Author Topic: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game  (Read 15829 times)

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« on: December 15, 2017, 05:45:12 AM »
So another draw, another 90 minutes or so of frustration, and another controversial referee decision that has us all arguing about what's right, what's wrong, and whether there is an international conspiracy of referees and assorted officials that want to be an eternal spoke in the LFC wheel. As much as these points are pertinent to varying degrees, it doesn't hide the fact that yet again we've dominated a game and come away with a kick in the bollocks. But it's not a two-game streak that we will hopefully play our way out of. It's actually becoming a trend. And the unfortunate thing is that it is probably happening because of all the good things Jurgen Klopp is bringing to Liverpool.

The Numbers

We had 70% possession against West Brom. That's Guardiola levels of possessing the ball. We had 75% against Everton. Those are numbers that would have the football journalisti (I've made up that word) creaming themselves if it were Barcelona. But we have nothing to show for it except a bloody nose and four points down the drain – four points we badly need. These weren't two draws gained from a valiant effort in the rearguard against wave after wave of attack. They are draws where Liverpool had so much of the ball both West Brom and Everton were practically demanding to take our throw-ins just so they could remember what it was like to have the ball at all. But was the possession effective possession?

Well, for a start, the most passes were played by Dejan Lovren. The second-most passes were jointly held by Klavan and Coutinho. Robertson had more passes than Firmino, more than Mane, and more than Salah, and more than any two of those combined. Lovren had more passes than all three together. So we had 70% possession, but we had it in the wrong areas. This is partly because West Brom were positioned in a compact defensive shell that they were looking to break from. But also because we're very good at actually keeping the ball. But herein lies the problem.

You can't Geg without Pressing, and you can't press when you have the ball

Klopp has said “No play-maker in the world can be as good as a good counter-pressing situation.” This is the basis of his entire philosophy, the cornerstone of his entire success, and the single tactical principle that informs his training, strategy, team selection and transfer preferences. It makes sense – teams are most vulnerable immediately after gaining possession, as they try to build position in order to develop their own attacks. The central point of any type of counter-pressing game is that winning the ball back early, and high up the pitch, will create attacking gaps that can be exploited by all nearest players to the ball, which will negate the need for any one player to be a play-maker It has high technical, physical and mental demands, but contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, it is not something that requires hours of tactical work to figure out – although it does require a lot of repetition to make sure players learn to not switch off, because the logical conclusion of counter-pressing is that if your opponent is most vulnerable immediately after winning possession, then so too would the counter-pressing team, on their own attacking transitions. So lots of mental reaction, physical endurance training, and tactical repetition is the order of the day.

A short digression

What is the difference between all of these terms? They sometimes get used interchangeably, by pundits, journos, bloggers, and supporters alike. But are they all the same?

The answer is no. There are levels of sophistication involved, and levels of player involvement. Some parts of it are absolutely required in every defensive phase, while others are tactical and strategic choices made by the coaches and players.

Firstly, there is “Pressure”. “Pressure” is basically the first principle of defending – the nearest defensive player closes down the attacker with the ball, and from there has a choice of three actions – tackle for the ball, contain them to prevent forward passing and movement, or jockey them to a predesignated area of the field as a trigger to their fellow defenders to get a compact shape and prepare to intercept and mark the opposition attackers. Defending under Rodgers was almost entirely based on this principle – the nearest defender pressured the attacker, if he got beat, the next nearest defender stepped in and pressured, if he got beat, the next nearest again, etc. It's easy to see how a domino effect could happen in these situations, which is rather much how we conceded a lot of goals under Rodgers

Secondly, there is “Pressing”. This is the coordinated movement of defensive players to reduce the space the opposition have to play in, and to knock them off their own playing rhythm. The idea is to win the ball back as early as possible. After that, the options vary. The Irish team under Jack Charlton were masters of it, making sure that the opposition spent more time facing their own goal than they would have liked to. Guardiola's Barcelona made sure the opposition didn't have the ball for more than 6 seconds if possible. But where both teams diverged is what happened when they won the ball – for Ireland, it was a big, lofted ball into the “mixer”; for Barca, it was possession, resting on the ball, and getting players into position in order to play combinations or free Messi up to create chances.

Lastly, there is counter-pressing, or Gegenpressing in the German vernacular. This is much like “Pressing”, but the final objective is different. The object of counter-pressing is to use the moment of transition as a means to score goals in gaps created by the opposition moving wide and long to create attacking options for themselves, which in turn creates large spaces for quick, one-touch football to be played directly to goal. It is much the same as how a counter-puncher fights in a boxing match – using the opponent's own attacking actions and momentum against themselves by hitting them in the gaps they create by trying to launch their own attacks.

The "Fatal Flaw" of Gegenpressing

The problem with Gegenpressing is a simple one – in order to counter-PRESS, the other team has to actually launch an attack. And to launch an attack, they have to actually have the ball (or if they do have it, they need to want to use it constructively). Some teams have twigged this, and have instead developed their entire game-plan around not having the ball (much like Inter did under Mourinho against Barca in 2010). That means a lot of long balls over the top, a lot of clearances, and hoping for the best. But that also means a lot of possession for the counter-pressing team. Other teams (like West Brom), will clear the ball, but will also try to attack with 2-3 players only, not committing any back players forward if they can help it. The result of this is usually a few attacks, that are quickly snuffed out. Which, again, means the counter-pressing team have a lot of the ball.

We've seen this from a number of games under Klopp. Any time we've had 65% or more in a game, we've failed to win an average of 65% of the time (the matching number is purely coincidental!). So in those games, we've absolutely dominated the ball, and have failed to win  2 out of every 3 games. This makes sense – we're a team trained and designed (for a large part) to press, press, press, and attack, rinse and repeat. But we can't press if we have the ball. And if we have the ball 2/3's of the game, it limits our counter-pressing opportunities, which means that any team who understand this, will know they only have to keep their discipline and shape, not get too unhappy with seeing little of the ball, and make sure any mistakes they make in possession are made in the Liverpool half of the pitch, without committing numbers forward.

For a team to have the ball for 65% or more of the game (and we've gone as high as 80% - the Burnley game last year that we lost 2-0), they should be looking at a handy win. But teams who seek out that kind of high possession (a Rodgers team, for example), they would want to have a high number of play-making, creative players in the attack, and they would want to be focusing their physical tactics on positioning with the ball.

But a team built on counter-pressing can't play with those kinds of attacking players, if they don't also bring enormous physical effort. A team built on counter-pressing doesn't really want to have 65/70/80% of the ball. It would actually work out better if the other team had that kind of possession (unless the opposition is Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, and ref comes from Keystone Kops-R-Us). Possession in football matches is never really 50/50. It's usually 55% to 45% in favour of one team. A team getting between 55-64% possession is probably a passing team who like to build moves, but who aren't averse to the occasional punt forward.

A team with 65% or more, though, really needs a lot of creativity on the ball in the attack, otherwise the possession can (and often does) become sterile – defence to midfield, back to defence, back to midfield, switch left, switch right, teasing ball into the attack, safe pass back out into midfield, back to defence, back to the keeper, and start all over again. This is not conducive to scoring a lot of goals. With this amount of possession, the ball really needs to be  kept in the attacking third and just before it, like Barca used to do, or City under Pellegrini. It creates a dilemma for a manager like Klopp – should he persist with the ideas, and hope to recruit quicker-playing, more creative attackers to catch up to the possession and make it fruitful? Or should he change the game-plan so that possession is more of the focus than counter-pressing? Striking a balance between the two is a tough act. We couldn't do it against West Brom. We couldn't do it against Everton. Or a number of teams since October 2015. If more teams twig to that vulnerability of the Klopp plan, will that force Jurgen to change completely, or will he find that minor adaptation that turns a coaches stalling ideas into a fresh new plan that revives the team's way of winning? It remains to be seen. But West Brom – straight after Everton – showed that there is a wrinkle in the fabric of the Kloppification of the team. A wrinkle that – if ironed out – will put the tactical variety of the team on another level.
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Offline Kopstar

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 06:51:30 AM »
 :wellin
Fantastic. It will only get worse too. We badly need a central midfield playmaker to control the game and another to break the lines (Keita).
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Offline goalrushatgoodison

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 07:39:11 AM »
Brilliantly presented and articulates, I would expect, for many what they feel about our problems with the Bus parkers.

Very very unusually, I haven't seen anything of Wednesday's match so my  observations are more general, as indeed was a lot of your OP POP.

Despite the protestations of Klopp himself, as well many on here, particularly when discussing the need for a footballing goalkeeper, we aren't fundamentally a possesion based team.

We don't control these games against the Bus parkers, in that we seldom play them on our terms. Mainly, it's the opposition who set the agenda. It's easy to say that this is the same for any top team playing against a low block, and it is for many of them, but the really sucessful teams overcome these obstacles because they are prepared to change the way they play. This is particularly so, towards the end of games when they are chasing a late goal.

I can almost hear the more educated among us thinking - that's not right, the secret to breaking teams down is to stay patient, keep playing the same way, and sticking to your principles. Well, yes and no. I'm old enough to have seen our great teams of the 70s and 80s, I've watched the United teams under Ferguson and ive observed successive teams under Guardiola. Late goals have been a fundamental of the success of those teams and I've  heard the attributes of patience and principles used to describe them more times than I care to remember, but there's a fallacy to some of it. Yes the principles stay the same when chasing a late goal but the intensity, the height of their defensive lines and the number of people they commit forward, increases incrementally as the final whistle approaches. Most importantly they got more and more bodies into the opposition box. As often as not, when the goal comes, it's a scrappy one, born as much from force of numbers as brilliant play.

I will finish by returning to the Derby - we have all focused on the penalty incident, we have all pointed out that we could have been out of sight by then. What we haven't done, to any great extent, is wondered why we couldn't use the twenty minutes after the peno to put Everton to the Sword. Instead we never even created a chance. Those sides I referenced above would have created a bucket full.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 07:41:21 AM by goalrushatgoodison »
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Offline Johnny Foreigner

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 07:58:56 AM »
Thank you PoP; this together with your post on the "clutch-players" etc is wonderful reading and its so much easier to understand for us non-experts !
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Offline Runehammer

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 08:36:12 AM »
Thank you PoP; this together with your post on the "clutch-players" etc is wonderful reading and its so much easier to understand for us non-experts !

Indeed, brilliant as always.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 09:49:58 AM »
What were the stats in terms of taking on the opposition with dribbles. To me it didnt seem like much but i could be wrong. We do need more in terms of committing players.

I also dont like the way we are allowing Coutinho to hog the ball in the centre which he does when he plays there.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 10:09:25 AM »
Interesting take.

But what is the big difference in the profile of players b/w city and liverpool.

There is nothing Sterling and Sane can do that Salah and Mane cannot.  Coutinho can do what KDB does, and with Keita coming in we're adding more players of that ilk.

Perhaps an out and out forward instead of Firmino?

What are the critical difference b/w city and liverpool in terms of personnel apart from depth??
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2017, 10:15:35 AM »
Good post. We do have problems breaking down defensive sides, quite often, and you point out a few reasons why. But I'm not sure the possession numbers mean that much. Because if we do break a team down and score first, their game plan goes out the window (though that didn't happen against Everton who continued the exakt same way, but I'd say they were an exception). They must attack more, and we don't need to play possession football ourselves, and can rely more on counter-attacks and gegenpressing. I imagine that in the games that we score first that we often have 60-70% possession until we score, but could well be wrong.

Another point about Lovren having the ball the most - isn't that something that often happens in a game for most sides almost regardless of strategy? Stats over those who pass the most in the league are often made out of defensive midfielders and centre backs as far as I remember. Have only checked for the current season, but the only exceptions in the top 10 are - not surprisningly - Silva and De Bryune. But both Otamendi and Fernandinho pass the ball more even for City.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2017, 10:20:38 AM »
Interesting take.

But what is the big difference in the profile of players b/w city and liverpool.

There is nothing Sterling and Sane can do that Salah and Mane cannot.  Coutinho can do what KDB does, and with Keita coming in we're adding more players of that ilk.

Perhaps an out and out forward instead of Firmino?

What are the critical difference b/w city and liverpool in terms of personnel apart from depth??
Not really no. Coutinho is an excellent player, but De Bruyne is much more of a midfielder, a playmaker than him. Also, they have Silva alongside him who is a brilliant playmaker, and I'd say Fernandinho is quicker and smarter with the ball at feet than either Henderson or Can as well. Their midfield is much superior to ours when it comes to quick, incisive and clever passing.

Offline Wool

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2017, 10:35:31 AM »
What were the stats in terms of taking on the opposition with dribbles. To me it didnt seem like much but i could be wrong. We do need more in terms of committing players.

I also dont like the way we are allowing Coutinho to hog the ball in the centre which he does when he plays there.
I don't think we're "allowing" Coutinho to hog the ball in the centre. I'd say it's more of a case of the other midfielders either being not good enough to consistently have an impact in these matches (Can, Henderson) and thus constantly giving it to Phil, or not even trying to make an impact (Wijnaldum).

Put Lallana alongside Phil in that midfield and it'd be much slicker.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2017, 11:14:45 AM »
I don't think we're "allowing" Coutinho to hog the ball in the centre. I'd say it's more of a case of the other midfielders either being not good enough to consistently have an impact in these matches (Can, Henderson) and thus constantly giving it to Phil, or not even trying to make an impact (Wijnaldum).

Put Lallana alongside Phil in that midfield and it'd be much slicker.

Will it? Or will it mean just another player having Coutinho stand next to him demanding the ball. I dont see what Coutinho does from deep that mr billy big bollocks Can cant do and really both him and Wijnaldum should have told him to fuck off from there but clealry thry didnt.

Also thought Lovren was shite again.

Offline Gnurglan

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2017, 11:39:41 AM »
I was disappointed we didn't win. Everyone knew WBA would sit back, but I wasn't worried. While the likes of Salah and Mane are at their best on the counter-attack, I still believe we had enough creativity on the pitch to break them down. Unfortunately, we didn't make it work.

The problem for me was that while we did get Coutinho on the ball, we didn't get enough from Salah or Mane. Plus I think we needed a bit more from Can and Wijnaldum. I would have liked us to stretch the game with Mane and Salah starting wider. We would have seen more of them on the ball and them being good 1 vs 1 would have forced WBA to double up on them, creating space elsewhere.

There is no doubt we'll have to face the 'park the bus tactics' more in the near future. It's a given. We need to learn how to cope.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 01:19:21 PM »
A phenomenal post PoP, it really is delightful to have you back! I see now much better what you're getting at with buying 'execution' players.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 01:24:27 PM »
Really good interesting post PoP.

So furthering on your point who in the team is holding us back in the creative department? Why are most of the passes centered around Lovren, I know we push the ball sideways and marginally forward to Can from Lovren, what would the solution be to be more proactive from that point of view? Would it be as simple as putting someone like Ox there instead to receive the ball, turn and progress forward?


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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2017, 01:35:57 PM »
Not really no. Coutinho is an excellent player, but De Bruyne is much more of a midfielder, a playmaker than him. Also, they have Silva alongside him who is a brilliant playmaker, and I'd say Fernandinho is quicker and smarter with the ball at feet than either Henderson or Can as well. Their midfield is much superior to ours when it comes to quick, incisive and clever passing.

I could not agree more. Silva and DeBruyne are a level above. But I think Fernandinho is a key difference maker as he can move the ball on quickly. Parking the bus takes discipline, but it also takes time.
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2017, 01:41:26 PM »
Was at the game and although was not the desired result, was an interesting game nonetheless.

To my untrained eye, and its nothing new to report, our midfield to me, particularly Can, were just too slow on the ball.  We just were not getting the ball around the pitch quick enough.

The passing just seemed very laboured and played right into WBA's hands.

Coutinho tried, but just sometimes tried too hard to take it on, ending up keeping the ball too long himself while he tried to beat several men to sniff out a killer pass.  And I just feel when Coutinho tries too hard to take over, it often brings out the worst in him.

The crowd were growling at the keeper/ defenders and midfield to zip the ball around quicker and it just wasn't happening quick enough on the whole.

In fairness, it seemed the forwards were making some very good runs at times, but the midfield just wasn't getting the ball to them quick enough, or spotting their very good runs at times.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2017, 02:22:22 PM »
I am a bit daft when it comes to tactical points, but couldn't a solution be to back off the opponents once they win the ball? To withdraw the pressing, or gegenpressing 20 or 25 yards. Let them play for a bit and once the progress upfield and commit some players, that is when you really out the pressure on.

I know this is most likely too simple a solution to be correct.
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Offline Groundskeeper Willie

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2017, 02:24:54 PM »
Was at the game and although was not the desired result, was an interesting game nonetheless.

To my untrained eye, and its nothing new to report, our midfield to me, particularly Can, were just too slow on the ball.  We just were not getting the ball around the pitch quick enough.

The passing just seemed very laboured and played right into WBA's hands.

Coutinho tried, but just sometimes tried too hard to take it on, ending up keeping the ball too long himself while he tried to beat several men to sniff out a killer pass.  And I just feel when Coutinho tries too hard to take over, it often brings out the worst in him.

The crowd were growling at the keeper/ defenders and midfield to zip the ball around quicker and it just wasn't happening quick enough on the whole.

In fairness, it seemed the forwards were making some very good runs at times, but the midfield just wasn't getting the ball to them quick enough, or spotting their very good runs at times.

I thought the same and also I thought we didn't switch play anywhere near often enough. I was wishing for some long diagonal passes to make them move from side to side and possibly open up space. I thought we did that more against Everton, through Henderson, but I can remember only 1 or 2 such balls against WBA.
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2017, 02:31:41 PM »
I am a bit daft when it comes to tactical points, but couldn't a solution be to back off the opponents once they win the ball? To withdraw the pressing, or gegenpressing 20 or 25 yards. Let them play for a bit and once the progress upfield and commit some players, that is when you really out the pressure on.

I know this is most likely too simple a solution to be correct.

That is one solution, yes. Set up a midfield block, and let them play the first two passes out of the back. If they play it long, then they'll have to push up to meet it (or otherwise expose their midfield and defence to a lot of space). So when they push up, they leave the space in behind for our quick players to counter into.
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2017, 02:33:11 PM »
That is one solution, yes. Set up a midfield block, and let them play the first two passes out of the back. If they play it long, then they'll have to push up to meet it (or otherwise expose their midfield and defence to a lot of space). So when they push up, they leave the space in behind for our quick players to counter into.

I'm baffled that I was on to something. In your opinion, why doesn't Klopp try and do this more?
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2017, 02:35:13 PM »
I thought the same and also I thought we didn't switch play anywhere near often enough. I was wishing for some long diagonal passes to make them move from side to side and possibly open up space. I thought we did that more against Everton, through Henderson, but I can remember only 1 or 2 such balls against WBA.

Yep, there were several instances where one of the fullbacks were in loads of space far up the pitch, and Lovern/ Klavan/ midfield just weren't getting the ball to them quick enough, when they had the space.  In saying that, it was really noticeable that Robertson for some reason just wouldn't cross on occasion when he had the chance to.  Which I found really unusual for him.  Confidence maybe?

Again, the passing and getting the ball around the pitch just seemed too laboured, too often.

We just carried the ball too much in midfield when we needed to zip the ball around quicker more and as you say, stretch them as much as possible.

Although WBA had practically everyone behind the ball, we also gave them all the time in the world to get organised on the rare occasions we had a chance to disperse them.


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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2017, 02:46:49 PM »
More "numbers" -

If we look at the "Big 6" - us, City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs - and look at the rates of goals or assists in minutes per action, we can almost see why City and United are where they are, and the rest of us are in our own positions.

City have four players who either score or assist every 100 minutes or less (given most games are now 94/95 minutes long, I'm taking 100 minutes as a cut-off point). After that, they have two players who contribute a goal or assist every 180 minutes (or 200 minutes to keep it uniform). Aguero, Sterling, Jesus and Sane are all capable of making something happen in a single game, so a bus-parking team will have to work extremely hard against City to keep one of those four out, and even harder to stop De Bruyne or Silva having an impact on the game.

Liverpool have two such players - Salah and Coutinho. After that, we have Firmino, Mane, and Sturridge who can make something happen every two games. Seeing as Sturridge is injured/recovering/not selected, that left us with no impact players off the bench, especially once we took Mane off. The two who came on in the attack - Solanke and Wijnaldum - impact the game once every 407 minutes. A lot to expect from them, to fashion a winner from somewhere. Oxade-Chamberlain impacts the game once every 264 minutes, and he was probably tiring at that point. But our two best attackers - Coutinho and Salah, were having an off-night, and when that happens, we didn't really have the players to step up, if we go by the numbers. Of course, on the field, anything can happen within any given 30 seconds of play, but we didn't have enough players to impact the game as the clock ticked down. We became easy to play against.

(Interestingly, United have three such impact players - who have a goal or assist every 100 minutes or less: Martial, Pogba and Lingard. Chelsea have one - Morata - while Arsenal also only have one - Giroud. Spurs have none. In order, it goes: City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal/Chelsea, Spurs. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the finishing order for the league at the end of the season)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 02:52:48 PM by PhaseOfPlay »
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2017, 02:48:09 PM »
You RAWK, PoP.
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Offline PaulD

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2017, 03:14:53 PM »
Given the amount of ball that is recycled through the CB's, we miss Matip's more incisive forward passing. My feeling is that he offers the forward running players better options on the turn. Lovren tends to hit passes to feet which is OK at best. Matip's passing is a little more creative.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 03:17:06 PM by PaulD »

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2017, 03:19:56 PM »
Again, the passing and getting the ball around the pitch just seemed too laboured, too often.
Given the amount of ball that is recycled through the CB's, we miss Matip's more incisive forward passing. My feeling is that he offers the forward running players better options on the turn. Lovren tends to hit passes to feet which is OK at best. Matip's passing is a little more creative.
I'd like to see Karius, Matip and Klavan played together for these reasons. We aren't going to buy a new midfield in January, but what we can do is play the defenders who are best/quickest on the ball. Mignolet and Lovren are really slow on the ball, Karius and Klavan aren't, they can and do recycle it very quickly and effectively. I'd be happy to see more of Matip's forward runs, too.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2017, 03:26:00 PM »
I'd like to see Karius, Matip and Klavan played together for these reasons. We aren't going to buy a new midfield in January, but what we can do is play the defenders who are best/quickest on the ball. Mignolet and Lovren are really slow on the ball, Karius and Klavan aren't, they can and do recycle it very quickly and effectively. I'd be happy to see more of Matip's forward runs, too.

Matip is a big loss. He helps to break the lines. Although playing Can in a 3-back system would achieve the same thing, I think. But Klopp doesn't seem to be a fan of 3-back systems in general, so it would be a lot to hope for!
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2017, 07:17:46 PM »
Matip is a big loss. He helps to break the lines. Although playing Can in a 3-back system would achieve the same thing, I think. But Klopp doesn't seem to be a fan of 3-back systems in general, so it would be a lot to hope for!
Yeah, Matip's an excellent passer. Is there an argument for trying Can as a CB in a back 4, if we know a team will play an extreme low block?

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2017, 07:18:35 PM »
Yeah, Matip's an excellent passer. Is there an argument for trying Can as a CB in a back 4, if we know a team will play an extreme low block?

There is from me - but then I've always thought he had more potential as a centreback than as a central midfielder :D
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2017, 07:19:18 PM »
There is from me - but then I've always thought he had more potential as a centreback than as a central midfielder :D

We'll see where Juventus plan on using him.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2017, 07:21:04 PM »
There is from me - but then I've always thought he had more potential as a centreback than as a central midfielder :D
We could really do with our CBs contributing a few goals, too. Obviously corners are low frequency chances but it often seems to be CBs who decide tight games - they may be low frequency but they're also not preventable by a low block approach.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2017, 07:23:02 PM »
We'll see where Juventus plan on using him.

Well that doesn't help us! :D
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2017, 07:23:28 PM »
Well that doesn't help us! :D

;D No more help than he's providing these days ;)

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2017, 08:08:10 PM »
Given the amount of ball that is recycled through the CB's, we miss Matip's more incisive forward passing. My feeling is that he offers the forward running players better options on the turn. Lovren tends to hit passes to feet which is OK at best. Matip's passing is a little more creative.

Just curious how many times a pass from Matip or any central defender hits a forward running player? I hate to be guessing as someone surely has a number via the stats collected. Likewise with Karius or Klavan...how often do they bypass the likes of Henderson, Can or Gini with their passes? Personally it seems like Klopp likes our goalie to play the short ball where possible as it gives us the best chance to build / least chance for the opposition to nip the ball off us.
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2017, 08:09:32 PM »
Come on, call that an OP?. Not one put down of Lovren or a single mention of how shit Moreno is!!!.

Fantastic read, really is. Helps thick c*nts like me understand what i am watching every week. Thanks.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2017, 08:11:57 PM »
Just curious how many times a pass from Matip or any central defender hits a forward running player? I hate to be guessing as someone surely has a number via the stats collected. Likewise with Karius or Klavan...how often do they bypass the likes of Henderson, Can or Gini with their passes? Personally it seems like Klopp likes our goalie to play the short ball where possible as it gives us the best chance to build / least chance for the opposition to nip the ball off us.

From what I've witnessed at games this season, it isn't one of Matip's strengths.
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2017, 08:17:21 PM »
Great read, thank you PoP. I think what you bring up is something my eyes have seen, but I could not articulate. Cheers

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2017, 08:33:25 PM »
Just curious how many times a pass from Matip or any central defender hits a forward running player? I hate to be guessing as someone surely has a number via the stats collected. Likewise with Karius or Klavan...how often do they bypass the likes of Henderson, Can or Gini with their passes? Personally it seems like Klopp likes our goalie to play the short ball where possible as it gives us the best chance to build / least chance for the opposition to nip the ball off us.

Forward passes as a % of total passes:

Lovren - 82%
Klavan - 77%
Matip - 76%


Also, for the midfield:



Can not coming out of that favourably, except for assists. Marginally more back passes per 90 than our other mids, too. Milner is "da man" though!
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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2017, 08:37:13 PM »
From what I've witnessed at games this season, it isn't one of Matip's strengths.

I think Matip is more capable of that then Lovren. Sakho was very good at this. On the ground bullet passes from defense to attack can be devastating. Especially with our front three. I would love to see this more not least because our midfield has been so ineffectual against the bus parkers.

Fantastic post as usual PoP, good to have you back on here.

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Re: Round Table: Liverpool FC v West Brom 0-0 – It's a numbers game
« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2017, 08:48:18 PM »
Thanks Pop. It must be a fucking nightmare playing against a team literally kicking for touch. In fairness to the fab 4 and the other forward players those conditions were unbelievably cold, windy and horrible