Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2023 Man City v Liverpool (Mis-hit Clearance)

In this football language podcast we look back at some of the language from the big game from the Premier League last weekend: Manchester City versus Liverpool using the Guardian newspaper match report. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

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Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2023 Man City v Liverpool (Mis-hit Clearance)

DF: Hi Damon and hello to all the listeners. Hope we are all well and enjoying the return to domestic football after the international break. Yes, I am in a rather cold but bright London – perfect conditions for watching and playing football! Indeed, straight after playing five-a-side on Saturday morning I got home to watch the City-Liverpool match with anticipation but thought it was a little flat, especially the atmosphere which was maybe due to the early kick-off time (12:30 in the UK). What did you think of the game Damon?

DB: Hi there Damian. Playing five-a-side in a bright and sunny London sounds a great way to start the day. Tokyo too is chilly but with sunshine. Nice weather! As for the Man City versus Liverpool game, I agree that it was not as exciting as many people had thought it would be. The early kick off never helps, but I also thought both teams showed each other a lot of respect, so it was quite a tactical game. I think both teams were happy with the point, so weren’t prepared to go for it. Although Man City fans will probably feel they did enough to win, especially with a goal ruled out for a foul on Alisson. As a Liverpool fan, I was relieved to get to the final whistle at 1-1, and was pretty pleased with how we played overall.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Korean).

Key Words

DB: Yes, you are listening to Languagecaster.com and that message was in Korean. Right, let’s take a look at some of the language used to describe the Manchester City vs Liverpool game from the Guardian newspaper report. And in particular, we will be looking at some of the language to describe the Liverpool goalkeeper, Alisson’s performance. But before we take a look at them, here are some of the words and phrases that you will hear:

  1. Set up a counter attack: To start a quick attack that tries to catch out the opposition.
  2. Hit the ball cleanly: This means to strike or kick the ball well
  3. Mis-hit pass: A pass that is not hit cleanly, the ball is not hit well and so goes in a different direction that the player wants it to go.
  4. Infringement: When the laws of the game are ‘broken’; an example would be a handball or a foul.
  5. Contentious: A controversial decision
  6. [The goal] would not stand: This means that the goal was disallowed

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (from Vietnamese fans)

DB: Thanks for that message, which was in Vietnamese. Now, let’s turn to the Guardian report and the first part of it. Here’s the quote: ‘It was a mis-hit Alisson clearance that led to the City goal…’ And here’s Damian to explain the language.

Mis-hit clearance; Lead to a goal


It was a mis-hit Alisson clearance that led to the City goal… (Guardian.co.uk, November 26 2023)
DF: The Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson tried to set up a counter attack by kicking the ball long to his team mate Mo Salah who was already running into the Manchester City half. Unfortunately for the Liverpool keeper he didn’t hit the ball well (or cleanly) and it went up into the air rather than reaching Salah. We can say that he mis-hit the ball or mis-hit the pass or as in the report, he mis-hit the clearance.

City won back the ball from this mis-hit and eventually scored the opening goal of the game. So, we can say that Alisson’s clearance led to this goal – because of his mis-hit pass City were able to attack and then score. It caused (or allowed) City to quickly attack the Liverpool defence and create a chance to score.

Ruled; Tapped home and Soft decision

Embed from Getty Images

[the referee] contentiously ruled that Manuel Akanji had fouled Alisson at a 68th-minute corner before Rúben Dias tapped home. It was a soft decision. (Guardian.co.uk, November 26 2023)
DF: Here’s the second section from the Guardian newspaper which looks at the phrases, ‘ruled’; ‘tapped home‘ and ‘soft decision‘.

So, this is how the Guardian reported on the disallowed goal – remember that this is when the referee says, decides or rules that the goal does not count because of a foul or another infringement. The referee made the decision to not allow the goal; so he ruled that the goal would not be allowed; that it would not stand. The newspaper has added the adverb ‘contentiously‘ to suggest that the decision was not agreed on by everyone. A contentious decision by a referee is a controversial decision.

The next part of the sentence explains how the Manchester City player Dias scored the goal – he ‘tapped home‘ the ball which means he gently hit the ball into the net from a very close distance (‘home’ of course here means the net or goal and we use it to describe scoring a goal). The next sentence is a short one and gives the opinion of the writer – ‘it was a soft decision‘ which means that the reason to disallow the goal was not totally clear and that many felt it should have been allowed. Another way of saying this is that it should have stood; the goal should have stood.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Japanese)


DB: Brilliant stuff, Damian. Now, don’t forget that you can find out more about some of the words and phrases that we have already discussed, along with hundreds more football-language expressions by coming along to our football-language glossary here at Languagecaster.com.


Football Language Glossary

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (a Besiktas fan).


DF: OK, if you have any questions or comments about any of the words and phrases from today or indeed any other football language then drop us an email at admin@languagecaster.com and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram, while we are also now posting some material on our new YouTube page. Come along and say hello. We also have a football-language forum where you can ask and answer any questions you have on the language of football. Take a look at some of the posts there, do some of the quizzes, add a comment or a question or simply say hello.

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DB: And of course, don’t forget to subscribe to our football-language podcasts. We posted a podcast that looked at some language from the recent international break and which also looked at the phrase, ‘rattle the crossbar‘. You can access all of our other football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them stretching back to October 2006 – by coming along to our site here at Languagecaster.com.

Learning English Through Football Podcast

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (an Arsenal fan).


DB: Yes, you are listening to Languagecaster and that message was from a Arsenal football fan. Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast with lots of vocabulary support. If you look at the posts on our site you can see that we explain lots of the meanings of these words in the transcript, so come along and have a look!

DF: OK, that’s it for this podcast in which we looked back at some of the language from the recent top-of-the-table clash between Manchester City and Liverpool and in particular we looked at some of the following phrases, ‘mis-hit clearance‘ and ‘soft decision‘. Let us know if you hear these phrases – in any language – over the next week.

DB: Enjoy all the football and we’ll be back soon with some more football language. Ta-ra!

DF: Bye!

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at languagecaster.com.

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