Divock Origi’s first half goal and solid defensive performance from Liverpool at Dortmund meant that it’s advantage for the Reds come next Thursday at Anfield.
Klopp made one surprising and horses for courses change by bringing Origi in for Sturridge. The idea behind it was pace and physicality which Origi offers more than Sturridge, the Belgian was a handful in truth for Hummels and Bender to deal, his direct running and pace in behind was a big problem for the centre-backs.
It was a 4-2-3-1 shape with Lallana on the right, Coutinho on the left. Can and Henderson in the middle of the park to deny the supply lines of Dortmund.
We’ll analyse as to how Origi caused problems by running the channels and how Liverpool’s midfield and defence got their act together against a mighty Dortmund side :-
Firstly, we’ll take a look at Origi’s movements – Liverpool defended deep and allowed Dortmund possession in their own half without real pressure, but when it comes to playing on the counter, Origi was always present in either flank and occupying one centre-back. Whenever the ball is cleared, Origi is there with either of Hummels or Bender and caused problems for them by being quick and showing physical presence. The Belgian held up the ball very nicely to allow players like Coutinho, Lallana or Milner to run beyond him and create the opening. Some hopeful clearances were also held and manipulated expertly by the 20-year old forward. The goal he scored was just an example of how close he stations himself in between the centre-backs, he got the flick on from Milner and he was there running at the last line of defence and scoring nicely. All in all a great decision by Klopp to start with the young Belgian, another decision turned into a master-stroke.
Now let’s take a look at the defensive shape and how it stopped Dortmund’s front-line to have any rhythm going forward :- Lallana and Coutinho tracked back and helped their fullbacks very efficiently, not allowing any free space or time on the ball for the hosts. The midfield squeezed any space between the last line and the midfield line, which meant no easy supply for the likes of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan from deep midfield areas. The key for Liverpool today was tight-space in between the lines defending and not allowing players to run in behind and beyond the last line which made it utterly difficult for the hosts to turn their sideways possession into something substantial.
A very compact, tight defensive performance from Liverpool overall and it has setup a good base for them come the second leg at Anfield in 6 days time. Klopp should be given loads of credit firstly in having faith in young Origi and secondly in setting up this Liverpool side with solidity and sureness at the back. 1-1 away from home should be an advantage for any side and more of the same is required as far as the Reds are concerned.
For Dortmund it’s about getting their act together which was not at all in good order against a well-drilled Liverpool defence, likes of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan need to get more involved in the game, some players have to make selfless in behind runs if they have break this defence come the second leg.
By Mizgan on 8th April, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans