Liverpool brushed Villarreal aside 3-0 at Anfield to win the Semi-Final tie 3-1 on aggregate and reach the Europa League final.
Klopp made two changes to lineup that featured in the first leg in Spain, Sturridge and Can coming in for Lucas and Allen.
It was a brave decision by Klopp to field an attack-minded side consisting of four genuine front line players, the shape was 4-1-4-1 with Can as the only holding midfielder; Coutinho on the left, Lallana on the right and Firmino was playing just in behind the striker Sturridge. Milner was in that number 8 role with loads of subtle movements to outfox the opposition defence.
Let’s take a look at the shape in the tactics board and analyse through as to how Liverpool played this game and how Klopp’s decisions worked wonders :-
As we in the image above, Klopp gave Milner the freedom to roam around in different positions just to make him unmarkable in certain situations. The veteran midfielder was again instrumental in pressing the opposition in wide areas and also supporting Can in central midfield to bring more stability in the game. A good all-round performance and deserve plaudits.
Can was brilliant in many ways, firstly to recover from injury so early and then not to show any kind of rustiness on the pitch. The German was at it from the first whistle, the pressing, ball-winning and passing from deep positions was just impeccable. He takes the ball in between the centre-backs and drives forward with some authority. What that does is allow the front players to not drop deep in search of possession, they can stay in their positions and when the ball arrive they can do something with it. A brave performance from the German midfielder given the fact that he returned just two days before the game.
Klopp decided to go with Sturridge was another brave decision by the German and it paid dividends too. The English striker was back to his best with his subtle movements in and around the box. His ability to take the defenders on in tight situations make him a difficult customer to deal with. He was involved in all the goals which is a good thing if you are a striker.
Firmino was again brilliant in his pressing and connecting play from midfield to attack. The Brazilian just thrives in that number 10 role, he starts the pressing with Sturridge centrally not allowing any space for the Villarreal midfield or defence to play out. His attitude towards the game is always positive and his skills sometimes takes you out of your seat. He along with Coutinho and Lallana were instrumental in the game, the front four press in tandem and with Milner joining in from midfield, the opposition has no time on the ball and it brings out mistakes.
All in all it was a complete performance by Liverpool, Klopp got his tactics and formation spot on against a team who were just looking to sit back and soak up the pressure, it was too much pressure for Villarreal back-line to soak in the end.
A comfortable route to the European final and one match away from a place in Champions League next season, something to cherish for the Liverpool supporters.
By Mizgan on 6th May, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans