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If you were paying close attention to Manchester United 3 Liverpool 2 on Sunday you may have spotted one of modern football's most curious phenomena. No, it's not the referee's ball plinth but don't worry, its time will come.
It happened once in the first half, when Paul Pogba stood over a direct free kick at the Stretford End, and again in the second when Bruno Fernandes sized up the set piece that would win his side the game.
Liverpool formed traditional walls, players bound together, goalkeeper directing them as you would a reversing lorry, crown jewels protected. They also reinforced with a man behind the barrier, like a footballing version of a long stop.
Why are top level teams taking a leaf from the village green cricket handbook when facing set pieces?
In the case of Fernandes's winning goal, James Milner seemed to be taking the knee behind his team-mates. This is undoubtedly a #classytouch, but wouldn't he had been better off on the end of the wall or on a post, making it a bit harder for Fernandes to score, as he did?
In the example from the first half, Gini Wijnaldum did his stint for a Pogba free kick:
Cowed, Pogba blasted his ball directly into the netting behind the goal which protects the valuable motivational slogans draped over the seats.
There is an obvious explanation for this ploy. Defending teams want to take away the option of low free kicks, struck beneath a jumping wall.
Liverpool and other teams seem particularly concerned about Bruno Fernandes doing this. Wijnaldum did the honours previously in last weekend's 0-0 at Anfield:
Fernandes curled his free kick marginally wide. Job done.
Fulham gave the job to Harrison Reed when Fernandes took a free kick at Craven Cottage:
Full marks to Reed for his version of the Titanic 'draw me like one of your French girls' moment. Again, clearly unnerved, perhaps because he hadn't brought his watercolours, Fernandes skied his free kick well over.
The midfielder has tried shots from free kicks this season against Liverpool, Fulham, Man City, RB Leipzig, Everton, West Brom, Istanbul Basaksehir, Crystal Palace and against Croatia in the Nations League for his country. Every time he has gone around or above the wall, whether or not someone is hiding behind it.
Fernandes hasn't tried a below the wall free kick since Norwich away on 27 June last season, which brings us to the case of the curious disappearing defender.
Norwich take their positions:
Sensing danger, the Norwich man to the right makes his move before Fernandes's attempted low shot, but where has he gone?
Can you spot him? Try now:
Clearly he'd been briefed to watch out for Fernandes' trying a cheeky a free kick, clearly he'd remembered this just in time and he pulled off a nifty slide to hit the deck behind the wall. In any case, Fernandes's shot hit a jumping defender's boot.
Fernandes, it turns out, isn't all that good at these grounded free kicks. He hasn't scored from one in his career. It seems perverse that teams are so worried about their threat that they're sacrificing a marker or wall-brick to put him off.
So why do teams continue to defend him in this way? Counter-intuitively, it's because Fernandes is so good at higher free kicks. In the rock-scissor papers of set pieces, walls facing Fernandes know they have to jump to reduce his chance of getting up and over and into the net.
Putting a player on the ground is an insurance policy against a Fernandes bluff. Everyone expects him to curl or blast his free kicks, making the surprise low option a particular worry.
Sometimes he's just too good to stop. Alisson perhaps could have done better with Sunday's, but Milner's crouching role could be read as a mark of respect.
The players who have pulled off the below-wall trick several times are of the highest quality. Kevin de Bruyne, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo have all made it work and as if often the case with exciting moments in football, Lionel Messi is responsible for about half of them:
Equally, though, football loves a craze. Patrick Vieira smeared Vaporub over his shirt and most of his Arsenal team-mates followed suit. We're not far removed from the great snood invasion. We're still in the era of mouth covering to sidestep the absolute scourge of lip reading, and if you're struggling to remember a moment when a footballer got into trouble after some lip-reading you are not alone.
The lying-down wall insurance could be football's latest fad. There will be an analytics employee with very valid numbers pointing to why it makes sense, but given the rarity of the below-wall free kick goal the strategy fails the eye test. Especially in cases like Sunday, when Milner did little more than watch the ball fly in from a slightly lower angle than usual.