It was a dismal first half United performance at Anfield and Van Gaal made some expected changes at the interval to intervene the dominance of the home side.
Come the half-time, he made an emergency safe change by bringing Carrick on for young Rashford who struggled to play in that right wing area. This allowed United to dominate the ball in wide areas.
We will analyse today as to how United started their second half better but subtle change from Klopp in the hour mark ensured that Liverpool were on top for whole of the game.
Let’s take the help of tactics board and analyse both the situations :-
At the start of second half, a change was made by Van Gaal featuring a back five with Carrick in between the two centre-backs Smalling and Rojo; Blind and Varela were given bit of more freedom as wing backs and the idea was to exploit the narrow nature of Liverpool pressing. It turned out to be good decision to start with, Liverpool were pressing the spaces in tight areas but their narrow shape allowed United to play wider. Carrick picking up the ball in between the centre-backs and fetching it to one of the wing-backs with good amount of room to work with.
Come the hour mark, Klopp made a change by bringing Allen on for Sturridge, this meant Firmino as false 9 in a 4-3-3 system.
As we see the image above, the change in system allowed Liverpool to press in bulk. Lallana, Firmino and Coutinho pressed the three centre-backs, an additional midfielder means Henderson and Allen were able to press wing-backs Blind and Varela; Can controlling things in the centre. The drop off striker Firmino again picked up some useful positions in and around the United box. Coutinho pressed the centre-back and tried to find that hole between a centre-back and wing-back. This resulted in less forward movements for Varela from that right wing-back position. This system also allowed Henderson and Allen to be free in both the flanks, press higher up the pitch and retain possession with less distance to cover for the goal.
This change in system from Klopp proved to be a master-stroke. The way he responded to the change Van Gaal made at half-time was commendable. The German took 15 mins to read that and made a decisive change.
By Mizgan on 11th March, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans