Was Leno at Fault for Liverpool’s Goal?

Following on from a thread about  whether Leno was at fault for the Liverpool goal, this is taken from a comment by our resident Keeper, GIE:

Now on to the goal plus Leno’s general command of the box and I am not so impressed. That said, I think Cech is also not the greatest in this area and we have seen examples on several occasions (one being his debut). Always thought at Chelsea he was well protected by Terry and co in front of him and could stay on his goal line. So yes, Leno is currently our no 1 but I do think he needs to improve that area of his game and he can, given time.


What would I liked to have seen different on their goal?  Well you only have to watch their keeper in a similar situation in the first half. A similar cross, a similar dive except he fisted it away therefore adding power and it came at Mikhi really quickly, meaning he needed to kill it dead, which he didn’t, and the chance was gone. Compare that to the nicely settled ball Milner had to strike.

This was because Leno tried to catch it, which was not necessarily the worse decision if it had stuck, but I would rather see him either adjust his hands and flick the ball up over onrushing defenders and attackers without deviating the ball’s path or use two strong fists to punch away at speed. What happened was probably a result of indecision; all keeping errors in cross situations are nearly always a result of that. So he needs to work on decision making and he will be fine.

And decisions need to be made later even when the ball is in flight. Now I know I didn’t play at this level but whatever level you play at, you should have the necessary skill/mental capacity to achieve the same result against players of equivalent standard. (One team I used to play against (Haringey Boro) are in the first round of FA Cup this week, they’ve gone up a couple of leagues since I played them).

Take a free kick situation (like the one that led to Van Ducks header) and a high line (I was fond of that too as it gave me the 18 yard box unimpeded). If they put the ball between penalty spot and goal line and in centre of goal, I was coming for it, anywhere else it was the defenders’ and attackers’. Not many players were going to beat me with a header from further out. The only time I’d have to worry about bodies around me is if they floated it up high but even then I’ve got height advantage with arms so as long as I watched the flight and attacked at the highest point it was never going to be an issue.


Corners are trickier balls that can be whipped in flatter and therefore take height advantage out of the equation. That said, I think as a team we need to change it slightly: if they put a man on the keeper you have to leave him on his own – we tend to put a second man in there, so not only is Leno blocked by one attacker he is also impeded by a defender too. If the opposition, as Watford do, put a second player on the keeper and the defence does likewise,  the GK now has two attackers and two defenders to navigate around.

My view was if they put a man on me, tell the defender to F off and make sure one of the men on the posts pick him up in second phase (if necessary) then I could ignore him, play my normal game. If he blocked my run to the ball, it was easy for officials to see the foul. Also if I ignored him, he wasn’t in my mind when I went to attack ball

written by Gooner In Exile


21 Responses to Was Leno at Fault for Liverpool’s Goal?

  1. chas says:

    Thanks, GIE.
    Most of this has gone over my head. Much as most everything would go over my head if I was a keeper. ☺

    I saw your comment originally and also saw these two clips from the game on twitter. The first is for the dippers’ goal and the second Alisson’s fist away to Micki. I wondered what you thought of the assessment of both.

    It’s funny how Alisson is getting pilloried by the scouse pundits after last night. Poor things are all in a tizzy.

    When you talk about attacking the ball at its highest point, I find it hard to imagine how it’s even vaguely possible to do that in the split second you have to decide. Much of it must be guesswork, surely?

    Anyway, enough waffle from me – here’s those clips………

  2. GunnerN5 says:

    I watched Liverpool lose yesterday and both goals were extremely well taken and they were hit with a lot of venom – as an unbiased viewer I did not feel Allison was at fault – but what do I know?

    It’s great to get a knowledgeable viewpoint – thanks GIE.

  3. RC78 says:

    3 players are at fault here:
    1. Bellerin for allowing so much space behind him
    2. Mustafi for not covering the space behind Bellerin
    3. Leno for his handling of the cross

    Then Milner’s goal is a bit lucky because it gets deflected

    So it is a series of errors that led to the goal but his handling of the ball was definitely faulty so he has a big share of the resp. IMHO

  4. Kev says:

    My take on Leno’s overall performance so far this season is very similar to GIE’s. One thing that I noticed after the Liverpool goal is that when a very similar ball was played across the box later on, Leno once again dived out to get the ball, this time missing it completely. Had Mané been just one yard further forward it would have been a tap in. Surely Leno would be better just following the ball across the goal and then making himself big in front of the oncoming attacker if he reaches it. Most of the time he will just be able to let the ball go right across so it becomes the right back’s ball, therefore we gain possession.
    Going onto corners, I cannot believe that our best defender of a cross is not told to mark the opposition’s best attacker of a cross.For Van Dyke to have a clear unimpeded header on our 6 yard line is ridiculous, and we were very lucky we were not made to pay.
    I personally would like to see at least one and maybe even two of our attackers pushed further forward when we are defending corners, possibly somewhere between penalty box and halfway. The advantage of this is twofold – firstly it means that the opposition have to mark them, giving two less attackers in or around the box, secondly if we win the first ball, but only half manage to clear our lines, then at least the opposition can be put under immediate pressure by us, rather than them having all the time in the world to put the ball back in to the danger area.
    Oh to be a manager………

  5. RC78 says:

    Kev – agreed with your assessment

    PSG put Mbappe or Neymar on the half line when we are defending corners so that the opposition has to keep some defenders back.

    My take is: buy Koulibaly and Allan and our defending is sorted.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Kev. Fine comment.

    Like RC, I would like to see a player or two on the halfway line. Lacazette and Terrier. They are not going to help at corners 😀

  7. RC78 says:

    I d leave Auba and Bellerin up front as they r fast

  8. Rasp says:

    Excellent technical analysis GiE … I wish I could understand it all 🙂

    What I do know is that I (and I believe the team) feel more confident with Leno between the sticks than Cech.

    We were excellent playing out from the back against pool.

    Cech is a great old-school keeper, but Leno is one of the new breed … a proper 11th man on the pitch. If he can improve on some of the weaknesses you identify then he could become one of our best ever keepers.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    RC. Both are good in the air whereas Laca and Terreir have less height

  10. chas says:

    Not many comments, GIE, but there’s been over 1300 views of your thoughts.

    A darn sight more than the number who would have seen the comment originally. ☺

  11. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you, GiE. 🙂 That is a pretty technical analysis, which I think I understand and agree with. But that is not saying much, because I am not knowledgeable enough and a technical argument the other way round might also have sounded convincing to me.

    However, what matters is that I thought at the time that Leno was terribly unlucky that his clearance just fell on the path of Milner, and that opinion is reinforced by your analysis. There is scope for improvement for Leno, which is positive. 🙂


  12. Big Raddy says:

    Need MU to get a result tonight or they too will be in the Europa.

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Fellaini gets the call as sub, it is time to stop watching after a wonderful Ronaldo goal

  14. chas says:

    Nice to see Szczesny effing up as usual. 🙂

  15. Evening all, sorry had a bit of a busy day.

    I like Leno, I think with some experience he can iron out the few issues he has on set pieces, control of area. I think in the modern game the way he plays with the ball at his feet is his biggest asset to us. And he is a good shot stopper too. If he could control his box too he would have cost a lot more money!!

    Chas on attacking ball at highest point, this is mainly crosses, and generally we are talking about a floated ball that travels from distance and gives keeper a lot of time to get to the right position. Whipped flat crosses are a lot harder to judge as you say, if defensive line is high then shouldn’t be a problem, if deep then stay on line.

  16. chas says:


  17. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Gameday. Late start (21.00 here) 20.00 in UK.

    Wonder what the attendance will be? If it hits 40k I will be surprised

  18. chas says:

  19. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

    7.24 😀

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