from corners or free kicks.
So who has gotten on the end of those deliveries to finish with their heads? Leading the way is all 5’-9” (175 cm) of Sadio Mane with six headed goals. While that statistic may seem surprising, the Senegalese striker has proven to have a knack for using smart runs and movement to find little bits of space in the box to connect with those driven crosses from the fullbacks.
Roberto Firmino and the towering Virgil van Dijk share the second spot on the squad with four headed goals each. Divock Origi has scored three with his noggin (thanks Jordan Pickford), while Joel Matip has scored two, including the opener against Arsenal.