Κυριακή, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2016

Tactical analysis: Liverpool - Leicester City 4-1/Premier League/10-9-2016

Liverpool returned to winning ways hosting the champions, Leicester City. The brand new main stand proved to be beneficial for the team as the noise the fans were making helped the players and the team spirit.

Defence: Although Leicester were unable to create anything from open play, Liverpool’s errors and shiftlessness to defend set pieces gave the Foxes hope. Despite this fact, Liverpool coped really well with breaking down the opposition’s play, hence not many times Mignolet was needed.

Attack: The Reds were able to convert most of their chances with 11 of 17 shots in total being on target. Quick, direct play made the team unstoppable in the final third of the field.


-Cutting through the lines

Leicester City tried to press high when Liverpool had the ball in defence giving no options in the middle for the defenders to pass. However, this gave the chance for Liverpool to be more direct and play the ball immediately to the attackers. In this instance, Lucas plays from behind a long pass to Firmino cutting through all the Leicester City lines, which press high on the pitch.

-Smart move by Sturridge

 Firmino opened the score in the 10th minute giving Liverpool the lead but credits must go to Sturridge as well. The Englishman made a very smart run taking on two Leicester City defenders and creating space between the two centre backs for Firmino to run into.

-Always ready for a counter attack

In the late stages, Leicester tried to take whatever they could from the game leaving spaces behind for a counter attack. Liverpool players know this and so, there are players running forward instantly after someone intercepts the ball even if he goes backwards. Such is the case here, where Mane starts running immediately after the ball is stolen. 


-Suicidal tactics

 It is common in modern football for the keepers to pass the ball to defenders after a goal kick instead of kicking it far away. Nevertheless, this isn’t a tactic which should be used blindly. There are four Liverpool players waiting for the pass and four Leicester City players ready to press. It’s suicidal to pass the ball to the defender who could be overwhelmed by the pressure and make an error such as the howler Lucas made.

-Matip steps out poorly

Matip has shown plenty signs of his abilities already providing hope that he might give an end to Liverpool’s defensive woes. However, in this case he makes a common mistake stepping out of the defensive line as the ball was intercepted in the middle of the field. His reaction is careless as he leaves a lot of space for a lethal player such as Vardy to move into.

Δευτέρα, 29 Αυγούστου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Tottenham - Liverpool 1-1/Premier League/27-8-2016

After that awful defeat last week against Burnley, Liverpool ended the first month of the Premier League with a draw at White Hart Lane. Many fans feel that Liverpool deserved the three points; They had plenty of chances, they had a (wrongly?) disallowed goal, they hit the bar and overall in many times they seemed like the best team. However, the end result is that once again Liverpool failed to maintain the lead which they got in the 43rd minute after James Milner converted the penalty Roberto Firmino earned. But let’s get into more details.


Milner being exposed

As Alberto Moreno has been nowhere near good enough for the first team, James Milner has stepped into his place as a left back. Although Milner is one of the more hard working players, he can’t learn that easily and quickly his new position. In this case after the ball is played behind his back, he doesn’t get close enough to Lamela giving the Argentinian many options. 

Counter attacking flaws

Many times counter attacking has proved beneficial but not this time. Liverpool try to get the ball up front quickly but they are doing this with too many players. Hence when Wijnaldum can’t get the ball through Wanyama there’s too much space and too many Tottenham players who haven’t managed to get back creating a very dangerous situation.


Geggenpressing mentality

 Last year we saw in a matter of cases geggenpressing in practice, the philosophy of Jurgen Klopp, trying to press high and get the ball immediately after losing it. This year it seems like it has been implemented well into the player’s brain and this is another proof of this. As Tottenham plays from behind, 4 Liverpool players are creating a line difficult to get through and when the mistake is made, two of them rush to take advantage of this. At the same time Firmino (no.5) is sitting high waiting to get the ball after it has been stolen.

Bossing the midfield

 Liverpool have the lead and they try to protect it. Divock Origi presses the Tottenham playmaker as 5 Liverpool players in the middle ensure that noone is getting between the lines. In fact, this type of defending needs someone or something special to get through it. And, unfortunately, that special was the ball played by Alderweireld, getting behind the whole Liverpool defence and ending up with the leveller.

Lallana nailing the new position

 We talked already about a player learning a new position. Another one, is Adam Lallana. The Englishman is proving how effective he can be in the middle of the pitch both attacking and defensive wise. His high work rate and exceptional control of the ball make him the perfect man for the job. In this situation he comes back to defend and blocks a shot by Dele Alli.

Δευτέρα, 15 Αυγούστου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal - Liverpool 3-4/Premier League/14-8-2016

Liverpool started the season with a very important win against Arsenal at Emirates. Those two have provided the fans some exceptional games over the last years with plenty of goals and this match was no exception. Despite going 1-0 down, Liverpool managed to get back into the game with a stunning free kick from Phelippe Coutinho. In the second half 3 quick goals by Lallana, Coutinho and Manè extended the lead to 1-4. However, Arsenal tried to level things up managing to reduce the difference just to one goal. Fortunately Liverpool was able to hold to their lead and get the tree valuable points.
Despite Liverpool showing some great attacking signs in periods of the second half, there was a lack of communication between the lines which was more evident when Arsenal pressed high. Hence it would be better to give more emphasis on the negative than the positive aspects of Liverpool’s game.

Problem on the flanks -

-Moreno woes defensively
 Alberto Moreno started the new season as he ended the last one, horrendously. Early into the game he intercepts a pass to Walcott with his head only to assist Ramsey. Trying to make up for his mistake he rushes erratically out of position and tackles the Welshman. In this example he got out on top but his lack of discipline was not only highlighted on the penalty which he gave away minutes later but also… 

…here. Moreno is the one to start the counter attack coping well with Walcott. After that his attacking mind makes him go forward, miles away from the player he should be aware of. Moreover, he is nowhere near the defensive line as he should; thus when Arsenal get the ball back, Moreno no matter how quick he is, he can’t catch the equally quick Walcott.

Statistics don’t lie. Moreno ended the game winning just 50% of his tackles and 62,5% of duels. Is it time for a new left back?

-Clyne steps out of position

Clyne was one of the most consistent players last season. However, in the second half and especially after the introduction of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain he lost his concentration at times. In this case, he steps out of position meaninglessly trying to intercept a pass to Cazorla leaving Chamberlain behind him ready to make the run as he is onside. 

Liverpool defend too deep -
As Arsenal attack mainly from the flanks the ball ends up to Santi Cazorla on the edge of the box. The space and the time which is given to him call for an easy try. The shot is made but the Spaniard doesn’t even hit the target. Regardless, at least one of Liverpool midfielders should step out to block his shot. Instead the only one to react quickly is Sadio Mane. 

Attacking trio cooperates well +
Liverpool presented some great pieces of play during the game and the second goal from Lallana emphasized that. Liverpool attacking trio –Coutinho, Firmino, Mane- exchanged a couple of passes wide on the pitch getting most of the Arsenal defense high in order to mark them. As a result, when the ball is played to Wijnaldum, Arsenal’s defense is all over the place with Lallana and Clyne making runs while totally unmarked.

Σάββατο, 13 Αυγούστου 2016

Premier League: The 2016-17 season starts

The 2016/17 Premier League season starts today with a plentiful of games. However Liverpool's season doesn't start until tomorrow when the Reds travel to Emirates in a clash with -hopefully- title rivals, Arsenal.

After a long time without any major game to comment on, the blog is back on track with tactical analysis on every Liverpool game. Stay tuned!

Δευτέρα, 16 Μαΐου 2016

Tactical Analysis: West Bromwich Albion - Liverpool 1-1/Premier League/15-5-2016

In the last game of the season Liverpool faced West Bromwich at Hawthorns. A fairly boring game finished level after Jordon Ibe’s solo goal cancelled West Brom’s lead taken with a beautiful strike by Salomon Rondon. Klopp’s men were woeful both attackingly and defensively wise, hence there is no attacking play worth analysis. The only positive sign was Cameron Brannagan in midfield. The final 8th place means that the only way European football will be played next year at Anfield is a win on Wednesday.

Smith's lack of attention
 The defense, consisted of Flanagan, Skrtel, Lucas and Smith was horrendous throughout the game. West Brom got in front, following a bad pass in the midfield. Skrtel is sitting too deep as Lucas isn’t aware of Rondon making the run behind him. In addition Brad Smith should mark Rondon or at least get quickly back. Only until the ball is delivered to Rondon, does the youngster sprint towards the attacker, showing a total lack of awareness.

Rondon unmarked
 Rondon created all type of problems for the Liverpool defense and should have scored in a number of occasions. In this instance, Brad Smith once again fails to defend on the flank forcing Lucas getting out of position. Skrtel shows once more that he isn’t able of adapting to the Klopp system as he stays too deep without on the same time marking someone closely. This situation finds Rondon alone in the edge of the box catching, at the end of the move, a header just wide.

Three players keeping everyone onside
 It gets kind of repetitive to mention the same thing every week out, but Liverpool players are unable to defend set pieces properly. As the ball is delivered, there are three Liverpool players on the same line with just one West Brom player. That means that every other West Brom attacker behind him is onside. Not only this, but the one West Brom player in front, Rondon eventually manages to fire a powerful header in the post showing the inconvenience of this Liverpool defense.

Ojo's lazyness
Sheyi Ojo has been excellent lately showing great ability when attacking. However he lacks awareness when defending set pieces being lazy marking his player. In this picture Salomon Rondon is in the heart of the Liverpool box all alone with Ojo nowhere near him. Moreover, when the West Brom attacker miscues his shot, Ojo stops running towards him, giving the striker time to unleash another effort on goal.

Πέμπτη, 12 Μαΐου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Liverpool - Chelsea 1-1/ Premier League/11-5-2016

Christian Benteke’s late equalizer secured Liverpool a point in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield. After some great chances in the first fifteen minutes, Liverpool didn’t show the desire to win the game, hence the rejuvenated Hazard found the opportunity to score a fantastic solo goal. Chelsea looked also dangerous while counter attacking, with Simon Mignolet making some outstanding saves. But, all this doesn’t matter as every Liverpool fan’s attention is on the Europa League final on Wednesday. 

Tactically correct, skillfully wrong
Hazard scored a wonderful solo goal to give Chelsea the lead taking on four Liverpool players. However it is interesting how bad Liverpool defended. Although Milner and Can are in good positions Can gives space to Hazard going in the other way. Moreover, Lovren, who again is in the right spot, as the Belgian is one on one with him doesn’t move towards him letting him have a free shot.

Opportunities are wasted frustratingly
 Liverpool were awful for the majority of the game until Klopp made his substitutions. However this situation was caused by the selfishness of a lot of players shooting from distance. In this case Sturridge has the ball in the edge of the box. Lallana is on the far post waiting for a cross, Milner asks for the ball unmarked, Firmino runs towards Sturridge to give him options and Coutinho is standing behind the Englishman alone. Disturbingly, Sturridge decides to shoot aimlessly causing frustration.

Substitutions change the game

 Klopp’s changes really helped the side to get back into the game. Joe Allen makes a superb cross into the box which eventually ends up to Ojo. The young Englishman gets behind Azpilicueta in the far post. At the same time, as Liverpool throw bodies into the box, with the presence of the physical Christian Benteke, Daniel Sturridge is unmarked, despite all the blue shirts around him.

Benteke's presence is useful
 Although Begovic gifted Liverpool the equalizer, was it a good cross from Ojo, it could have well ended up in the back of the net. Benteke again is inside the box providing danger for the Chelsea defenders while Sturridge is once again totally unmarked on the edge of the box waiting for a poor clearance or a pass from Ojo.

Τρίτη, 10 Μαΐου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Liverpool - Watford 2-0/Premier League/8-5-2016

Following another magical European night, Klopp rested, yet again, a lot of his star players in the premier league. That didn’t create problems for the Liverpool team, which overcame the obstacle of Watford by 2-0. Klopp’s focus is certainly the Europa League, thus young players will continue to play in the final two Premier League games. Benteke made a rare appearance on the starting line up, contributing to the first goal. 

Benteke poor positioning
 This image shows why Christian Benteke should play with a partner up front. Coutinho gets the ball inside the box, however there is noone inside the penalty area to notch the ball into the net. Benteke, as the main striker should be in the highlighted area. Instead he is behind every Watford defender leaving no options to Coutinho, who ends up shooting just wide.

Benteke plays behind the defense
 Liverpool caught the Watford defense sleeping, after a quickly executed foul. Christian Benteke plays behind the defense but is aware of it hence, before the ball is delivered to him, he gets onside. As he makes a simple header, the incoming Joe Allen finishes calmly, getting Liverpool in front.

 Lucas steps poorly out of the defense
 Watford could have pulled one back, wasn’t it for Mignolet denying Ighalo outstandingly. Lucas Leiva partnered Martin Skrtel in the defense although he is a defensive midfielder. This flaw is highlighted in this image. Lucas steps out of the defensive line to mark closely Troy Deeney, not realizing that he creates a huge gap between Skrtel and Moreno where Ighalo could run into.

Gegenpressing once more results in a goal 
This is yet another example of how effective is the way that Klopp wants his team to press. Although the ball is in Watford’s half, three Liverpool players move forward instead of going back. Ojo ends up intercepting the ball and Roberto Firmino takes advantage of this scoring a solo goal.