Author Topic: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool  (Read 5225 times)

Offline BabuYagu

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Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« on: November 22, 2017, 02:22:26 PM »
Normally I try to give the game a second look before a roundtable post. Because in the heat of the moment, emotion exaggerate how you view every event in the game that affects the team you love most. Plus you tend to completely miss/forget a lot of important details as you develop a kind of tunnel vision - and you will notice this a lot with my post here as a lot of this will disagree with how each of you saw the game - each of our own tunnels was focused on different things. Also it will probably wildly disagree with the statistical models for the game which I will tag on at the end but not analyse much at all myself. This one I can't. That was just too painful to watch in the end. Identical to that Europa League final in terms of performance.

Fans/Pundits tend to look at individuals when being critical in games, when in reality it is better to look at units, areas, zones if you want to see where the problems are. Individual mistakes are just lazy analysis so I won't focus much on that either here as we didn't lose our foothold in the game because of mistakes, but because we never really had that strong a foothold to begin with. Several players had a mare, most obviously Moreno & Coutinho who were brought off. The most interesting question is why. Was something happening that was contributing to that?

For me the biggest problems on the pitch were:-
1. How Sevilla were opening up our half spaces, particularly on our left.
2. Benega was then killing us in them
3. We couldn't link play at all
4. Our attack couldn't retain the ball
5. Because of 1 & 2 we struggled when under pressure
6. Because of 3 & 4 we were constantly under pressure

That was in both halves by the way IMO. It just gradually escalated into a crescendo up to the point Moreno & Coutinho came off. But even then the problems were never really solved. We just shored up that left half space better. It was as if the first half was just Sevilla taking some punches to size us up but at no point were we in control of the game. The first half we had a couple of successful set pieces and a counter attack which somewhat masked the flow of the first half, but the warning signs were there. I was hoping they would just give up at 3-0.

The pluses?
1. Karius generally looked good
2. Lovren generally defended the box well. I still maintain he is our only center back to whom that statement will ever apply. The other three are too passive, as exemplified by Klavan a few times and most notably on the header at the end. Which is why if we are going to be under any pressure in a big game, we will need Lovren in there. We do need to add a similar, better quality version of him ASAP though. Ideally one who can defend the rest of the pitch as well as Matip and the box as well as Lovren. Sounds a lot like VVD when you say it like that.
3. Gini generally did a good job of protecting the half space on the right and covering for Henderson's excursions out of his #6 position.
4. The attacking 3 were quite clinical with the chances they had. Arguably could have had a couple more with Firmino 1-v-1 and Can's attempted square pass to Mane.
5. The result and position in the group with 1 game to go.

I don't want to focus on the pluses today, because I don't think people really care when you throw away a 3-0. I'd rather try to frame the negatives in a way that we can make better sense of them instead of just labelling individuals as shite.

#1. Sevilla were opening up our half spaces, particularly on our left.
If you want to watch the game back, and I don't, this was a very noticeable occurrence. Klavan was also getting dragged out there way too much. Without a natural #6, we did a bad job of covering when that happened. Usually Gabriel Marcado (a real shithouse of a player btw) was maintaining width and dragging Moreno out to him, Sarabia was attacking the space that was creating. Or Sarabia would create an overload on that side to pin Moreno quite central and they would run off the back of him. Either way they had a lot of success on our left and gave Moreno so many problems to deal with, I think he was mentally exhaused at half time. However, while Gini was very disciplined in protecting this space on our right, which effective nullified Nolito, N'Zonzi & Escudero on that side most of the game, Coutinho was nowhere to be seen.

#2. Benega was then killing us in them
This was creating a nice hole in the half space in front of Moreno for Banega to operate in at times and he was picking us apart. Moreno tried charging down the ball there at one point late in the first half which almost resulted in a goal but for good movement off his line by Karius. The warning signs were there though. Personally I would have switched Gini to that side but I guess we want Coutinho cutting in on his left and therefore attacking threat was preferred over defensive stability. It was killing us though.

I remember mentioning in one of Klopp's first games against Chelsea, we destroyed Ramires and Mikel that day by giving them so many problems, in the end they just shut down. They had Lallana, Firmino & Coutinho constantly in their zones, with Milner & Can also dropping in and out. They were constantly on the move. When they tracked a runner, that left their partner with 2 or 3 problems to solve alone. When they left the runner, the defence would get opened up. What to do? They were mentally exhausted. If you give someone several problems at once and with seemingly no good potential outcomes for whichever choice they make, eventually they mentally shut down. So constantly having 3 people operating in your space with minimal assistance in a problem. Add to that you are having minimal sleep after a new born and your natural limit to deal with that situation (as we saw at Hoffenheim) is probably a lot lower to begin with. Not excuses for Moreno, just an explanation for what we saw. They wore him down in the first half, by the end of it he was trying to solve the problem at source (Banega) rather than deal with multiple problems in his zone by himself. When that failed, he looked out of options. In the second half he would just have to stay in position, react to the problems around him and get picked off by Banega. He couldn't cope with it.

#3. We couldn't link play at all
The passing stats from last night were grim reading and we have all seen them. The touches per minute played stat is even worse though with Henderson coming in dead last - even including subs and Karius - which is incredible to see for a #6. The strange thing for me was how we fared much better working the ball out on the right (Gomez, Gini, Salah) then we did on the left (Moreno, Coutinho, Mane). I honestly have no explanation for that. Coutinho in particular was awful in possession. Sevilla did a great job of just shutting that side of the pitch down though. Pizarro in particular. We got caught in possession in our left half space in midfield 5 times last night, compared to just twice on the other side.

Like the Europa league final, Sevilla showed that if you press our central midfield, we cannot turn and play out. Surprisingly, Coutinho was as bad as anybody here when in reality, we we expect him to be the big part of the solution. Gini probably fared best of the three here. We would hope having Lallana or Keita in midfield would help alleviate the problem in future. However we do need someone in that #6 position who can receive, turn, pass through or out of pressure because we don't have that at the moment in either Can or particularly Henderson it seems.

However, my biggest problem of the night was actually Firmino. Or precisely, how we used him. He is now playing as striker for us, not a false 9. You go back and watch that first game against Sevilla, or the Arsenal win, or the game against Bayern in pre-season and you see us playing with a box in midfield when in a mid-block. Henderson+Gini in front of the defence. Can+Firmino in front of them. With Salah and Mane staying higher and wider to press the center backs and track full backs. So when the ball was central, they play in half spaces pressing the defence towards the sides. When the ball is wide, they track the full back ball side while the other remains central as a striker and a box in midfield.

This protects our half spaces much better as you have effectively two sixes, two eights and they are both positioned in or near the half spaces at all times. You are only really vulnerable on quick switches of play but even then you back your full backs to slow things down while the box scuttles across to plug things up again. And it worked well, generally.

However, last night Firmino wasn't doing any of that. He was playing as a proper striker, pressing the defence and occassionally the defensive midfield from behind. But he wasn't getting behind the ball and being part of the midfield shape. As a result, the midfield shape was just 3, not 4. One of whom, Coutinho, was constantly leaving us exposed on one side. Effectively, rather than a #6 and #8 protecting our half space on the left against Bayern/Hoffenheim(A)/Arsenal - tonight we had a #10.

But the problems don't stop there, because once you regain possession in that tight box shape, you will immediately have overloads through the middle to play through the press. So while we had a reasonably compact shape on the right to play out through - hence how Gomez, Gini & Salah had some joy over there - on the left though we had none of that.

I personally think the change in Firmino's role is a big problem. He gets through a fierce amount of work in that midfield role for us and the trade off for him getting an extra ~2 chances per game on the counter to score doesn't seem great if we end up completely open through the middle off the ball and incapable of playing out when we do actually regain it.

#4. Our attack couldn't retain the ball
As a result of #3, Sevilla did a good job of splitting our shape into 3 units. Defence, midfield and attack. All fluidity was gone. The midfield could be isolated as Henderson is very easy to mark. Therefore the only option was to bypass midfield and look to the attack earlier (especially on our left, as mentioned). With our collection of small, pacey forwards, it's no surprise that Mane & Firmino struggled to win/keep possession then. I read that Mane won 4 headers in midfield last night - I hate to imagine how many long balls he was competing for to hit that amount. But it was a lot!

So in summary then - we really need to get back to being more compact and quickly. There are some individuals who look like they will always be clashing with the roles they are asked to perform in our system. Nobody looks suitable to play the #6 role. Grujic & Ejaria have been trying out the role for the U23 side with some successes recently, so will be interesting to see if one of them gets given the chance at some point in the role, likely in the FA Cup, for the first team. Suspect we will ultimately need to spend big there. Keita and Lallana will help sort out the problem with our #8's there. Them +Gini look a good set of options for those positions in the future, although age isn't on the side of Lallana there. Firmino isn't a focal point striker for me. We either play him as a false #9, which works for him and our system, or use Origi/Solanke who can play as that focal point to build attacks off the way Spurs use Kane or he used Lewa at Dortmund. However, if we are going to use a focal point like this, then Salah/Mane/Coutinho all need to drop in to be part of the midfield off the ball and in the build up to the attack - just as Reus/Kagawa/Kuba would at Dortmund behind Lewa. Having 3 or 4 players high up the pitch early in our attacking phase just leaves us exposed in midfield and with very little depth in our shape to retain possession in attack. I also think our new conservative full backs is part of the problem here also and have mentioned as such in the past.

We have gone from defending less, with fewer players, to defending more, with more players. Our shape is quite rigid making it hard for us to build attacks properly.

I personally think the losses of Lallana & Clyne are hurting us the most here. Our right side was killing us the first two months of the season without Lallana to play through the lines on the right of midfield and with neither Gomez & TAA able to play the role of full back adequately. We had quickly conceded 6 goals from our RB either making a clear mistake (particularly TAA) or being easily beaten (particularly Gomez). Whereas Clyne is one of the most solid right backs around in terms of 1-v-1 and rarely makes a mistake.

Ultimately though, and I have been saying it all season, I think it's almost impossible to assess the problems of the team with a dysfunctional midfield. If you look at the Arsenal game earlier in the season - Ramsey playing the #8 role much as Coutinho did last night caused Arsenal no end of problems. We had spaces in dangerous places and overloads they couldn't solve and thrashed them for it. Everyone from Xhaka, Chamberlain, Holding and many others appeared to have a shocker largely down to the most important area of the pitch not functioning. Fast forward a few weeks and largely the same personnel play against Chelsea in the same system. This time Ramsey plays as a disciplined #8 similar to Gini for us, and with a functional midfield the defence no longer looks so shit, the midfield exists to build up attacks and link play, the forward has support in attack. Which means, for me, until we have a functional midfield, these problems will keep popping up as sides work out how to expose Henderson & Can as 6's.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of graphics, data etc on this op. Meant to be working and just wanted to quickly jot down my thoughts/observations of the game. I'm sure there is a lot more that I missed too, I actually just gave up noting things down after 60 minutes and focused on chewing the fuck out of my fingers instead! I would like to avoid turning this into a player bashing thread or transfer thread - as both just act as a call to lock the thread. So with that in mind - how did you see the game? How can we solve those problems from within?



« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 03:04:07 PM by BabuYagu »
Gonna stay behind at work and wait to see what happens.

I am betting some split arse and crying.

Offline BabuYagu

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 02:28:25 PM »
Wasn't sure whether you would want a roundtable for this. I figured it would be easier to moderate this thread than the shite that we are seeing on the main board. I also would like to see some sensible discussion of the game because it does merit some discussion. It's how you try to do that when you have 40 screaming children throwing shit at each other that is the problem. :D
Gonna stay behind at work and wait to see what happens.

I am betting some split arse and crying.

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 06:12:31 PM »
People have been focusing on the midfield. But the midfield did the same things in the second half as it did in the first half. The difference in the second half was that Klavan and Lovren increased their blind clearances 5-fold each, which meant that the midfield had to push forward to win the second balls, which then meant Henderson was isolated in the middle when Sevilla won it back and attacked us with their own high press.



Add to that, the aimless and unsuccessful long balls in the second half which were going to either a Sevilla player or our increasingly tiring front line off Mane, Coutinho, Firmino and Salah - only 4 out of 11 long balls from our half reached their target - and it's easy to see why the midfield ceased to function in the second half -



So as obvious as it might be to say the midfield couldn't control the game - they couldn't - the root cause wasn't necessarily the midfielders themselves. They were hard-working and technical midfielders trying to play a game that's alien to them, i.e. fighting for second-ball knockdowns in an area of the field where they were getting outnumbered by Sevilla's press and slight adjustment to a 4-2-3-1 for periods of the second half. Essentially, it became Gini and Henderson versus Sevilla, with Lovren and Klavan giving them plenty of opportunity to practice. If Matip was in there, I think we'd have seen a different game, because he is quite capable of carrying the ball forward into the midfield, which would have added a body into an outnumbered area, and also would have meant we retained possession a bit better.

Having said that, we didn't lose the lead because of the midfield, nor did we lose it exclusively because of Lovren and Klavan. We lost the lead because of the growing trend over the past number of years in football to leave the near and back posts uncovered during corners, and because Moreno sometimes doesn't look around before he tries adventurous play. The penalty we can't legislate for - it was a brainfart by Coutinho to give the ball there, it was a brainfart from Moreno to try and reverse cut the ball to his left side, and it was a second brainfart by him to stick out a leg to recover the ball he lost. Whether their player dived or not is immaterial - it was contact in the box, it was careless, and it gave the ref an opportunity to make a call, and he duly obliged. The Sevilla player was going nowhere, so it might have been best to let him retrieve the ball facing the sideline as he was, and then just prevent him from turning back in, while getting a second player to cover and add marking pressure to him. But Moreno is prone to mental errors, and this was another one.

But the key moments were the two set-pieces. Zonal marking at corners is a great way to spread players across an area of the goal, with a good transition shape for the outball, for a situation that doesn't, statistically, yield too many goals. The fact that both teams conceded from corners, though, just shows that the issue is not solely a Liverpool issue.  Even on the free kick, at that angle, we may have been better treating it like a corner, instead of dropping on the kick and crowding Karius. But still - a man got a free run to the near post, and angled a header past the keeper. That's the vulnerability of zonal defending on set-pieces. Whoever didn't track that man, has a fair bit to answer for. For the second one, a man on the far post might have had a chance to split the gap between him and Karius, and kept that one out. Either way, our attention on corners is dismal, and has been for a long, long time. We have (and have had in the past) a lot of players who ball-watch. It's not a new thing - it's not Rodgers' fault, and it's not Klopp's fault. It's the players fault. The only thing that could somewhat alleviate it is to switch to pure man-marking from corners. But that then creates its own problems, such as a lack of compactness in the central area of the box (where the ball lands most of the time), and a more haphazard positioning if the ball is won, which might hinder our lightning-fast positional counter-attacks.

There's no clear answer that doesn't involve scouting different types of players for defensive roles, or switching the marking system on set-pieces to something that demands more touch-tight responsibility for opposition players. Both solutions have their positives and negatives. But short of bringing Rafa back, getting Simeone in, or giving Steve Clarke a chance as Liverpool manager (in other words, we would need to break from FSG standards so far, and hire an actual defence-first manager), we're always going to be at risk from conceding silly set-piece goals.

But while last night's result stems from set-piece mishaps, the actual second-half performance comes mainly from our defence's inability to be composed on the ball under pressure, in order to give our midfielders a break and allow them to find position so that they might be able to dominate the midfield possession. Matip and Agger at the back, last night, for example, and we might have won that game 5 or 6-0.

« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 06:16:18 PM by PhaseOfPlay »
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Offline John C

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2017, 12:11:48 AM »
^^^
 :wave

Offline joekim87

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2017, 01:03:21 AM »
I have a question:

If Henderson and Can aren't the type of no.6 we need, then who in world football is a good example of an no.6 we need in the team?

I am personally a big fan of Henderson and Can but it seems that they don't 'own' a position in our system... Would Kante be a good example of a no.6 that would fit our system well? Or is it someone more like the younger Xabi Alonso or is it someone like Arturo Vidal? Or if we look for less talented examples, would Ki Sung Yueng from Swansea be the no.6 type we are looking for?

Offline Rush 82

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2017, 05:05:26 AM »
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Offline Avens

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2017, 05:15:21 AM »


 :D

Babu & PoP in the same thread  8)

Interesting to see analysis of the defenders' role in the collapse. It's normally the defence who get blamed initially, before people point out that the midfielders in front of them aren't offering protection - then they get the blame. It seems like on this occasion the CBs didn't give our midfield the chance to offer protection to them.

That said, given the odds of winning the match graph - is there a chance we were unlucky? Didn't we kinda shut the game down at 3-2? What did we do differently, if anything, after they scored the second? Because if we could have done that at 3-1 the game peters out and looks like a boring second half. And 3 points.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 05:25:46 AM by Avens »
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Offline Rush 82

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 06:12:03 AM »
Welcome back PoP

A pleasure to read your analysis  - summed up  something that was niggling at me about what went wrong perfectly

Offline jckliew

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 06:48:16 AM »
Welcome back PoP

A pleasure to read your analysis  - summed up  something that was niggling at me about what went wrong perfectly

Aye. POP. Missed your posts. 
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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2017, 08:07:28 AM »
This is great stuff. Thank you both for such considered opinions and insight!

Offline Coolie High

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2017, 08:18:38 AM »
:D

Babu & PoP in the same thread  8)

Interesting to see analysis of the defenders' role in the collapse. It's normally the defence who get blamed initially, before people point out that the midfielders in front of them aren't offering protection - then they get the blame. It seems like on this occasion the CBs didn't give our midfield the chance to offer protection to them.

That said, given the odds of winning the match graph - is there a chance we were unlucky? Didn't we kinda shut the game down at 3-2? What did we do differently, if anything, after they scored the second? Because if we could have done that at 3-1 the game peters out and looks like a boring second half. And 3 points.

 :champ

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2017, 08:19:55 AM »
Would we have done better had we played Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum instead?

For all his qualities, Wijnaldum is not really a CM per se. He is more comfortable operating just behind the strikers, making those late runs and playing quick passes forward.  Henderson was basically the only genuine CM playing in our side, against a very accomplished side with a solid midfield.

Hasn't Matip played as a DM for Schalke in the past? Can we benefit by playing an outright defensive player in midfield alongside the likes of Henderson? 
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Offline jepovic

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2017, 09:05:53 AM »
People have been focusing on the midfield. But the midfield did the same things in the second half as it did in the first half. The difference in the second half was that Klavan and Lovren increased their blind clearances 5-fold each, which meant that the midfield had to push forward to win the second balls, which then meant Henderson was isolated in the middle when Sevilla won it back and attacked us with their own high press.
.... (snip)

But while last night's result stems from set-piece mishaps, the actual second-half performance comes mainly from our defence's inability to be composed on the ball under pressure, in order to give our midfielders a break and allow them to find position so that they might be able to dominate the midfield possession. Matip and Agger at the back, last night, for example, and we might have won that game 5 or 6-0.
IMO, the clearances come from a lack of good options, which comes from a lack of movement from the midfield. Watch how our midfielders behave once our CBs gain possession: At best they're static, at worst they move away from the CBs, hiding within the crowd of Seville players. Our FBs also push too high. This is how Henderson manages to get the fewest touches in the team, with Gini marginally better. In most teams, the DM or the playmaker will drop down and help the CBs, often ending up between them.

I also noted that in the second half, Mane played left midfield. No idea why, but it wasn't helping Moreno.

Offline LiamG

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2017, 09:09:30 AM »

#1. Sevilla were opening up our half spaces, particularly on our left.
If you want to watch the game back, and I don't, this was a very noticeable occurrence. Klavan was also getting dragged out there way too much. Without a natural #6, we did a bad job of covering when that happened. Usually Gabriel Marcado (a real shithouse of a player btw) was maintaining width and dragging Moreno out to him, Sarabia was attacking the space that was creating. Or Sarabia would create an overload on that side to pin Moreno quite central and they would run off the back of him. Either way they had a lot of success on our left and gave Moreno so many problems to deal with, I think he was mentally exhaused at half time. However, while Gini was very disciplined in protecting this space on our right, which effective nullified Nolito, N'Zonzi & Escudero on that side most of the game, Coutinho was nowhere to be seen.



Result of moving coutinho  further back to midfield, if we had 2 Gini's our midfield surely would of been a lot better, which makes me think will Keita be more likely to replace Coutinho than Gini? (not in all games but in games we need to be more compact)

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2017, 10:41:49 AM »
:D

Babu & PoP in the same thread  8)

Interesting to see analysis of the defenders' role in the collapse. It's normally the defence who get blamed initially, before people point out that the midfielders in front of them aren't offering protection - then they get the blame. It seems like on this occasion the CBs didn't give our midfield the chance to offer protection to them.

That said, given the odds of winning the match graph - is there a chance we were unlucky? Didn't we kinda shut the game down at 3-2? What did we do differently, if anything, after they scored the second? Because if we could have done that at 3-1 the game peters out and looks like a boring second half. And 3 points.

Ha ha!  I instantly thought of Pacino and DeNiro..........never filmed in the same scene for donkeys years although they had both appeared in Godfather 2.  So was a massive massive deal when they finally appeared in the same scene in Heat.....cinematic history.

Babu and PoP in the same thread on RAWK.....history is being made folks.....enjoy  ;D

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2017, 10:47:16 AM »
29% possession must be one of our lowest on record with 11 men.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2017, 10:55:25 AM »
I think any criticism of midfield in terms of keeping the ball in this game would be slightly silly.

PoP illustrated all the mindless clearances, Karius and Lovren had over 35 long balls combined.

Had we even tried to pass out from the back and our midfield failed to keep the ball at any significant degree then yes they would deserve all the criticism they get but the ball was flying over their heads non-stop from minute one and for me it's pure laziness to look at them rather than the keeper and defenders who did their best Wimbledon `89 impersonation.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2017, 11:12:46 AM »
But while last night's result stems from set-piece mishaps, the actual second-half performance comes mainly from our defence's inability to be composed on the ball under pressure, in order to give our midfielders a break and allow them to find position so that they might be able to dominate the midfield possession. Matip and Agger at the back, last night, for example, and we might have won that game 5 or 6-0.

Isn't it a bit of a vicious circle? Our defenders are under more pressure second half because our midfield can't keep hold of the ball, the passing statistics from our midfield point to this issue too. Some calmness at the back would undoubtedly help, ultimately everyone in a red shirt wasn't composed on the night.

I also think for all of Seville's advantage second half, they were actually more blunt than the first half. They were getting into the right positions, but our center-backs were (by and large) dealing with it - I think it demonstrates how well players like Lovren work when the game isn't so stretched.

Moreno having a disastrous 10 minutes makes it hard to analyse, if he's composed we're all saying to ourselves after the game 'we did well to dig in there' - ultimately playing away against top sides there will be large parts of the game when you're under the cosh and have to simply defend. I think it's an aspect against the top sides we did well last season and was never really highlighted, Arsenal 4-3 aside.



:D

Offline redk84

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2017, 11:23:04 AM »
Cheers for the analysis. Couldn't have articulated better how we wore ourselves down.

The lack of ball retention and silly decisions made in possession was clear to even me when watching the match. In that 2nd half when the crowd got up and the Sevilla players showed a bit more we went into our collective shells and that is a problem we've seen for the last couple years.

We just kept on giving ourselves problems to deal with in too little time. The pressure became too much.
Almost got away with it after calming the game down somewhat but for the last minute goal which was like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There was a lot wrong with how we set out in the 2nd half...but individual errors did give Sevilla the spark they needed. Not once but twice and that cannot be ignored....there are reasons around it sure but they were costly mistakes nonetheless.

Personnel changes in our defence and midfield is the difference that we need in my honest opinion, but we will still be ok a majority of the time with our current lot.

These games will happen though unfortunately.
Much like the England batting lineup this morning we have it in us to collapse every now n then!
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Offline Funky_Gibbons

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2017, 11:32:16 AM »
Our midfield first half;

Henderson - 14 passes at 57%
Wijanaldum - 13 passes at 73%
Coutinho - 14 passes at 57%

total = 41 passes

Second half;

Henderson - 16 passes at 53%
Wijnsladum - 15 passes at 73%
Coutinho - 3 passes at 33% (substituted)
Can -  16 passes at 53%

Total = 50 passes

The idea that our defence just hoofed the ball and bypassed the midfield is wrong, the midfield saw as much of the ball in the second half as they did in the first half. For me, Sevilla pressed us higher in the second half and our midfield couldn't cope with it. The ball was constantly shifted backwards and the midfield didn't produce enough options for the centre backs and goalkeeper.

That's why between the three of them they had three clearances in the first half and 22 in the second half. On top of that you had the front three not holding the ball up and coughing up possession every time they got the ball.
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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2017, 11:42:17 AM »
Thanks for the in depth analysis Babu and Phase of Play, also thanks to Yorky for his detailed comments on Henderson yesterday in the post game thread.

One thing I will add is though, having watched Liverpool away performances in Europe over the years is that being put under pressure by a good side at home is nothing new. We have often had low possession, isolated forwards, had our midfields dominated etc. But the difference was the relative infrequency of individual errors.
On another day, we don't concede from an unnecessary free kick, we don't concede an avoidable pen and we ride out the 15 / 20 minutes at the start of the 2nd half, we may concede a late consolation, but we win 3-1. Professional performance, job done. Good sides will always have a spell, it's what they do, they'll also create chances (which they did in the 1st half). After their 2nd they didn't really create much, certainly no more than us, and this is what makes the mistakes so galling. Our errors don't just directly lead to goals, they give opposition crowds and players hope, hope leads to momentum which leads to pressure which leads to mistakes. I know all sides make mistakes, but ours are becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2017, 11:43:52 AM »
I think any criticism of midfield in terms of keeping the ball in this game would be slightly silly.

PoP illustrated all the mindless clearances, Karius and Lovren had over 35 long balls combined.

Had we even tried to pass out from the back and our midfield failed to keep the ball at any significant degree then yes they would deserve all the criticism they get but the ball was flying over their heads non-stop from minute one and for me it's pure laziness to look at them rather than the keeper and defenders who did their best Wimbledon `89 impersonation.
But you have to ask yourself why they do all these long balls. How are they supposed to play short when the midfield is hiding? The CBs have to deal with it, just like they have to deal with the opponent midfielders constantly running straight through our midfield.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2017, 11:51:43 AM »
But you have to ask yourself why they do all these long balls.
Nobody was hiding. Phil is one of the best midfielders in the world when it comes to receiving the ball under pressure and then turning away from it; it never looked like we even tried using him. It could easily have been a game plan given that we played in a similar fashion at W.Ham.

I never saw our GK and defenders hoofing after they got back passes from our midfielders (Hendo aside) it was always first time hoofing since minute one till the last. You can't dominate possession by combining second balls and passing out from the back. You need to insist on the latter in order to get into the rhythm and make opposition back off.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2017, 12:52:34 PM »
Thanks for the in depth analysis Babu and Phase of Play, also thanks to Yorky for his detailed comments on Henderson yesterday in the post game thread.

 Good sides will always have a spell, it's what they do, they'll also create chances (which they did in the 1st half). After their 2nd they didn't really create much, certainly no more than us, and this is what makes the mistakes so galling. Our errors don't just directly lead to goals, they give opposition crowds and players hope, hope leads to momentum which leads to pressure which leads to mistakes. I know all sides make mistakes, but ours are becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

Agreed with the above. We should also give some credit to Sevilla. If the reports were true, their players obviously responded to the coaches' emotional half time team talk, which fuelled the momentum. They don't lose at home often and it shows.

Id take top of the group and needing a draw to Spartak at home from the outset. If we cant achieve this, we don't deserve to be in it.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2017, 01:06:16 PM »
Just looking at the second half, as that's what we're all concerned about.

The intent right from the start wasn't really one to keep hold of the ball.  Straight away we pass it back, Lovren had a chance to pass it round the back on the floor to where the free players were in Klavan & Moreno.  But instead we hit it long, to no one in particular in a zone to Firmino / Mane, who neither can compete for it really.  The ball comes back and Klavan hits it long again. Then Klavan loses a header, Moreno makes a poor header himself and they can attack our box.  Their crowd get up and we have given that invitation from just a really poor start all round.  We could have passed the ball round the back and tried to control the game, but instead right from the first whistle we were going long.





I'm just looking at the first few minutes here, but some of the pressing was poor too.  You either go to win the ball if you can, if not you drop off a little.  You don't make it easy for the opposition to beat the press.  This is exactly what Coutinho does here.  Too easy and again brings more pressure to the midfield / defence which could have been avoided by more intelligent pressing.

Luckily the awful Henderson was in the right position to make the interception - he doesn't tackle though, so he must have done nothing all half!





We then are doing OK defensively for a patch.  Karius does a nice save coming off his line to punch.  Gomez expects Karius to come for a ball, so hesitate but deals with it fine.  Otherwise we're looking solid.  But then Mane should do better with a 50/50, not aggressive enough, which is unlike him.  Moreno pushes the opposition player over, when he's already on a yellow and the player is going away from goal - it's just really poor from him.  It gives them a chance in a dangerous area, which they take. 

I like this angle for the goal as it really shows our set up and their movement:




The ref doesn't help piling on the pressure giving them a free kick, when Coutinho just wins the ball.  Maybe because his studs were showing, but seemed very harsh!



I agree with Babu about Lovren.  I'm not his biggest fan, especially when it comes to his decision making & rashness.  But he really does attack the ball when it is in the box and is easily our best headerer (is that a word?) of the ball.  I actually think he had a good half.

We then have two good chances to relieve some pressure.  The first time, Salah wins a 50/50, gives the ball high up to Coutinho who tries a pass to Mane, which simply isn't on.  A poor decision and we're back defending again as a result.

Then Wijnaldum and Lovren seem to realise it's best to keep the ball to feet for a while.  Lovren gives the ball to Gomez who plays the right ball to Firmino up the pitch.  Firmino hasn't been able to win anything so far this half.  Not a header, not hold the ball up, his pressing seem off and he tries a flick to Salah instead of keeping the ball to relieve the pressue.  It doesn't work and again we're on the back foot.

Then comes the penalty incident.  I really have no issue with Coutinho's pass to Moreno.  Moreno should be able to deal with it.  He doesn't, which is fine, but then don't put out a lazy leg when the attacker is actually going away from goal, AGAIN.  Just track the run and it should be easily defended.



Not everything was bad though.  Karius makes another really good save, although it was offside.  Gomez makes a very good back post header.  Lovren is doing well also.  Moreno is struggling and is replaced, but even he did some good things, like a clearance off the line.

Their crowd are up now.  It is down to our poor plan right from the start, going long.  Our inability to keep the ball up the field when our attackrs had it (Firmino most guilty) and our stupid mistakes (Moreno being part of most of these in the last third).  I actually feel sorry for the midfield watching this second half performance again, as I think they are the least of the problems.  They aren't getting much of the ball that's for sure.

I'll analyse the rest of the half later, Moreno has just been subbed!

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2017, 01:10:38 PM »
Very thought provoking.

I too found it impossible to re-view that match (or any of the other games this mid-week, I just wanted a rest from football).

I wouldn’t want to dwell on, nor highlight, any differences in the two analyses above. Both are extremely insightful and should be viewed as complementary to one another, not antagonistic.

I believe both to essentially highlight two big weaknesses in our current team/squad. The first is composure - or more accurately lack of it at key moments. Klopp’s succinct analysis after the game was telling, “we stopped playing football”. The second big weakness is one that different observers or supporters have different names for. There were lots of references to it in the immediate aftermath of the game, and it’s something that Liverpool teams of the “glory” years, and when Rafa was boss, had in spades. Sevilla “played” the referee for the whole game; our players didn’t. We are too nice when confronted with cunning.

I’m reminded of another team that has historically played with the same beliefs and football philosophy when these discussions are made. A team similarly set up to play technical, fluid football with rapid transitions, a high premium on courage and technique in possession, and a tendency to thus have a preponderance of small, agile, skilful and tactically astute players: Barcelona.

(Off the field I’m decidedly not a fan btw, but as a template for how the game can be approached, they are exemplary).

The defenders for Barcelona have to have composure as a prerequisite - when a team presses high against them it's not unusual to see risks being taken. They are the antithesis of the “clear your f****ng lines” approach most of us were brought up watching.

But Barcelona players have cunning too; at times, too much for the purist.

I’ve made this somewhat unfair comparison to the most successful team of the past decade, because I believe we need more technically proficient and tactically aware players in key positions. We’re not the finished article, and I’m sure Klopp knows that, and has plans...
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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2017, 01:22:58 PM »
I have a question:

If Henderson and Can aren't the type of no.6 we need, then who in world football is a good example of an no.6 we need in the team?

I am personally a big fan of Henderson and Can but it seems that they don't 'own' a position in our system... Would Kante be a good example of a no.6 that would fit our system well? Or is it someone more like the younger Xabi Alonso or is it someone like Arturo Vidal? Or if we look for less talented examples, would Ki Sung Yueng from Swansea be the no.6 type we are looking for?

The player we sign to replace Can will be the signing I am most interested in for the summer. I think the success we have in implementing Klopp system and competing for trophies is almost entirely dependant on getting that signing right - no pressure :D

To answer your question, I should probably first be very specific what Handerson & Can lack making them the wrong "type" of midfielder.

Imagine everything a footballer does falls into one of three categories - Technical, Tactical or Physical. British footballers tend to excel physically because for a long time the top academies would cut players because they weren't big enough, strong enough, fast enough, etc. The academies were then building up the technical side of the game. The result is a good physical &/or technical players coming through who are poor tactically. We don't, or very rarely, produce players who excel tactically in this country. Even now you look around some of the top prospects that have come through and if you ranked their games in terms of those three categories, more often than not it's the tactical side that is least developed in the likes of Barkley, Alli, Henderson, Chamberlain, Stones, Sterling, Rashford. It is why I believe the English side struggles so much at international level because physically and technically they can hold their own against most sides. Which means if they can make the game be played on their level at a high pace or physical battle, they can beat anybody. If it becomes a more tactical, patient, methodical game, they get picked off.

Italian, German & Dutch football would be the opposite. They will churn out players who are tactically great who are weaker either physically (Aquilani) or technically (*cough* Kuyt *cough*) than what we would be used to. Then you have latin countries who are good at spitting out highly technical players.

Btw this is where the comparison of Dier and Xabi come into play here which left everyone scratching their heads. Because physically Dier is everything Xabi wasn't. Technically few can even dream of doing the things Xabi could, and certainly not Dier. But tactically, they both excel - which makes him a rare breed for English players. His movements as a DM are similar to Xabi. He isn't hammering around the pitch like Kante nailing everything that enters the final 3rd. He's closing up spaces and pushing play away from dangerous areas.

Can probably breaks the mould here somewhat for German midfielders as he is a beast of a player and is technically good but for a center midfield, he is tactically very poor. You look at the players who played CM for Bayern after he was sold - the likes of Xabi, Kimmich, Vidal, Lahm - they all had excellent 360 awareness of the game. Xabi, in particular, his head never stops moving, making micro movements to correct his position to close up spaces before they have a chance to open up. They are players who excel at making sure they are in the right position whereas ours are runners - players who get caught in the wrong positions often and then need to run to solve it. When you are an excellent runner, and are likely praised for that energy up to the point you are a pro, no opportunity comes up to have them improve tactically rather than rely on running to get them out of the problems it causes.

The exception to that is Gini who is tactically very good and is constantly moving around trying to plug those gaps before they appear. The problem is, in a midfield that is so tactically poor - there are so many gaps that he is fighting an uphill battle. However, put him beside Lallana - who is excellent tactically as well, likely due to needing to be smarter to survive in academies again all the physical beasts and we have a nice screen in front of Henderson that doesn't allow gaps to appear. A similar thing happened against Hoffenheim, Arsenal and Bayern earlier in the season with Firmino dropping into midfield. We would have Firmino in front of Henderson, Gini behind Can. We were harder to play through once more. Which makes the decision to use him more as a focal point striker even more frustrating. The closest we had to that tactical stability in midfield this season was perhaps Milner & Gini in front of Henderson against Palace. Unfortunately it's a midfield which did little to link play, create or support the attack.

Then you look at all the midfielders Klopp used for Dortmund and the tactical side of their game stood out first. Kehl & Bender (Tactical & Physical), Gundogan & Sahin (Tactical & Technical). Which makes me wonder why he persists with midfielders who are not at the level tactically that he would normally require. Which leaves me with some possible suggestions:-
1. He is making best use of what he has to give important players at the club time to fight for a position before making changes.
2. He believe trying to adapt players he has to the roles is a preferable solution than trying to adapt players signed for those roles to the club/league/country.
3. He saw Sahin's struggles here as a problem in terms of players who were not physically inferior to the rest of the league. This made him question signing similar to what he had in the past and believing he perhaps needs more runners here than in Germany. Gundogan's inability to stay fit here more than a few games may support this idea.

So back to your question of what "type" we need if not Henderson or Can - we basically need a player in that role who excels tactically. Then you can go in either direction. You have the tactical/technical players like Jorginho, Verratti, Ruben Neves, Weigl and of course, Xabi in there. Or tactical/physical players like Fabinho, Dier, Saul, Matic.

Given our system, and the lack of height we have in the side in general, I suspect #6 in one of the few positions Klopp can add height to the team without losing anything in terms of the pressing side of the game. Therefore we can probably eliminate those quarterback types like Jorginho would would probably end up as #8s in Klopp's system rather than #6's. However, with Keita coming in plus Lallana & Gini already here, we don't need to stock up on more #8 type options. So I suspect whoever we target will look a lot like Weigl, Fabinho, Ruben Neves, Saul even if likely not those specific players. All players who are 6'0 - 6'2, excellent tactically, good-excellent technically and decent-excellent mobility. Read any interview with Ljinders and you will hear him name drop Ruben Neves at least once I'm sure. Then watch him for Wolves running the show in midfield against Leeds last night - I personally would have him high on the list of potential candidates and something of a Mascherano signing perhaps in his strange path to the top of the English game?

:D

Babu & PoP in the same thread  8)

Interesting to see analysis of the defenders' role in the collapse. It's normally the defence who get blamed initially, before people point out that the midfielders in front of them aren't offering protection - then they get the blame. It seems like on this occasion the CBs didn't give our midfield the chance to offer protection to them.

That said, given the odds of winning the match graph - is there a chance we were unlucky? Didn't we kinda shut the game down at 3-2? What did we do differently, if anything, after they scored the second? Because if we could have done that at 3-1 the game peters out and looks like a boring second half. And 3 points.

As mentioned in my OP, the big difference Can made was shutting down that left half space where they were killing us from the entire first hour. Coutinho was an absolute passenger in there off the ball and did nothing to halt progress in that zone in the first hour. Therefore no longer was it Klavan+Moreno v 4 from Sevilla on that side of the pitch. We had someone pressing the ball carrier, someone tracking the deep runner, someone watching the wide forward and someone watching the center forward trying to find space in that zone.

Would we have done better had we played Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum instead?

For all his qualities, Wijnaldum is not really a CM per se. He is more comfortable operating just behind the strikers, making those late runs and playing quick passes forward.  Henderson was basically the only genuine CM playing in our side, against a very accomplished side with a solid midfield.

Hasn't Matip played as a DM for Schalke in the past? Can we benefit by playing an outright defensive player in midfield alongside the likes of Henderson?
Better in terms of protecting the defence = yes. In terms of linking play, creating and supporting the attack = no.

This is the biggest problem we have really. Our midfield needs to perform all four of those tasks every game. When you get a bad performance, one or more of those tasks isn't happening. That is likely true of every bad performance from every team, ever. You can find something going wrong in midfield which results in you losing control of the game.

Whenever we have 3 from Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum & Milner - we struggle to link play, create or support the attack. They will be able to do some of those tasks, depending on how they play their roles, but not all of them. Whenever we are without Gini &/or Lallana, we will likely struggle to protect the defence. Whenever we are without Coutinho &/or Lallana we will likely struggle to link play/create. So trying to pick a winning formula from available options becomes a problem.

What is interesting is the composition of Ljinders midfield in his dominant U18 side when he first came to the club.
Quote
"We played all season almost the same style. We had 3-diamond-3. We started with the ideas of a high pressing game and that we don’t defend our goal, we defend the midline. The idea was the attackers were the first defenders, so it was total football.

And there are certain positions in that structure where overload situations, offensively and defensively, develop. These are key positions. Six and 10.

We try and find the best player to construct the game out from the back, to have the right timings, to have the pause and ability to speed it up. And Trent always plays there. No. 6. My Ruben Neves. I always put Trent at 6. Why? Because every attack he is the main guy, the pivot, the lighthouse of the team, guiding the rest.

And the second key position is the No. 10 position. Because this player has to structure the press, to be able to jump to the centre-halves at the right time and he gets stressed offensively and defensively. And my 10 was Ben Woodburn for the whole season.

Trent and Ben went through a big big development since then—and the very biggest development was Jurgen putting them in.

Now we don't play 3-4-3 of course. However, if you go back to last season and rewatch our games, you will see our buildup formation is actually 3-4-3. Our center backs would split. Henderson drops in to make a 3. Our full backs push up and the assymetric staggering of midfield gives us something of a diamond in midfield with usually Gini the deeper point and Lallana the top point. However, the midfield problems so far this season has seen us move away from this. As mentioned again in my OP, this is causing bigger problems though with a clear seperation between the lines of our formation now, it is easier to isolate them from each other in the build up play which saw Sevilla do so with our midfield. I also mentioned it in my OP for the West Ham game.

It is interesting to note how Ljinders (and therefore Klopp) would like the midfield to function and how he talks about the roles of the two most important midfielders in the team. If he was to analyse Henderson's performance using the terms "the main guy, the pivot, the lighthouse of the team, guiding the rest" for Tuesday, how would he score? Likewise for Coutinho "this player has to structure the press, to be able to jump to the centre-halves at the right time and he gets stressed offensively and defensively" - how would he score? Also when you read that sentence the first name that pops into your head is Lallana for me, every time. We miss him. Or someone like him.

I also disagree on Gini. He can perform either of those roles at a high level. As mentioned he shut the attacking avenues down on our right and protected Gomez excellent. If we had another Gini instead of Coutinho in front of Moreno, the second half looks very different to me.

And yes, Matip played DM for Schalke on rare occasion. We could do that if we moved back to the 3-4-3 I mentioned in build up as we were last season. However with our new conservative full backs, I think the ability of our midfield to link play would fall even more. The composition of Klopp's Dortmund midfield though was a Matip-type (Kehl) next to a Gundogan/Sahin more often than not.

IMO, the clearances come from a lack of good options, which comes from a lack of movement from the midfield. Watch how our midfielders behave once our CBs gain possession: At best they're static, at worst they move away from the CBs, hiding within the crowd of Seville players. Our FBs also push too high. This is how Henderson manages to get the fewest touches in the team, with Gini marginally better. In most teams, the DM or the playmaker will drop down and help the CBs, often ending up between them.

I also noted that in the second half, Mane played left midfield. No idea why, but it wasn't helping Moreno.

Agreed with all of that. I think going long was instruction because our midfielders weren't dealing with the ball. By moving away from the defenders on the ball, they are giving them more time & space on the ball to better find players beyond our midfield line. Again, a far from ideal workaround due to the options we have in central midfield.

Result of moving coutinho  further back to midfield, if we had 2 Gini's our midfield surely would of been a lot better, which makes me think will Keita be more likely to replace Coutinho than Gini? (not in all games but in games we need to be more compact)

Perhaps. Without a #6 we would certainly need two of Gini/Lallana/Keita in front of Hendo/Can for it to work well IMO. However, I suspect we will move to Klopp's preferred 4-2-3-1 once we have the right players for the side. Which means Origi/Solanke/another leading the line, Keita/Gini as #8 and a new player as #6.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 01:24:54 PM by BabuYagu »
Gonna stay behind at work and wait to see what happens.

I am betting some split arse and crying.

Offline a clueless whopper

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2017, 01:31:37 PM »
All good analysis.

Question I would ask is what was Banega's average position in the 2nd half?

Why was Karius in such a rush to get rid of it? At one point he booted the ball completely out of play.

Offline jepovic

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2017, 01:42:57 PM »
The first gif above shows exactly what I mean with our CMs hiding. Watch how none of them are reachable for a pass, or even trying to become reachable. The CBs can basically choose to hoof directly, pass eachother and then hoof, or pass Karius and let him hoof. And with our players being so static, we'd need CBs with Alonso-level of passing to find a team mate.

Then when we lose the ball, which is the most likely result, our CMs are much too high up to defend, which makes the counter attack more dangerous.

Watch some clip of Lucas or Gerrard in the same role as Henderson. They'd drop between the CBs, play a few short passes, make the opponents work.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 01:54:39 PM by jepovic »

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2017, 01:53:25 PM »
All good analysis.

Question I would ask is what was Banega's average position in the 2nd half?

Why was Karius in such a rush to get rid of it? At one point he booted the ball completely out of play.

The long balls has to be a tactical instruction as that is easy to correct if it's not &/or we would have seen gestures for it to change from Klopp, the defence, Henderson, someone if it wasn't. The alternative, that Karius & the defence was doing that  of their own accord and nobody said or did anything to correct it is far worse. THAT would frighten me.
Gonna stay behind at work and wait to see what happens.

I am betting some split arse and crying.

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2017, 02:01:15 PM »
The first gif above shows exactly what I mean with our CMs hiding. Watch how none of them are reachable for a pass, or even trying to become reachable. The CBs can basically choose to hoof directly, pass eachother and then hoof, or pass Karius and let him hoof. And with our players being so static, we'd need CBs with Alonso-level of passing to find a team mate.

Then when we lose the ball, which is the most likely result, our CMs are much to high up to defend, which makes the counter attack more dangerous.

Watch some clip of Lucas or Gerrard in the same role as Henderson. They'd drop between the CBs, play a few short passes, make the opponents work.

I would disagree. All three mids were in a good position and space to receive a ball from Lovren, but he merely controls it and launches it, despite not being under any pressure. He could have switched it to Klavan, who could have then switched it to Moreno, dragged the Sevilla forward across, then they could have switched it back to Lovren who would have had more time and space to pick a better ball. This is the problem I was pointing out. It's not the long-balls - they were pretty bad in the second half as they almost always went to a Sevilla player. It's the clearances, which are just rushed launches to nobody in particular. Our central defenders panicked in the second half. The midfield can't be blamed for that in terms of possession, because they weren't being given enough time to get into position to receive or draw Sevilla players away. The ball would go loose to Lovren or Klavan, and then BANG! - up the field it went, forcing the mids to turn and push up, which created a gap between defence and midfield, and around Henderson. Possession requires position, and position requires time, which is why good possession teams have a number of good dribblers in the middle and attack, and at least one in the defence. We played with two defenders who turned into Pulis-type defenders for 45 minutes (in stark contrast to the first 45), lashing almost every ball at their feet up into the Sevilla half, by design or by default. A bit more composure in the back and our mids would have had a chance to get their angles and distances, receive from the defenders, and build up the play. As it was, though, they spend a lot of time watching the ball sail over their heads.

We had 10 clearances in the first half, and 33 clearances in the second. Sevilla raised the level of their defensive pressure, changed shape a bit, and pushed their offside line further up the pitch, in the second half. And from that point on, our defenders flaked and panicked, and proceeded to play like 10 year olds, smashing the ball up the field, over the mids heads, and onto the forwards who were losing every header. Do that for 45 minutes, and you're going to give up some hefty chances that create goals or goal-scoring situations, which we did.  As I said, Matip in their instead of Klavan or Lovren, and I think our midfield would look a lot more composed, and we come away with the win.
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Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2017, 02:05:11 PM »
The long balls has to be a tactical instruction as that is easy to correct if it's not &/or we would have seen gestures for it to change from Klopp, the defence, Henderson, someone if it wasn't. The alternative, that Karius & the defence was doing that  of their own accord and nobody said or did anything to correct it is far worse. THAT would frighten me.

For the long balls, I would agree, Babu. But sometimes players get ideas into their heads, and all the shouting and instructing in the world won't stop them. The clearances, though, were on the players. I can't believe that Klopp would tell his players to just clear the ball anywhere, when Sevilla weren't really giving us reason to for the entire first half. I think it was more a case of panic at the back, and midfield being caught between two ideas as a result, which then isolated the attackers.
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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2017, 02:11:39 PM »
I would disagree. All three mids were in a good position and space to receive a ball from Lovren, but he merely controls it and launches it, despite not being under any pressure. He could have switched it to Klavan, who could have then switched it to Moreno, dragged the Sevilla forward across, then they could have switched it back to Lovren who would have had more time and space to pick a better ball.

Yeah, the CM push out to create space for us to pass it round the back.  You actually don't want a CM to start deep near the CB in that situation.  You want them to push out, then drop deep at the right time to receive the pass.  Pushing out created the space to pass it round the back from Lovren, to Klavan to Moreno - where the space was and then we keep the ball and are in control.

Instead we just launch it long into an area where Sevilla are more likely to win it and they do, so we just gift possession right from minute 1.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2017, 03:27:50 PM »
The long balls has to be a tactical instruction as that is easy to correct if it's not &/or we would have seen gestures for it to change from Klopp, the defence, Henderson, someone if it wasn't. The alternative, that Karius & the defence was doing that  of their own accord and nobody said or did anything to correct it is far worse. THAT would frighten me.

I assumed it was tactical but there were multiple instances in the second half and i thought it was mad that no player told Karius to hold onto it. I know Football is going away from the shouty approach but even if it was a Klopp instruction I would have lost my shit with Karius there.

On a similar theme, i was wondering why we didnt get someone to sit on Banega. He was the player they wanted to get on the ball and from my memory he sat a bit deeper (could be wrong). Was wondering why Firmino didnt just shadow him.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2017, 03:40:08 PM »
I assumed it was tactical but there were multiple instances in the second half and i thought it was mad that no player told Karius to hold onto it. I know Football is going away from the shouty approach but even if it was a Klopp instruction I would have lost my shit with Karius there.

On a similar theme, i was wondering why we didnt get someone to sit on Banega. He was the player they wanted to get on the ball and from my memory he sat a bit deeper (could be wrong). Was wondering why Firmino didnt just shadow him.

We don't really do man marking in this system for the reason that it's easier to open up holes in our press if we do. The closest would be man-oriented zonal marking, which you can see with Poch sides often. In that case it would be either Firmino dropping in, as you suggested, or Henderson pushing up on him in the moments he enters the area we are pressing - which seemed to be quite deep.

It looks like we were going for space-oriented zonal marking. Keeping our shape with one man pressing out onto the carrier. Trying to stay narrow and compact and encouraging them to look for wider options than play through the middle. The problem I saw with this was Coutinho wasn't doing the job properly on the left. He was standing off the ball carrier too much in his zone and was frequently out of position, looking to break forward or slow to get back. As a result our left half space was quite open. Banega was drifting into it and Coutinho wasn't there to deal with him. It was noticable how many times Klavan or Moreno stepped out of defence to press threats in the midfield line during the game - which is a very clear sign of a midfield problem.

For the long balls, I would agree, Babu. But sometimes players get ideas into their heads, and all the shouting and instructing in the world won't stop them. The clearances, though, were on the players. I can't believe that Klopp would tell his players to just clear the ball anywhere, when Sevilla weren't really giving us reason to for the entire first half. I think it was more a case of panic at the back, and midfield being caught between two ideas as a result, which then isolated the attackers.

Isn't this a discussion of cause & effect though? Was the clearances causing the midfield to have no impact on the game and us to fail to keep the ball, or was the midfield being poor on the ball and getting easily isolated by Sevilla's pressing and their own poor movements to open up passing lanes causing us to just by pass the midfield rather than fall into the Sevilla pressing trap in midfield? I saw it as the latter. The fact the tactical instruction second half for the defence seemed to just be "go long early" would indicate Klopp didn't want his midfield to get on the ball. Therefore I assume the plan was to try and aim for an area we had 2 or 3 players on the left forming a pressing triangle (Mane, Firmino, Coutinho) and then try to win the ball on the counter press from those three and set off Salah. Which failed because that trio didn't win much first, second or third balls and the counter pressing was poor.
Gonna stay behind at work and wait to see what happens.

I am betting some split arse and crying.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2017, 04:04:15 PM »
I am siding with the former :D

There is a distinction - both in OPTA definitions, and for me personally - between a "Clearance" and a "Long Ball", and the distinction rests on the action immediately preceding the delivery, i.e. for long balls, they are usually preceded by a received pass, a dribble/set-up touch, and the attacking team being in possession - as opposed to a clearance which is usually preceded by the opposition having the ball, the ball becoming loose, and the defender launching it usually on the first touch, to nobody in particular, in order to relieve some pressure at the back. We went from 10 first-half clearances to 33 second-half clearances, and the only real shift in the second half was Sevilla pushing up higher on our offside line, so for me the cause of the increase in clearances was the inability to hold the ball under that pressure (the defenders didn't have to play through midfield, but one of the key outcomes of pressing is that you put the 1st Attackers under pressure so that they can't look up and see the field, which creates these clearances as they have to get rid, and then you win it back and push forward in possession again). So for me (and I might change my mind if I see the second half again, I'm going off my initial impressions as I was watching the game), the clearances increased because of a lack of defensive composure, which created the gaps in midfield and caused the separation of the three units, which allowed Sevilla to get a foothold of the game and force the game onto us in a way we weren't comfortable with. More constructive play at the back would have helped, even if Klopp wanted us to go long. The difference between a good long ball game and kick-and-rush is the time created to play the long ball in the first place, and our defenders weren't giving themselves enough time to play that ball properly, and this created a domino effect in midfield which caused the midfield to separate and get "lost" on the field, no knowing whether to press as instructed, or drop to attack the second balls. But as I said, if I get to watch the second half again, I could change my mind on that :)
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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2017, 06:27:59 PM »
Some great analysis in here.
A few things to add from me are pretty much confirming what i believe Lovren is much better at RCB,Karius looked a lot more assured,a couple of very fine saves onto the woodwork albeit one turned out to be offside.
Bob 1 on 1 finish seals it..sighs*.
Hendo's limitations were exposed goodo.
I still believe the ref was shambolic,some nothing tackles given like a typical homeboy cowering to the whining partisan crowd.
The gif up there with Phil prime example..i thought the penalty award was pathetic,contact..yes .so fucking what..enough to make im go down..no fucking chance..delayed simulation & i don't give a fuck if anyone challenges that.
Moreno ballsed up..back to his last seasons standards with that dart out of position & shove..him on the near post tho,dont get that at all & yep he should of challenged tho.
We sorely missed Lallana in that 2nd half,would have been so much better if he could have made the bench,there was no link/cohesion at all.
A rarity for me where i can move on fast from this as a draw is a good result & would have took it pre match.
We will win the final group match here,confident of that.
Support the team,Trust & Believe.

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2017, 08:20:34 PM »
Rite, bookmarked - and of for a glass of wine or a pint for the return.

Ta lads, keep it up (and civil!)
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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2017, 09:50:39 PM »
Thanks for the in depth analysis Babu and Phase of Play, also thanks to Yorky for his detailed comments on Henderson yesterday in the post game thread.

One thing I will add is though, having watched Liverpool away performances in Europe over the years is that being put under pressure by a good side at home is nothing new. We have often had low possession, isolated forwards, had our midfields dominated etc. But the difference was the relative infrequency of individual errors.
On another day, we don't concede from an unnecessary free kick, we don't concede an avoidable pen and we ride out the 15 / 20 minutes at the start of the 2nd half, we may concede a late consolation, but we win 3-1. Professional performance, job done. Good sides will always have a spell, it's what they do, they'll also create chances (which they did in the 1st half). After their 2nd they didn't really create much, certainly no more than us, and this is what makes the mistakes so galling. Our errors don't just directly lead to goals, they give opposition crowds and players hope, hope leads to momentum which leads to pressure which leads to mistakes. I know all sides make mistakes, but ours are becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

Good post mate. I largely agree. We had a the chances to stick another couple past them. The key thing for me to seeing out that game is controlling the tempo, slowing it down, waste some time, frustrate the crowd & in turn, the players. Break up the pressure with some possession or a series of set pieces of our own to pin them in their own half for a few minutes to give our defensive players the chance to reset mentally.

Now given this is a Klopp side, his aim would likely to be to pin them back into their own half rather than defending our own. Therefore I guess he wanted to play for territory, then counter press the second ball and push them back that way. That was the plan I think.
Gonna stay behind at work and wait to see what happens.

I am betting some split arse and crying.

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: Roundtable: Sevilla 3 - 3 Liverpool
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2017, 12:18:05 AM »
Good post mate. I largely agree. We had a the chances to stick another couple past them. The key thing for me to seeing out that game is controlling the tempo, slowing it down, waste some time, frustrate the crowd & in turn, the players. Break up the pressure with some possession or a series of set pieces of our own to pin them in their own half for a few minutes to give our defensive players the chance to reset mentally.

Now given this is a Klopp side, his aim would likely to be to pin them back into their own half rather than defending our own. Therefore I guess he wanted to play for territory, then counter press the second ball and push them back that way. That was the plan I think.

Wide words. It always seems to me that, bar one exception, we're constantly looking for an amalgam of our previous managers to get us to where we want to be, because extreme possession and resting on the ball would have been perfect against Sevilla, which is what Rodgers brought; Klopp's way got us in front; and Rafa's tactics would have changed the game once the first goal went in.

Instead of investing in transfer committees, analytics, and moneyball, maybe they should be throwing their money into building a management cyborg. A Voltron of football coaches, if you will.
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