Young and fringe Liverpool draw at West Brom, with Jordan Ibe cancelling Rondon’s opener. Danny Ings and Jordan Henderson made valuable game time to add to squad length for Europa League final.
Klopp made 11 changes to the lineup that featured against Chelsea in midweek. The shape was 4-3-3 with Flanagan and Smith as fullbacks; Skrtel and Lucas in the heart of Liverpool defence. Stewart, Allen and Brannagan were the midfield three, with Stewart being the deeper of the three. Benteke, Ojo and Ibe were the front three.
It was quite a change by Klopp as he earlier stated with the Europa League final looming large on the German’s minds. Players like Benteke, Allen were certainly playing for a squad spot in Basel. Henderson made up some game time to give his boss another option in the midfield.
Let’s take a look at the shape through tactics board and analyse what went right and what went wrong for the Reds in this final game of the Barclays Premier League season :-
As we see in the image above, Stewart was the deeper midfielder picking the ball in between the centre-backs and driving the ball forward, Allen was good again in his duties. The Welshman clearly had Basel squad place in his mind as he went about his play nicely. The pressing in midfield, neat passing and doubling up with Smith down that left hand side was good.
Brannagan and Stewart were a bit tentative to start with, they gradually came into the fore come the second part of first half. Stewart again was good in that defensive midfield role with ball retention and passing it around. Both Brannagan and Stewart showed signs of inexperience but West Brom never really pressed them.
Benteke was again largely ineffective with his pedestrian movements and no real threat in behind the defence. Ibe was good in patches on the right hand side, his twist and run in behind to score the goal was an inspirational moment, apart from that the youngster had a plain afternoon with few good touches and not influencing the game too much apart from that goal.
Ojo was good with his movements on and off the ball, he started from the left wing area but began to drift himself more centrally as the first half progressed on. He was good with his physical play against strong West Brom defenders in wide areas and also centrally.
Ings and Henderson were brought on with 30 minutes to play, Allen and Ibe were subbed off. The shape remained the same but with Ings hogging that left hand side of front three and Henderson joining Brannagan and Stewart in the midfield.
So, with this stalement, Liverpool’s chances of playing in Europe next season via Premier League is over, they finished 8th in the table. All hopes and prayers are now for the Wednesday final against Sevilla, a win there and Liverpool could well be playing Champions League football next season.
Klopp as expected made many changes and the German was satisfied with his fringe team coming away with a point. He will be urging his team to win that Europa League that will make his first pre-season with Liverpool a better one as more potent players will want to play for Klopp when Champions League football is up for grabs.
By Mizgan Ahmed on 15th May, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans