In a groundbreaking collaboration, Google’s DeepMind has developed a prototype AI football tactician in partnership with Liverpool FC. This represents the latest push to harness AI technology in mastering the dynamic world of high-stakes sports.

The AI coach, dubbed TacticAI, demonstrated its prowess by suggesting improvements to player positioning during corner kicks. These recommendations, aimed at maximizing goal-scoring opportunities, garnered approval from human experts at Liverpool, according to a paper published in Nature Communications.

DeepMind, known for its algorithms that cracked complex games like Go, believes patterns on sports fields offer valuable lessons. These insights can guide AI applications in robotics, traffic coordination, and beyond.

On the pitch, TacticAI reflects both the possibilities and limitations of efforts to gain a competitive edge through AI-driven analysis. The technology promises benefits in planning for set-piece situations with predictable starting points like corners. However, the broader challenge lies in applying it to the rich variability of open play.

“Football is a very dynamic game with unobserved factors influencing outcomes,” said Petar Veličković, DeepMind researcher and co-author. “It’s a really challenging problem from an AI perspective.”

The project is the product of three years of collaboration between DeepMind and Liverpool. It involved deploying AI for tasks like penalty kick analysis and player movement prediction.

Specifically, TacticAI utilized geometric deep learning on 7,176 Premier League corner kicks from 2020-2023. Corner kicks account for about 30% of goals, representing a significant opportunity.

The AI analyzed outcomes based on player configurations, criteria like shot attempts, and ball recipients. It then suggested positional adjustments which were evaluated by Liverpool experts, including data scientists, analysts, and coaching staff.

Remarkably, the experts could not distinguish AI-generated scenarios from actual matches. Moreover, they favored TacticAI’s advice 90% of the time over existing strategies, deeming it “useful, realistic and accurate.”


While Liverpool’s implementation remains unclear, the collaboration showcases AI’s potential to revolutionize football strategy and coaching approaches. As capabilities grow, projects like TacticAI offer glimpses into AI’s evolving role across sports.