Liverpool secured a fairly routine win in the end against the Champions Leicester at a new look Anfield, with goals from Firmino (2), Mane and Lallana making it easy for the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp made two changes to the lineup that faced Tottenham before the International break, Lucas and Sturridge coming in for Lovren and Coutinho. Lovren had an unfortunate moment in the training where he had a swelled eye and Brazilian Coutinho arrived late from South America.
The shape was pretty much 4-3-3 with Sturridge leading the line, Firmino on the left, Mane on the right. Henderson started as a defensive midfielder with Lallana and Wijnaldum supporting him in the central midfield area.
Let’s now switch our attention towards the tactics board and analyse through as to how Liverpool were better in their movements and how they opened up one of the stubborn defence in the league :-
As we see in the image, the amount of movements Liverpool players made to be unmarked most of the time. The reason behind it is, suppose an instance when Liverpool have the ball in the midfield, Sturridge has many runs in him at that time, he can drop deep to take the ball and allow the likes of Mane and Firmino to run in or stay in his position and try to get in behind the last line of defence to stretch the defence.
For the first Liverpool goal, we can see in the image above as to how Sturridge’s clever inter-play movement allowed Firmino to skip to the open space and score. For this to happen, there has to be certain understanding and the passer should also understand that the ball should reach the player who is making that movement centrally because he’ll be the man to cause more problems rather who’s drifting out wide.
Lallana and Wijnaldum overall had a good game in the central midfield, they were confident on the ball and pressing Leicester’s midfield. Lallana again looked sharper on and off the ball, made good runs in between the centre-back and fullback to link up with Firmino and Mane, pressing off the ball was also impressive, he didn’t always press the man with the ball, covered space where the ball can be played into also. Wijnaldum was confident on the ball on many occasions, was caught dwelling with the ball once but recovered well and did a good job.
Firmino and Mane were excellent, their movements from wide to in and vice versa makes them very hard to mark specifically. Mane again a key figure in Liverpool’s attack, his pacy runs in the channel and also slick movements with the ball dazzled the opposition defence. Firmino made some good movements too, he drifted inside centrally from the left hand side on many occasions, either playing the gap in between the centre-back and fullback or feasting on the space created by Sturridge, scored two good goals to go with it.
Overall, there were handful of positives for Liverpool today but defence and playing out from back still remains an issue yet to be solved. The problem is the midfielders and fullbacks are not very close to the centre-backs and goal-keeper when they’re playing out from back, this forces the Gk to pass it onto one of the centre-back, we all know centre-backs are never good on the ball when pressed and eventually the pressure is created. This problem can be solved when the midfielders and fullbacks are closer the last line of defence and be an option for the GK to play into if the centre-backs are blocked off.
We can see in the image above, if midfielders and fullbacks are closer to the back-line while playing out from back, goalkeeper will have more options to play a pass if the centre-backs are blocked off.
All in all, Klopp should be pleased with the effort of the team, few things are there that still needs ironing but Liverpool look a team who’ll look to outscore opponents this season.
By Mizgan on 10th September, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans