The Portuguese forward has scored 5 headed goals at Liverpool this season, and 5 for Portugal in World Cup Qualification. Very few forwards on the planet can claim a better record this season, raising the question - how does a 5'10 false-nine-left-wing hybrid score so many headed goals?
In this special edition Spin The Ball Q&A, Rhys Desmond talks about how to find the balance between being fun and assertive in coaching, how to be more enthusiastic for your players, and gives his thoughts on the CONCACAF Champions League and Man City vs. Tottenham this weekend. Be sure to check out @mastermindsite on social media and everything we have going on at themastermindsite.com to never miss an update.
Following its popular use for Vicente del Bosque's Spain at Euro 2012, the role of the false nine has continued to evolve in the modern era of the Premier League, accompanied by a shift in mannerisms, behaviors, and positional patterns of strikers on a football pitch. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have been two of the dominating forces in world football since the mid-2010s, and both have operated throughout that time without a recognized out-and-out goal-scoring striker. For any possession-based team attempting to emulate Klopp and Guardiola, deploying a false nine presents a unique and innovative way of breaking the opposition down, and reaching new levels of performance. Some tactical experts have suggested that in the future we may see a formation without a striker at all, but truthfully, we may already be there.