Football Language Podcast: May 2020 – Laying down a marker

Laying down a markerEnglish Through Football Podcast: May 2020 – Laying down a marker: On this week’s podcast, we spotlight another Liverpool match from the 2019-20 season. With the season in doubt and with Liverpool 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League, Damon picks one of his team’s key matches. Damian and Damon discuss why it was a key match and some of the football language used to talk about it. Listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below – you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts – there are hundreds! You can improve your English by reading the transcript as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make several listening and/or reading activities for your learners. If you have questions or comments, email us at: (Damian=DF Damon=DB).

Learn English Through Football Podcast: May 2020 – Laying down a marker


Football Language Podcast: April 2020
Recording the podcast

DB: Hi there listeners and welcome to the Learn English Through Football Podcast. We hope you are well and not too affected by the COVID-19 health concerns. My name is Damon, and I’m based in Tokyo, and I’ll be talking to Damian in a moment, and he has been busy this week continuing Languageacaster’s look at great World Cup games, as well as introducing some more football language to our massive online glossary of terms at our site at Damian, first of all, how are you and tell us a bit more about the posts and podcasts you’ve been working on this week.

DF: Hello Damon, hope you are well. And hello to all our listeners – yes, we hope you are all doing well during this tough time. I’m in a very stormy London – you might be able to hear the wind in the background during this recording – and of course still under lockdown.

Now, I know that there has been no football for a long time – the last game in the Premier League was way back on March the 9th – but there has been quite a lot of talk about the possible return of football. The K-League, that’s the Korean League, has just re-started and such is the demand and the desire to watch live football, that the BBC here in the UK are showing some games. The Bundesliga in Germany will return next week and a lot of people will be watching not just the games – even though they will take place behind closed doors – but also how the matches are organised.

DB: Yes, that’s a big move by German football and we’ll see just how successful it is, and already one second-tier team, Dynamo Dresden, has had to pull out of the first match because two players tested positive for COVID-19.

DF: Now Damon, you mentioned the World Cup podcasts that we have been posting over the past few weeks and we have just published another one on Friday when we featured the Netherlands versus West Germany from the 1990 World Cup – Italia 90. It really was a great game that typified the strong rivalry between the two sides – red cards, penalties, great goals, near misses and of course controversy – while we also look back at some of the other highlights from that tournament in the podcast.

DB: Great stuff! The 1990 World Cup – it broke my heart watching England fall against West Germany, but I really enjoyed the games, which I mostly saw in a pub in south London with a flatmate – good times.  

DF: I was living in Spain at the time but took a train to northern Italy where I met my brother and we watched lots of games in bars and cafes in Genoa, Milan, Turin and we even went down to Rome – some great stories indeed. One other thing, we have collected all our World Cup posts together on one page here on our site so you will now be able to access podcasts on previous World Cups, World Cup stars as well as lots of World Cup quizzes

Stinger: You are listening to (in Hungarian)

Embed from Getty Images

DF: Now Damon you recently published a post on one of Liverpool’s games this season and focused on the phrase – a hard-fought victory – and so today let’s turn to another key match that you have chosen from the 2019-20 season, I’m still thinking of one for my team Tottenham! You chose Liverpool away at Leicester, so another one where Liverpool were on the road.

DB: Yes, that’s right. Last time I picked Aston Villa against Liverpool, with Villa on home turf, and this is another away game – like you said, a team that plays away can be described as being on the road, travelling to the away game.

DF: And why did you pick this match? Was it the 4-0 win?

DB: Well, yes, but the context was also key. Liverpool were away at Leicester, who have a great record at their home stadium, the King Power Stadium. Before this game, they were undefeated at home. Also, the match took place on Boxing Day, traditionally a massive day for football fans. I expected Liverpool to really face a stern test in this game. Manchester City had beaten Leicester a few days before, and if Liverpool lost it would give Leicester, in second place, and Manchester (City) in third some hope that Liverpool could be caught.

DF: Yes, it’s worth remembering The Reds were already 11 points ahead of second place Leicester when they met. You mentioned the phrase, ‘stern test‘, this mean a tough challenge, right? A match that will be hard to win?

DB: Yes, and we can also say that Leicester would give Liverpool a game, or give them a real game – give them a game means give them a big challenge, be tough opponents.

DF: But Liverpool won 4-0, which means they thrashed Leicester. They put four goals past them and kept a clean sheet.

DB: Yes, they put in their best display; ‘put in’ collocates with performance, display, to mean ‘give’. And you’re right, they thrashed, easily beat, Leicester, and Liverpool’s defence kept a clean sheet, stopped Leicester from scoring. And this is why I chose this game, as it really laid down a marker.

DF: It certainly did! They went 14 points clear on Boxing Day – that’s the 26th of December. Their win showed Manchester City and Leicester that they would not be easily caught in the league, that they were serious contenders to win it. This win laid down a marker. Which was your favorite goal?

DB: Well, I was watching the highlights again and Liverpool were absolutely all over Leicester in this game; they made chance after chance after chance, but it was only 1-0 at half time – a Firmino header. The goal I enjoyed the most was the last, Trent-Alexander Arnold’s low drive from the edge of the box. It was a quick break from Liverpool as Mané was given the ball on the half way line, and Trent, the right back was steaming up the right flank. Mané just shifted the ball into his path, and he hit it first time, low and accurately, into the far bottom corner. Glorious.

DF: It was a great goal. So, you said Liverpool were all over Leicester and that means were dominant, had lots of chances. If a match is all over, it means it is finished, but if a team is all over another team – it means they are dominating them, while if a team is all over the place it means they are in chaos… at sixes and sevens. And you described the shot as a low drive, so this means hit along the ground in a straight line. There was one more interesting phrase you used to describe Trent Alexander Arnold running…?

DB: Yes, if someone is running really far, ad really fast, usually in a straight line, with lots of power and intention, we can say they are ‘steaming up the pitch‘ – like a train, well, an old steam train!

And that is another of my key matches from Liverpool’s season – apologies for that as a Liverpool fan – and to talk about it we used the following phrases:

Stinger: You are listening to (in…)

Language Questions – ‘Dar bola’

DF: Great stuff. Now, talking about football phrases we had an email from Anthony asking about a Portuguese phrase ‘dar bola‘ which we have not featured on our show before. We wondered whether the term would be similar to the phrase ‘caress the ball‘ in English. Anthony mentioned players such as Quaresma and Riquelme who would be associated with this phrase – if any of our listeners know then drop us a line on our forum or by email.

DB: Interesting. When I hear the phrase ‘caress the ball’ it makes me think of another, have the ball under your spell. Very romantic!

Prefix Challenge

DF: One more thing, Damon. I have signed us up for a seven-day challenge with @CambridgeWords which is the Twitter handle of Cambridge Dictionary who wondered whether people can find examples of seven different words with seven different prefixes over the next seven days. A prefix is of course a word or a letter that comes before another word to give a new meaning, so for example, pre-season which means before the season starts. I accepted the challenge but added another layer of difficulty – only using football terms. I started off yesterday with the prefix -un and the term ‘unplayable‘. We could also have used ‘undefeated‘, ‘unbeaten‘ or maybe ‘unchanged‘.

Day 2 we are going with the prefix ‘over’ and we have gone with the phrase ‘to overturn a decision‘. Any more football words beginning with the prefix ‘un’ or ‘over’ or any other ideas for other prefixes this week then let us know on our forum.

patreonStinger: You are listening to (in…)

DB: Yes, and if you like what we do, and want access to more materials, then pop along to and leave a small donation or join as a supporter. For this post, we’ll have a listening quiz coming soon!

Good Bye

DF: Now, before we go, don’t forget that you can contact us here at languagecaster via our various social media platforms: that’s Facebook’s Learning English Through Football – we’d like to say hello to all those doing the quizzes on there; Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, where you can find information about lots of latest posts including explanations of a recent newspaper headline, as well as the phrases, ‘square ball‘ and ‘undefeated‘ which we featured this week on our site. We’ve also added more quizzes in our World Cup reviews. Come along to our forums and ask a question or simply drop us a line and say hello at Take care everyone – stay safe and we’ll see you soon. Bye bye.

DB: Ta-ra!

Subscribe to
Learn English Through Football

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below

Hosted by

I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show


Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

Contact Us

PodcastEpisode 624