A young and fringed Liverpool were given a proper hammering by Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, scoreline 3-1 tells a bit of drenching afternoon for the Reds.
Klopp made as many as 8 changes to the lineup that featured against Villarreal on Thursday, with starts to four academy products and a chance for Danny Ward in goal.
The shape was pretty much a 4-2-3-1 with Chirivella and Stewart as two defensive midfielders; Ojo and Ibe in opposite flanks; Coutinho was playing as number 10 in behind Sturridge; the back four had two changes with Skrtel coming for Toure and Smith replacing Moreno in left back.
It was quite a surprise change by Klopp to start proceedings with two very inexperienced defensive midfielders.
We will now analyse as to how things went wrong for Klopp’s Liverpool with the help of the tactics board :-
If a team is playing with two holding midfielders, the two players either side of number 10 should be tucked in all the time and not dragged wider and wider with or without the ball.
The problem with two holding midfielders is that once they are caught in possession the fullbacks are out of the game as they are very high trying to make up the numbers in attack, so the wider areas are empty and centre-backs are in all sorts of trouble. This is exactly what Liverpool did today and were made to pay heavy dividends of it. The two young, raw midfielders were just not good enough.
This is where the problem starts, it’s not actually a manager’s fault, players should adapt to the situation and make decisions, rather the inexperience nature of players in that role showed up more today.
Both Stewart and Chirivella struggled a lot with possession, they were not passing it crisply and were just overplaying too much at times to be turned over by a Swansea player. The other problem for these two were the long distance between the forward line and them, they were deep for most of the time, Ibe and Ojo were holding their width wide, Coutinho was the only option forward or sometimes Sturridge if he drops deep, this is where the confusion starts, both young blokes waited a bit too longer on few occasions to allow the likes of Coutinho, Sturridge to make their movements. It was a massive learning curve for both young midfielders and Liverpool supporters will hope they would have learnt a lot after this.
Even Lovren and Skrtel were also not too comfortable with their passing, with no pressure they were not very incisive and crisp in moving the ball forward.
In the second half, Klopp made two obvious changes and changed the shape to a 4-4-2, but nothing really changed :-
The above image shows Liverpool’s second half shape, Lucas was brought in to bring in some stability and Benteke was swapped in to add aerial threat.
The movements from Benteke and Sturridge were very limited in that second half, they never pressed the Swansea back-line in half spaces or turn the midfielders to face their own goal. This meant that the only out ball for midfield was either to Ibe or Ojo in wider areas. The same distance problem between midfield and attack was repeated in the second half, few attempts were their by Liverpool back-line to pass it into the feet of their strikers but the distance was too much and Swansea were able to cut that service very comfortably. Lack of a play-maker was very evident.
All in all it was a shabby outing for young and fringe players, they had their chance to show character and convince the manager to keep faith in them for big games, but performances like this doesn’t make the matter very good.
Klopp was not very devastated by this, he knew that this would have never been easy with so many players who seldom play together to play in a Premier League game with so high intensity. A potential season make or break game on Thursday coming up for Liverpool, the good thing is that it is in Anfield, a win there and Liverpool could just be smelling be Champions League spot next season despite having been inconsistent whole season.
By Mizgan on 1st May, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans