Τετάρτη, 20 Απριλίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Bournemouth - Liverpool 1-2/Premier League/17-4-2016

Jurgen Klopp made 10 (!) changes to the side, which made that huge comeback against Dortmund on Thursday, including a lot of youngsters into the line up, one of them being Danny Ward who made his Premier League debut with Liverpool. Despite all those changes, the brilliance of Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino was enough for Liverpool to win easier than the final 1-2 score might seem. 

Roberto Firmino works as a false nine
 When most of Liverpool’s attackers were on the sidelines, Roberto Firmino was taking their place showing with goals what an excellent goal instinct he has. In this image all of Bournemouth’s defense attention is on Sturridge and Ibe. Firmino watches the empty space into the box and runs to get there. Eventually this movement sees him getting the rebound from Sturridge’s strong backheel which was saved by Artur Boruc.

 Sturridge's brilliance
 Sturridge is through on goal, however there are two Bournemouth players catching up with him. Having Ojo way behind him and Origi also marked, the Englishman has limited options either to go through either to produce some great skill and break some ankles as he does. This proves why Sturridge is vital for Liverpool; no matter how marked he is he can create something from nothing.

Gegenpressing at its best
Allen, becoming slowly but surely a cult hero at Anfield, presses high on the pitch winning eventually the ball. The moment he gets it, Sturridge and Firmino are making runs. The Welshman passes to Sturridge, who is through on goal and chips the ball over Boruc just to see it hitting the post. This is another example of gegenpressing, Klopp’s method of winning the ball shortly after losing it, and counter attacking immediately.

No matter the defence, set pieces are a threat

Kolo Toure and Lucas Leiva were deployed as centre backs while Randall and Smith were on the flanks. This whole new defense showed exactly the same inefficiencies when it came to set pieces. Six Bournemouth players are inside the box when the ball is delivered. No1 is all alone in the far post, while no 6 is standing with two Liverpool players marking him despite not posing any threat whatsoever. In addition one Bournemouth player is outside the box waiting for a poor clearance without anyone’s attention on him.

Σάββατο, 16 Απριλίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Liverpool - Borussia Dortmund 4-3/Europa League/14-4-2016

Liverpool produced one of the biggest come backs in European history, as they managed to get through to the Europa League semi-finals, despite them being down twice by two goals and having to score three in order to progress to the next round. Klopp made some very important mistakes, leaving Allen out of the starting line up, thus Can had to keep the midfield all by himself. When the Welshman was introduced along with Sturridge they changed the outcome of the tie.

Liverpool is slow to recover
Coutinho makes a poor pass for Moreno and Dortmund are counter attacking tremendously well. Five Dortmund players are on the run, while on the same time just four Liverpool players are left to defend. Quite annoying is the fact that three Liverpool attackers can be seen walking instead of trying to recover. 

Sakho's indecisiveness
I mentioned that Can was left alone in the midfield and here are the consequences of this strange decision by Klopp. The German midfielder is too far away from blocking that ball going through to Aubameyang, who is quick as a flash. However, Sakho is too slow to decide whether he will mark closely the attacker or whether he is going to keep a defensive line with Lovren. In the end, he is too slow, obviously, to catch Aubameyang, who scores Dortmund’s second goal on the night.

Reus gets behind Clyne
 Again Sakho is not in a good spot. Clyne who marks Reus knows that the German winger is in an offside position; at least he thinks so as Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno keep the same line with the right back. However, Sakho, marking Aubameyang isn’t aware of Reus’s run behind Clyne. Hence, he keeps him onside and Marco Reus takes advantage of this situation with a beautiful finesse shot in the down right corner.

Liverpool attack with style
 Liverpool managed to score a very important goal just in the second minute of the second half with the man in form - Divock Origi. Following some beautiful passes in the midfield three Liverpool players make runs and give options for a possible pass. Eventually the ball comes to the Belgian, who finishes calmly.
Reus comes behind the defence
Liverpool work smartly
 These two pictures show a free kick from exactly the same place. The first resulted in Lovren skying it into the Kop, while the second one ended up with the Croatian scoring the goal that ultimately gave Liverpool the ticket to the next phase. In the first picture Milner crossed directly into the box, while on the second he passed to Sturridge getting more closely to the box bringing more pressure around the Dortmund defense.

Δευτέρα, 11 Απριλίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Liverpool - Stoke City 4-1/Premier League/11-4-2016

Despite Klopp making seven changes to the line up which faced up Dortmund on Thursday, Liverpool were able to overcome the obstacle of Stoke City. As usual, Stoke approached the game defensively, trying to exploit Crouch’s power in the air as well as the strong wind around the Merseyside area. Although Liverpool did well to break the opposition’s strong defense down, it wasn’t the same case for set pieces and corners

Set piece problems continue
 Liverpool gave away their lead, which came from a splendid strike from Alberto Moreno, after a header by Bojan Krkic. As the ball is delivered inside the box, Kolo Toure is marking no one while on the same time he keeps every Stoke player onside. Bojan takes advantage of the Ivorian’s poor positioning and gets behind Ojo, who should mark the striker closely.

Toure defends poorly

Again, coming from a set piece, Cameron had a huge chance to get Stoke back in the game, only to watch Simon Mignolet denying him with a wonderful save. Kolo Toure starts the run too soon to keep the dangerous Peter Crouch away from the ball, but he doesn’t realize that he keeps onside two Stoke players, who are behind the Liverpool defense. 

