Everyone loves Liverpool’s fourth goal against Barcelona.
The ball went out for a corner, Trent Alexander-Arnold carefully placed it then walked away.
Then he turned, ran back and crossed it.
And, while Barcelona were standing still, Divock Origi ran in and scored for Liverpool.
Liverpool came back from 3-0 down in the first game, to win the second game 4-0.
They knocked out the best team in the world and they’re going to the European Cup Final.
That’s why everyone loves that cheeky goal.
But it wasn’t just the result of an instinctively taken half-chance.
It was the result of careful preparation.
Before that match, Liverpool had their analysts look for weaknesses in Barcelona.
It’s very tough to find weaknesses in the best team in the world.
But one thing they did notice was they argued about every decision that went against them.
These were the best players in the world and their egos told them they were right so the referee must be wrong.
Besides which, if a referee doesn’t quite see the foul, you can often get him to give the decision your way.
So, it seemed to be worth arguing over every decision.
But the Liverpool analysts had noticed it and told Jurgen Klopp it could be a weakness: while they were arguing they weren’t concentrating.
So Klopp talked to Carl Lancaster, the head of the coaching academy.
The boys at the academy are also the ballboys for Liverpool’s games.
Lancaster showed them videos of Barcelona arguing after the ball had gone out of play.
He made the ballboys realise that if they could get the ball back really fast, Barcelona wouldn’t be ready for it.
So the ballboys worked on that all week.
It seems a tiny thing, but delivering the ball fast was what lead to Liverpool’s fourth goal.
The ballboy was 14 year-old Oakley Cannonier.
He was prepared so, when the ball went out for a corner, he didn’t even have to run and get it, he had a spare ball ready.
He instantly rolled it to Alexander-Arnold while Barcelona were arguing.
Alexander-Arnold placed it and walked away, as if leaving it for someone else.
He casually looked up to see where Origi was, then turned and kicked the ball over the heads of all the still arguing Barcelona players.
Because they were arguing, their defence was completely out of position.
Before they finished arguing, the ball was in their net, Liverpool were 4-0 up, and Barcelona were out of the European Cup.
All because of attention to detail and thorough planning.
All down to looking for an opportunity where no one else was looking.
Spotting something no one else had spotted.
That’s what competition is, that’s what advertising is at its best.
As Schopenhauer said “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”
That’s what creative thinking is, creating an unfair advantage.
Bill Bernbach spotted it before anyone else, that’s why he said:
“It may well be that creativity is the last unfair advantage we’re legally allowed to take over the competition.”
In other words, if you can’t outplay them, out think them.