sport news Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk and Co's return has unlocked missing attacking threat

sport news Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk and Co's return has unlocked missing attacking threat
sport news Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk and Co's return has unlocked missing attacking threat

The return of defensive trio Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip was always guaranteed to give Liverpool's backline a boost but surprisingly it could be benefitting the Reds more at the other end of the pitch.

The Reds' 3-0 triumph over Norwich City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday saw Takumi Minamino score from a Kostas Tsimikas corner just four minutes into the game.

The goal was Liverpool's seventh from a set piece in all competitions so far this season in just as many games. 

Takumi Minamino scored the first goal in Liverpool's 3-0 win over Norwich from a corner

Takumi Minamino scored the first goal in Liverpool's 3-0 win over Norwich from a corner

The Reds were rampant in their victory in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday

The Reds were rampant in their victory in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday

All three goals in the Reds' win over Crystal Palace in the league last Saturday originated from set pieces, proving how vital they have become to their glory over the last few seasons.  

Set pieces were a pivotal part of their campaign when they romped to their first Premier League title in 2019-20. 

Jurgen Klopp's side scored 17 goals from set plays, excluding penalties, on their way to the Premier League crown but failed to equal that tally as their title defence crashed and burned. 

The Reds bagged just 13 from 140 shots from set pieces last season, leaving them with an average of 0.34 per game - a drop from the previous campaign's 0.45. 

In fact, they suffered a slight drought as they scored eight in their first 23 games to then go 20 games without one. 

Mohamed Salah scored the second goal from a set play in the Reds' victory over Crystal Palace

Mohamed Salah scored the second goal from a set play in the Reds' victory over Crystal Palace 

Set pieces were pivotal to Liverpool's success in their Premier League crowning season

Set pieces were pivotal to Liverpool's success in their Premier League crowning season

But Liverpool appear to be back on track as the title race heats up, and it is set to be tight this season.

Champions Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are sure to put up strong challenges as they look to keep the Premier League trophy out of Jordan Henderson and Co's hands.

But Liverpool could have already found their edge over the competition.

They have generated a total of 43 shots from set pieces in the Premier League this season, which is notably more than second-placed Manchester City on just 27, and Burnley in third on 24.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have generated just 16 attempts, and United's current total is 22.

Liverpool have also scored the most from dead-ball situations with five in the Premier League, placing them ahead of Chelsea on four and United, by contrast, who are yet to find the net. 

According to a report by The Athletic, Klopp put a focus on set-pieces in pre-season.

The German brought in Dr Niklas Hausler and Patrick Hantschke from German company Neuro11 in order to help the team find an edge in their delivery of set-pieces, with Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold highlighted as players looking to maximise their threat.

But it is the return of their centre backs that has been the key to unlocking one of their main sources of goals. 

An

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