Liverpool stretch the opposition apart
In order to break up Stoke’s defense, the Liverpool full backs are high on the pitch stretching Mark Hughes side. Ojo and Sturridge sit between the lines, waiting for the chance to get inside the box, as Firmino waits for the ball just behind those two. In addition, since Milner and Stewart rest behind, Allen finds the opportunity to get higher on the pitch giving options to Toure. 

 Ojo makes wonders, Sturridge scores
 This image shows exactly the same example of how Liverpool attacked Stoke’s defense. Stewart and Milner stay behind aware of a possible counter attack. Moreno and Clyne are high on the pitch, with the Spaniard giving options to Ojo who works this time as a winger. Sturridge makes the run into the box and Allen is ready to copy the striker’s move. Finally, Firmino, in his no.10 role always behind Sturridge and Ojo, gives choices to the young Englishman, who ends up assisting his partner after getting away from Shaqiri with an out-of-this-world move.

 Tight space, yet nice play
 Every Stoke player, apart from Crouch, is defending creating a very tight space for Liverpool to play with the ball. However, the Reds find a way to overcome this wall of Stoke players with Firmino shooting on target, following some great passing by his teammates as it is seen in this image.

Σάββατο, 9 Απριλίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund - Liverpool 1-1/Europa League/7-4-2016

With Liverpool and Dortmund fans singing together “You’ll never walk alone” the stage was set for what it was a really important game. Dortmund missed a plentiful of chances; however, Liverpool had the most important ones. Divock Origi put the Reds ahead, getting in behind the Dortmund defence. However Hummels was the one to even things up just two minutes after the blow was whistled for the start of the second half. The final score means nothing is decided yet between the two teams. Liverpool defended dynamically keeping quiet both Reus and Aubameyang. However some mistakes need to be highlighted to show that our defense is far away from becoming a defensive force whatsoever. 

Lovren and Sakho miscommunicate
 Early in the game, Weigl sees the run of Shmelzer behind the Liverpool defence and passes to him beautifully. The problem for Liverpool is the miscommunication between Sakho and Lovren. The Frenchman has stepped out unreasonably while his partner is sitting too deep resulting in keeping both Shmelzer and Durm onside. However the pair made up for their mistake blocking both shots which came after Shmelzer’s run.

Lovren is aware of Aubameyang
 The dangerous Aubameyang was silent throughout the game and this image proves why. Mkhitaryan makes a beautiful through pass for the striker but Dejan Lovren has followed the Dortmund attacker’s run, hence he makes a very important tackle in difficult circumstances, giving away only a corner.

Set pieces are still a problem
 This is yet another example of how poorly Liverpool defend set pieces. There are just four Dortmund players inside the box, while on the same time there are seven Liverpool players who keep a zone. However, there is no player in the far post where ultimately Hummel’s header ended up. But what is more concerning is the fact that Dortmund’s skipper, despite being by far the most dangerous player at set pieces, is left alone, with Lallana having to deal with him in the end without, obviously, ineffectively.

Liverpool counter attack dynamically
Liverpool had a huge chance to score a second goal shortly after Hummel’s levelled things up, but despite all their effort Weidenfeller produced a world class save. In this image four Liverpool players wait for the ball, while being totally unmarked, as Dortmund is slow to recover from the counter attack. Although, the defense waits for Allen to shoot, the Welshman does well to notice that his teammates wait on the edge of the box, thus he passes creating the chance. 

Κυριακή, 3 Απριλίου 2016

Tactical analysis: Liverpool - Tottenham 1-1/Premier League/2-4-2016

Liverpool drew 1-1 with in-form Tottenham, who is currently sitting in the second place at the Premier league table. An enjoyable game ended level after two beautiful finishes from Coutinho and Kane. Both teams had a lot of chances to win the game, however, the draw seems like a fair result for the performance which the two teams put in. Now let’s make some points about this Liverpool game.

Klopp’s gegen-pressing put into practice 
 As Tottenham has possession in its half, seven Liverpool players are there in order to press. Dier, who has the ball, is put under pressure by Lallana and Can and loses it in a very risky place. Worth mentioning is Sturridge’s position, as the Englishman waits unmarked for the ball to be stolen in order to run into the empty space behind the Tottenham defence.

Sakho’s shambolic error
Mamadou Sakho showed again his inconsistency and this image proves why. While he is very far away from his defensive partner, Lovren, he tries to win the ball. As he fails miserably to do so, there are four Tottenham players ready to strive counter attacking. Mistakes like that should be punished but, luckily for Liverpool, Dejan Lovren defended the situation exceptionally well.

Sturridge misses a sitter
Daniel Sturridge could put Liverpool ahead in the 35th minute but he fails to do so, as  he fires straight at Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The Liverpool no.15 doesn’t hold to the ball long enough even though neither Lloris comes out nor any Tottenham defender comes to mark him. Lallana is also there to give Sturridge an option to pass but the latter doesn’t notice him.

Moreno caught sleeping

This is another moment to emphasize how poor Moreno can be defensive wise. As the ball comes in, Son makes the run immediately as the Spaniard doesn’t notice him. At the same time Sakho and Lovren aren’t keeping the same defensive line, thus the Croatian keeps onside both Son and Kane.