Liverpool thrashed Stoke City 4-1 at Anfield with goals from Origi, Sturridge and Moreno ensuring a comfortable evening for the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp made seven changes to the lineup that featured against Dortmund, with return leg against the German side his main priority. He gave Premier League debuts to Ojo and Stewart. It was an interesting shape with which Klopp went and there was loads of flexibility in that shape especially the forward line.
We will analyse through the tactics board as to how Liverpool’s shape was flexible and why Daniel Sturridge was immense in this game :-
As we see in the image above, it was more like a 4-2-3-1 with Ojo slipping in the right, Milner ever-moving in the midfield, taking different positions just to make him unmarkable in certain situations, left wing was more or less empty and Moreno was given the license to run in that half space whenever possible and press the opposition in wide areas with the help of Allen who was also immense in this game with his work rate.
The movements of Sturridge and Firmino were critical in this game, they knew they were up against a side who likes to play from back with short passing game and then a sudden long ball to catch the opposition out, what Sturridge did was he always engaged himself in those space in between the centre-halves and not allowed any free roaming space for them to pass the ball easily, he was very flexible in his movements, he peeled away to the right hand side helping out Ojo in possession, sometimes he dropped centrally to link up play with likes of Stewart and Milner, all in all it was a hard-working performance from the England striker who is starting to show his quality again and fitness seems to keep improving for him.
In the second half, Klopp made a change by bringing in Origi for Ojo which further changed the shape a bit which dragged the Stoke back-line all over the place :-
Origi’s movements were phenomenal too once he was introduced on the pitch, the way he moved sideways to create the space for likes of Sturridge, Firmino/Lallana was admirable, he helped himself brilliantly with two good goals, his pace and speed was always a cause of concern for the Stoke back-line.
Joe Allen’s on and off the ball performance was something to admire too, he hogged the left hand side of midfield, he pressed certain areas of the pitch and always ran forward centrally to allow Moreno to run on that left channel with freedom. He helped out the left back whenever necessary but mainly took up central positions to be there with young Stewart.
All in all it was a surprisingly fabulous performance from a new-look Liverpool. Klopp made as many as seven changes to the starting lineup and for the start it looked like they were playing for the first time together but it didn’t took much long for them to gel and play some delightful football with movements of assurance in and around the Stoke box. Klopp was himself a bit surprised that this side won the game so easily.
A return home leg in Europe against mighty Dortmund awaits now for the German and he rested few players for this game and got a good result too which will certainly please him and the Liverpool well-wishers.
By Mizgan on 11th April, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans