This was the post I've been trying to find on teh comparisons with brasil - it was posted by Felipe in Rio
back in August last year - but I couldn't figure out how to quote it. Over to Felipe...........
First of all, what was supposed to be a small explanation, ended up being one of the biggest posts I've written in my entire life. So I will divide it into sections so that you (meaning anyone reading this) can skip some stuff if you can't take it anymore or if you wanna come back to it after taking a nap, eating, taking a shower, Christmas or something like that. The sections titles will be in BOLD (if i can make it work).
Oh yeah, in case you don't want to read this, I suggest you at least take a look at the video I mentioned as one to watch in "Chapter" 10. You won't regret it, I bet on it.
Anyway, let's go:
1 - WHAT'S THIS ALL ABOUT?
That's the problem you (now it's really you Pistolero) see, you seem to understand Lucas' qualities very well, but you don't understand his role, he is not the be all and end all of CMs simply because he is not a CM, even if he has the technical ability to be one.
Let me explain something about Brazilian tactics, it may be long and a bit boring, but I think it will help understand who was the player who arrived at Anfield 4 or 5 years ago.
2 - AN OVERVIEW ON THE BRAZILIAN 4-4-2 (AND A BIT MORE)*
*By the way, this is in no way a full explanation on Brazilian tactics, this is only a part of it, a part that really only started in the 80s, and even then, it's not complete on that, I just talked about the stuff I though was relevant to the topic... which shows I have no idea what "relevant" means.
In here, the most used formation for a long while is the 4-4-2, but our 4-4-2 is completely different from yours (even in the other formations like 4-3-3 for example, the roles are quite different from the ones you have there), it works likes this:
Now, the names we give to these positions are (in between braquets are the literal translations):
1- Goleiro (Goalkeeper)
2- Lateral-Direito (Right Side)
3- Zagueiro Central (Central Furthest Back)
4- Quarto Zagueiro (Fourth Furthest Back)
6- Lateral Esquerdo (Left Side)
5 - Primeiro Volante (First Steering Wheel)
7 - Segundo Volante (Second Steering Wheel)
8 - Meia-armador (Attacking Midfielder-Playmaker)
10 - Meia-atacante [or "Ponta-de-Lanca"] (Attacking Midfielder-Attacker) [or Spear-Head]
11 - Segundo Atacante [or simply "atacante"] (Second Attacker) [or simply "attacker"]
9 - Centro-Avante (Center Forward - yeah, that one is the same)
3 - SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN ENGLAND?
Now, as you can see, some of those names in English don't really say much of what they do, so, if we try to find their respective positions in English tactics here is what we would have:
1 - GK. That's exactly as it is up there, except for the rare technically gifted enough goalkeeper to play the sweeper role.
2 - RB, RWB, RMF. Yep, that's right, that's why the word we use, "lateral" means simply "side", he is both the wide player in defense and in Midfield. in the 4-4-2 he even does the job of the Winger and of the RWF too (just so you have an idea, the only criticism Maicon has here as a Fullback, is that he is too defensive, I'm not kidding). That's just in 4-4-2 though, in our 4-4-3 or 4-2-3-1 we also have the "Pontas" which were basically WFs. In 3-5-2 our "alas" are more similar to Wingers.
3 - CB. Our number 3 is Carragher. He is big, he is scary, he hoofs and he screams. He is Lucio.
4 - CB. Our number 4 is also a CB, but he usually the more technical one who goes for the second challenge or to collect the loose balls, David Luiz is an example of that. Most of our CBs though can do both jobs as they are similar, Thiago Silva for example excels at both.
6 - LB, LWB, LMF. Exact same thing as the Number 2, just on the left side.
5 - DM/Sweeper/CB. Now is when things starting getting confusing, the number 5 role is very similar to your DM or holding midfielder, but not exaaactly the same, I will explain more of this later. This is the position Lucas plays in the Brazil National Team now.
7 - DM/CDM/CM. Now this is the most difficult one, he is more offensive than your DM, but he is more defensive than even your most defensive CM, that's the role Lucas played in Gremio, which as you can see has nothing to do with an AM as people claimed, Anderson was the AM in that team (until he left). Again, I will explain more on this later.
8 - CM/AM. It's the playmaker, whose job you know very well, but this playmaker doesn't play behind the midfield as in there, he plays near the opponent's goal area. Zidane was almost like this (he had a bit of a number 10 too), as was/is Riquelme (this one was a 8/10 halfbreed to be fair) or maybe Nedved (haven't watched him enough to be sure). But the more classical examples would be Socrates, Gerson or Didi. Veron is the only pure Number 8 in the modern game I can think of right now. Don't worry about this too much though, this position is a little blurry even for us
10 - AM. This player is Pele, Zico, Maradona, Kaka (when Milan Played two strikers), Seedorf (when Kaka played as forward), Gerrard (under Benitez), Lampard, Ronaldinho (in the 2002 WC winning team), Deco (in the Barcelona team Ronaldinho played in), Messi (when he has the ball, when he doesn't he is a number 9, we call that here a "false number 9", it's an European invention from (I think) the Dutch, or maybe the Hungarians, i'm not too sure, so you may know it), Sjneider (has a bit of a number 8 too) etc. As you can see, it's hard to find a pure example since they play under different tactics in Europe, but mostly this man's job is to receive the ball from the numbers 5 and 7 and to create a scoring opportunity with swift runs and dribbling from the middle, and then either shoot it himself or create a 5-10 yards pass to a free teammate (usually number 9) as the defenders come at him. Exactly what Gerrard was doing with Benitez. Of course, since this player is usually the most technally all-round gifted in the team, he can do pretty much whatever he wants and is often given free-reign of the team in the field.
11 - SS. This is the support striker. This one should be easy as you guys have more names and divisions for it than we do. A Number 11 for us includes fairly diverse players as Cristiano Ronaldo (can be number 9 or a "Ponta"), Luis Suarez (can be number 9, but best as 11), Aguero (can be both 9 and 11, I like him more as a 9), Pato (I'd like him as a 9, but he needs better finishing and area presence), Rooney (who could also play number 10, I believe), Di Maria (could also be a "ponta"), Kuyt (seems like he can play wherever people put him), Henry (can be Number 9), Villa (can be number 9, but not as efficient), Pedro (could be a "ponta"), Forlan (can be an AM and used to be a number 9, he has brilliant understanding of the game, as does Suarez btw, that's why he likes Lucas so much) and plenty more. If you want to know what a number 11 should do, just watch Suarez for 10 minutes, there's your answer. By the way, that's why Suarez plays from the sides so much even when he is theorically being played behind Carrol, his instinct as a number 11 is to look for the weaker side of the defense and to try to break in from there.
9 - CF. Pretty much the same. The way they play may change a little here since they are more involved in close range passing with the numbers 10 and 11, but as in there, they stay in or close to the box, they must score a lot, hold the ball for the players coming from behind, take in headers etc. Romario was the perfect 9, Ronaldo had less number 9 qualities than him (still way more than pretty much anyone) but also had plenty of number 11 skills, not to mention that beautiful shooting technique that allowed him to score buckets of goals without ever having to shoot a ball hard in his life. Aguero has some of Romario's qualities, but he is still far from that level obviously. But talking about players who are not from another planet, we have Torres, Drogba, Benzema, Adriano, Diego Milito, Carrol, Adebayor, Van Nistelrooy, Luis Fabiano etc.
Now, from 8 to 11 it's not so different so it should be easy to get it, as are numbers 1, 3 and 4. But the whole point of me talking about all of this was to discuss numbers 2, 6, 5 and 7.
4 - THE TACTICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO 4-4-2 FORMATIONS
As I said, we have two "Volantes", which are somewhat like DMs, and two "Laterais" who do a hell of a lot of stuff.
The "Laterais" have the winger's job of creating width in attack, but they also have the job of the English CMs of building-up play. Yeah, I know it seems weird, but just watch one Brazil match and you will see it. Weirdly enough, this is also the job of the DMs. These four are the guys who bring the ball from the defense to the attacking players (numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11). They are not responsible though, for the creation of scoring opportunities as CMs also are in England, their job is only to take the ball there, and then, if opportunity arises, to join the attack as a surprise man (with crosses for laterais or through passes and forward runs from the volantes).
That's also the reason we have two "AMs", since there are no CMs trying to score and dribble their way into the area, those 2 players, the numbers 8 and 10, are the ones who create chances for numbers 11 and 9.
On the other side, for these two players, numbers 8 and 10, to be effective, they must ALWAYS be part of the attacking play, so they don't defend. that's why you get so many Brazilian midfielders groaning about how managers want them to tackle, in Brazil tackling is not the job of the creative midfielders, we'd never have a Gerrard or Xabi Alonso MARKING someone (although numbers 11, 10 and specially 8 do come back to fill up space and help a bit, but they are not expected to tackle or to steal balls, they mostly try to not allow the laterais and volantes to get the ball to the attackers and meias).
So, we have 2 players (numbers 3 and 4) who mostly only defend and 4 (numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11) who mostly only attack. While in England you have 4 who mostly only defend (the two CBs and two SBs) and 2 who only attack (AM/SS depending on what you wanna call it and the CF).
5 - WHY THE **** DID I WRITE ALL THAT? or THE TACTICAL THING THEY HAVE IN COMMON somewhat
Now, every team must have it's balance, and in both countries, the 4 players remaining (Numbers 2, 6, 5 and 7 in Brazil and the pairs of CMs and Wingers in England) are the guys with the responsability of providing this balance, all of these guys do both things, ATTACK and DEFEND. But since in Brazil, there are more offensive "fixed" players than defensive ones, these 4 will focus more in defense than in offense, while in England, since there are more "fixed" defensive players than there are offensive ones, they will focus more on offense. It's about 70% to 30% in both cases. The main point here, is that laterais and volantes as a whole, are more defensive than CMs and Wingers.
6 - HOW THAT BALANCE WORKS IN BRAZIL (INCLUDES LUCAS AND THE NATIONAL TEAM)
In Brazil, to achieve the 70% defence to 30% offense balance, there are a couple of ways to go, you can use two fairly offensive volantes, that would be ALMOST( I said ALMOST) CMs to pass the ball in the middle, while keeping the laterais in the defense. With the volantes playing in a more advanced position, the numbers 8 and 10 would have to move a bit to the wings to give them the space in which to work, thus providing the width lost with the laterais staying back (when this is done, it becomes very similar to the English 4-4-2, which shows that they are indeed closer to each other then one would guess at first, considering that only 4 players have the same role in both - the GK, the 2 CBs and the CF). Or you could do exactly the opposite, keep the Volantes at defence at all times and have the laterais blast towards the opponent's flanks all game long, the AMs would then play very centrally while the Volantes would become almost CBs (that's why I put "CB" as the third option next to number 5). Or you could of course use any other mix of these factors.
The second option (marauding laterais and CB volantes) has been the most used BY FAR in Brazil though for a long time for two main reasons:
Number 1 is the success of 1994's National Team who played just like that.
Number 2 is that this was the time when we started losing our stars to the European Clubs.
Every one wants to copy a champion, and that explains number 1. Number 2 is easy too, with less quality left for our clubs to use, they couldn't have a player like Dunga or Mauro Silva to use as a "DM almost CB", those were extremely good defensive players with decent technique (for Brazilian standards, btw there were considerable differences between the two, but let's not get too much into that), they could only have either those two player's decent technique, OR they had their defensive ability and NO technique. They chose the second option and more and more our laterais became almost pure attackers and our DMs almost pure defenders, since they couldn't pass the ball, taking away the options we used to have for balance. And that's why Gilberto Silva played 3 World Cups (he was a CB until he was 20 years old in case you don't know).
Only since 2005, when Sao Paulo beat Liverpool in Japan with 2 volantes with some technical ability (Josue and Mineiro, who scored the winning goal in that match by the way, something he really rarely did) did people start to rethink that, and then some technical volantes started to reappear, the very first of them, being your very own Lucas in Gremio, who was soon followed by Hernanes, Ramirez, Sandro, Cicero and others, which are now the ones that Mano Menezes wants to use in his team.
What the Brazil side is now TRYING to do, is to get back to the old times of having options for balance, like we did in 1982 when our 2 volantes were simply Falcao and Cerezo and our 2 laterais Junior and Leandro (damn I'm getting goosebumps just thinking of it lol, these 4 defensive players had the technique to make Kaka look like Terry). Anyway, what I'm trying to say, is that, although Mano is using 3 strikers (but neither Robinho or Neymar are wingers, something that Man City coach couldn't understand, and that's coming from someone who hates Robinho), the idea of balance between the two DMs and SBs is still there, we still have Maicon/Daniel Alvez and Andre Santos (ugh) going up, but the DMs, Lucas and Ramirez, even if still more defensive than the laterais, are also a part of the attacking play, Lucas mainly doing what he does at Liverpool, although from a deeper position, while Ramirez supports him with that providing option and doing forward runs into space when they open up in the opponents defense. They are not Falcao and Cerezo obviously***, but they have been great until now, unfortunately, our attacking quartet hasn't quite found it's best way to play together yet, because, as you can see in the Paraguay match, the ball arrives in their feet from Lucas and Ramirez time and time again.
*** Btw, just thought of something, I read a lot of people in the British media at the time saying that they were told Lucas was similar to Falcao.... so how the hell did people come to the conclusion that Lucas was an AM??? He was a Primeiro Volante, in fact, he played EXACTLY how Lucas is playing now, with more quality obviously, but still at the exact same role, in the exact same position in the field, doing the exact same thing (get the ball, start the new attack, receive the ball back if the forwards can't find a way to goal, move the ball around, repeat.) Want to know how Falcao was? Watch the Lucas match vs Fulham and you will know. The only difference is that Falcao played like that week in week out.
And that's a DM's role, he makes sure the balls gets to the feet of the AMs and Strikers as often as is possible, and then move into space so that if those players can't find any space into which to create an opportunity, they can give the ball back to the DMs so they can do it again.
7 - HOW THAT BALANCE WORKS IN ENGLAND (LUCAS HERE AND LIVERPOOL AS A WHOLE)
Obviously in an English tactics it's a bit different, but not too much, let's see that:
In England, they can also use their 4 players in different ways to achieve this 70% offense to 30% defense balance, they can have one winger be more offensive while another stays back more to protect the back of both fairly offensive CMs, or they can find whatever other solution (that's the coach's job) they prefer for this.
What Kenny has done in the last match, was to have one winger play almost as an striker (Downing), the other winger in a more reserved manner but still fairly offensive, the same with Adam. So, having the other three players in a more offensive role, he kept Lucas back to give that balance, even when he was namely a CM, in this formation he acted as a DM (and any formation that wants to get the best out of Lucas will do that), playing almost like he does in Brazil (in Brazil he is a little more defensive though). This is similar to how in Brazil we would make the number 5 into pretty much a CB so that the laterais could go on an all out offensive.
I don't think this is the ideal (I at least believe that, only my opinion) though, I'd have Lucas playing in this exact way he has in the last game, but as officially a DM, with two classic style CMs (you guys understand that role better than me) who could be two of Gerrard, Aquilani, Adam, Henderson or Raul ahead of him in a triangle formation. up front I'd leave Downing as a pure offensive Winger (maybe make he even MORE purely offensive) and add another one to the other side (who could be Kuit or Suarez, but only if they are REALLY purely offensive) with Suarez or Carrol as Target Man. They are completely different players I know, but both can work there, Suarez played as the only striker for Uruguay in Copa America and you know what happened (Forlan was more of a Number 10 than anything else, as you can see from he only scoring in the final even though he played an awesome tournament). It would be down to "What is better? Kuyt as an Attack Winger or Carrol as a Center Forward?" unless Kenny prefers one style or the other, both could work so it's his choice really.
This formation would put a lot of defensive strain on Lucas since Gerrard and Aquilani are not the most defensive guys around, BUT I think he can pull it off. Actually it would be a great test for him, only a World Class DM could do an effective DM job (tackling/intercepting and moving the ball around) in a formation like this, and if, while playing this formation I mentioned, he still manages to do his job, I'm 100% sure Liverpool can win the EPL. Just imagine if he can keep a considerable flow of balls arriving at the feet of the likes of Gerrard, Aquilani, Downing, Suarez and Carrol all at the same time, all in the opposition's half. I know only of one guy who does that in a similar formation and that guy is Busquets, who helps make sure that Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Pedro/Sanchez and Messi keep getting the ball all the time (although those 5 steal lots of balls in the attack as well, which is why they are the best by far, Liverpool won't become that this season, probably not even in the next one, but if Lucas can pull it off, in some seasons, depending on how much is spent on transfers and how well the money is spent, it could become an outstanding force capable of making the mancs look like fools just like they did against Barca).
Lucas is confident now, looking better than ever, maybe this could be the time to take the next step, I'm sure Kenny would love this to happen, I hope he's thought of it.
8 - I FINALLY GET TO THE POINT
Well, anyway, I got terribly side-tracked, the reason i wrote all of this was to say:
Lucas is a DM, a player who needs to have an incridible rate of stealing the ball, who must understand the big picture of a match very well to know when to fool, which pass to pick (thinking ahead some 2 or 3 moves so that he can analize which way is the better one to attack through). He is not perfect at those things, but he IS very good at them as you have mentioned yourself, you just thought that wasn't enough to make him a really outstanding DM, but that's really all his need.
Because his job isn't to score goals, dribble defenders or even place pinpoint passes inside the opposition's defense, his job, the end product of the DM game, is to allow the ones who are most capable of doing these things (ie. Gerrard, Suarez, and the other attacking players) to have as many chances of trying them as possible.
And that's important because even with Gerrard being as good as Gerrard is at long shots for example, if he only has the opportunity to try it 2 times a game, he will rarely score, but if Lucas does his job well and the ball keeps getting in good conditions to Gerrard, he will be able to try it 10 times instead of 2, and the chances of 1 in 10 being a goal is MUCH greater than 1 in 2.
That's why people rate Lucas so highly, his attributes are perfect for that job.
9 - I EXPLAIN WHAT I JUST DID THERE WITH A SHORT STORY ABOUT VALUE AND RESPECT. Seriously, it's short, I wrote a 30 pages one as an answer for a youtube comment once, it obviously didn't fit though.
PS: Just a weird exercize on getting the importance of this support. Imagine you are in an archery duel, you and your assistant against an opponent and his assistant. These assistants are crafters who make arrows. Now, the goal of the duel is to shoot a particular deer before your opponent does it.
As you both set on into a forest you both find the deer, now, thing is, you are MUCH better than your opponent, really, by far, you take the first shot...
Chance is, you probably hit the target, because you are great, and great people are great for a reason. But there's a chance of you missing (a fairly small chance in archery -when you are REALLY good- , not so much in Football -even for the best players- ). Your opponent then shoots and misses too.
Thing is, each one of you only had one arrow, (because we were talking about football and football only has 1 ball in the field at a time so I will arbitrarily say you only had 1 arrow or the whole story would be pointless) and that's why you brought your crafters with you.
After both of you missed your shots, both crafters went to work into making new arrows with the wood's trees. You were still very confident, you were MUCH better than him after all, the chances of you missing again are minimal...
You look to your opponent and he is shooting his second arrow, and he misses again, again with the third. and with the fourth.
And your crafter is still making the second.
Your opponent shoots the fifth, sixth and seventh arrows, missing again. On the eighth one, he hits the target. You both go back to town, where they greet your opponent and proclaim him the best archer ever, they give him free beer at the local pub and he gets free service from every one of the cities' huh... working ladies.
You are on the verge of exploding in anger, you tell everyone that he is not really so good, that he missed 7 shots while you only missed one, and that he only won because his crafter was much better and faster than yours. Everyone laughes at you obviously, because everyone knows crafters don't decide matches.
You fire your crafter, hires your opponent's crafter who was annoyed that no one was congratulating him and you tell him:
"Don't worry mate, everytime I win a match from now on, I will tell them of how important you are, and from now on, neither me nor anyone else will ever say that - He who doesn't shoot the arrow, can't be the one who kills the deer."
And so may it be that one day, no one else will say that - He who doesn't score the goal, can't be the one who wins the footbal match.
10 - WANNA SEE THE 4-4-2 THAT I HAVE MENTIONED AT IT'S BEST?
By the way, try searching for this in the youtube search engine:
"Brasil 1982 - The 11 Greatest Goals of Brasil 1982's Magic 11"
You may want to look at this one too, but it's sad ... You will see what I mean.
"Brazil 1982 - A tribute to the art of football"
That's the perfect Brazilian 4-4-2, the greatest team ever that didn't win, if only Reinaldo or even Careca was fit to play Number 9...
Anyway, there will never be any build-up play like the ones performed over and over again dozens of times in every match by Leandro (Number 2), Junior (Number 6), Falcao (Number 5), Cerezo (number 7), Socrates (Number 8 ) and Zico (Number 10). Not even the 70 team had that (but it was better in the front).
PS: The numbers there are their positions in the team based on my explanation on the 4-4-2 up there, not their actual numbers, I'm not sure of which numbers were Socrates and Cerezo wearing.
PS2: Junior, Leandro and Zico played for my club, maybe someone here remembers these players and their club.
11 - AKA - THE END - WHO THE **** AM I?
Oh yeah, this may be a little weird, you know, me writing a God knows how many lines post considering it's my very first post here on rawk, but I first read the old Lucas thread about 2 years ago I think, and I have been following it since the Argentina x Brasil game last year (I read the whole thing... seriously, it took me like 2 weeks to catch up with it the first time). It started with me wondering "hey, how is that Lucas lad from Gremio I liked so much doing in Liverpool? I bet he's their captain already by now!". So I did a little research and well... let's just say I was surprised, and VERY pissed, murmuring stuff about stupid Brits and their hoofball (btw, reading this was the first step into opening my eyes into the good sides of English Football, and there are plenty of good sides too! Although I still hate hoofball). So as I tried to find someone saying anything GOOD about him, I ended up in that thread.
COMPLETELY OFF-TOPIC, YOU MAY WANT TO SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH AND COME BACK WHEN THIS SECTION IS OVER. I WOULDN'T THOUGH, IT'S ABOUT HAIR:
Btw, what was your problem with his hair? Maybe the Brazilian League is not exactly a standard, but his hair was among the most normal ones we have here! Don't believe me? Look at this (if you are worried if these links are safe or not, let me explain from where they are: The first one is from Terra, one of the biggest internet portals in Brazil, kind of like The Sun but without the newspaper. The second one is from Editora Abril, Brazil's biggest publisher with magazines that sell over 10 Million copies a week. So I'm pretty sure they are too rich to rob people. Anyway, if these sites aren't acceptable by the forums rules, please feel free to delete these links and for God's sake don't ban me in my first post, I swear I will read the rules again 3 more times and paying more and more attention each time if that's the case) : http://img.terra.com.br/i/2011/07/21/1960411-7968-atm14.jpg
or this http://clubalfa.abril.com.br/top-10/futebol/10-piores-cortes-de-cabelo-do-brasileirao-2011/
BACK TO LUCAS
Well, there was a lot of crap about him there too, but some very smart comments, and I ended up getting caught up in it and the rest is history.
End of story is, I know some guys here, like sangria, leivapool, red_new etc, better than I know most of my friends, at least when it comes to football obviously, just from the sheer amount of great stuff I've read from them.
So I'm sorry if I - have gone/will mostly likely go - over the top sometimes since to me it feels like I've been taking part in these discussions for over an year
Oh yeah, about who the **** I am, my name is Felipe, I'm 20, live in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and my club is somewhere on the post and on my photograph.
Now let's see if I can post this in one shot...