Liverpool deservingly collapsed to a 2-0 loss at Burnley, with goals from Sam Vokes and Andy Gray blanking the Reds at Turf Moor.
Jurgen Klopp made two changes to the lineup that started against Arsenal last week, Sturridge and Milner coming in for injured Mane and under-fire Moreno respectively.
The shape was pretty much the same as the changes just slotted in their respective places. The surprise was Sturridge playing from the right hand side of the front three and Firmino leading the line. Henderson started as a defensive midfielder second week running, Lallana and Wijnaldum in front of him as box to box central midfield players.
Let’s now take a look at Liverpool’s lineup via tactics board and analyse how the Reds struggled while defending and how could they improve their attacking aspect against deep-defending teams :-
As we see in the image above, Liverpool were quite flexible in their shape and movements were aplenty in and around the Burnley box.
Sturridge surprisingly started from right hand side with Brazilian Firmino leading the line but that plan never really paid off well for Klopp and his men. Sturridge was largely ineffective on and off the ball, the need of the hour was to be quick in passing and taking good positions in and around the Burnley box as the home side defended deep for their lives, England striker did the contradictory, he was circumspect on the ball and movements were quite not up to the mark, lost the ball higher up the pitch late in the first half for Burnley to counter and score their second goal.
Coutinho was wasteful with his shooting from range unlike last week, his movements were alright but few misplaced passes and inaccurate shots from range overcame his good things. Other Brazilian Firmino had a dire game to say the least, asked to lead the line by the manager and was pretty much non-existent in and around the opposition box, dropped too deep at times to pick up possession as Burnley hogged their penalty box with defenders.
Lallana and Wijnaldum tried their best to shuffle their positions from left to right but never got themselves attuned to the game. Lallana was better of the two as he made one or two good runs in behind the Burnley defence in tight areas. On the other hand, Dutch Wijnaldum was made to look like a passenger on the pitch as his passes were not hurting the opposition defence.
We take a look at Liverpool’s shape while in possession and why they struggled to break down a well-drilled Burnley defence :-
As we see in the image above, the attacking outlets for Liverpool while in possession. What Burnley did well was they congested the central areas and defend their width of the penalty box as they knew there are many Liverpool attackers who love to attack centrally and not prefer to provide width to their attacking play. We can see in the image, only the fullbacks were the wide targets for Liverpool which made it difficult for them to put delivery into the box.
With Milner as left back, they never had an early delivery kinda thing, he always preferred to come to his right foot before crossing or putting a pass. This loss of 2-3 seconds enabled the opposition to pick up their shape and mark the runners.
What Liverpool could have done is allowed Lallana to go more wider from midfield and add width to attacking plays, Wijnaldum could have also doubled up in wide areas and make it more difficult to defend. There was predictability in the forward passes so defending was easy and marking was not a tough job even though players tried to be flexible.
On the other hand, when they caught on the counter, they were light-weight in central areas to defend that, Henderson struggled to protect the centre-backs and the pace of Gray made it difficult for the centre-backs too. That is where Liverpool needed a proper defensive midfielder who knows how to deal with these counter situations.
All in all, Liverpool were short of many things in this game and will take a good job from Klopp to lead them back to winning ways in their next league fixture away to Tottenham.
Winning at Arsenal and losing at Burnley is typical Liverpool, if they want to win trophies at highest level, they’ve to eradicate this mismatch of performances.
By Mizgan on 20th August, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans