Author Topic: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games  (Read 16142 times)

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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#SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« on: August 26, 2013, 02:07:11 PM »
Introduction – the English Game in the Early 60’s

In the current age of technology and information at a keystroke, it is sometimes easy to forget that there was a time when information didn’t flow so easily. In football terms, in 2013 we can have access not only to the formations a team might play, but where the players on the field might have actually positioned themselves, how many touches they played, where they passed to, who they passed to, and what distances they ran. But back in the days of Shankly, this information wasn’t available at all. Any attempts at match analysis were necessarily basic (in relation to what we have now) and were at once fundamental in their content, but advanced in their mere existence. Thus, a new tactic or formation didn’t really reveal itself in detail until a team displayed it on a world stage, or a national one in the guise of a league or European game. It is against this backdrop that we must begin our journey through the tactical progression of Bill Shankly as he dragged Liverpool into the modern age, creating a dynasty that at one point looked like it could go on forever.
 
In terms of the tactical ideas of the time in English football, Shanks was wedded, as the majority of managers were, to the established W-M philosophy (3-2-2-3) of the age. This formation was the modus operandi of almost all British football managers at the time, Mancherster City notwithstanding. However, although the prevailing trend was towards the W-M, there had been rumblings of change since the Magical Magyars of Hungary showed England the joys of tactical flexibility and the first truly false nine in 1953. This formation spelled the death knell for the W-M, but English football was, of course, slow to embrace the change. Rather than positioning the players in the traditional W-M formation (which played out as more of a 3-2-4-1 in certain instances), Hungary under Sebes, with Puskas and Hidegkuti pulling the strings on the field, lined up in an almost 1-4-1-4 formation, dropping a half-back (Bozsik) deeper into the defence in front of the centre half, and pulling the number 9, Hidegkuti, behind the line of “attacking midfielders” and wingers:



 
This move prompted Les McDowell, Manchester City’s manager at the time, to develop a similar tactic at City, using Revie as the withdrawn centre forward, and creating “The Revie Plan”, which turned out to be quite successful for City at the time. Nevertheless, English football was still slow to adapt, and W-M remained the tactical scheme that was most used throughout English football. An adaptation of W-M was the 3-3-4 formation, which Spurs popularised in their famous Double-winning side of 1961, with a midfield of Blanchflower, White and Mackay supplying a four-man forward line of Dyson, Smith, Allen and Jones. This is a formation that Shankly was not afraid to turn to, stating in “The Hard Road Back”:


Quote
“The scheme we brought into operation was based on the fact that Harrower was essentially a good footballer, but for a forward was not the best of attacking players. We therefore brought him in at a position which was shown as inside left in the programme, alongside Alan A’Court (or occasionally alongside John Morrissey because we sometimes interchanged the position of the two wings) […] He would have the function of lying much further back than is usual for an inside forward, thus drawing his opposing half-back out of place and from this position playing either Tommy Leishman or Johnny Wheeler with the ball as they moved forward […]Thus was born at Anfield the plan which we referred to as 3-3-4” (Shankly, 2012).

Thus, in entering the League-winning campaign in 1963-64, Liverpool were playing either a W-M, or a 3-3-4, depending on the game. This ability to change and adapt, though, was a key to the genius of Shankly, who could come across as a rampant traditionalist, but was really a pioneer for anything that improved his teams and their football. With this adaptability, then, came a tactical advantage that existed until Zonal Defending became the default defensive system in football. At the time, most teams man-marked according to strict positions, which is why wingers were highly valued, why the towering centre-forward and the stopper centre-half were vital, and why Hungary so effectively embarrassed English football thinking. It is also why Spurs could create that great Double-winning side, and why Shankly could take a team from the Second Division to Division One Champions in the space of just over four years.

However, it didn’t all go Shankly’s way. An International fixture between England and Belgium in the 1964-65 season showed Shankly the limitations of the 3-3-4, and prompted a change towards a formation that was becoming more and more popular since the 1962 World Cup. Having watched the Belgian national team outplay the English national team in a 2-2 draw at Wembley, Shankly expressed his desire to do something different to handle Anderlecht, who he felt would play much the same as the Belgian national team. At this point, the shape of the Liverpool team would look something like this:


 
Against Anderlecht, it was decided that Tommy Smith, who had shown some defensive qualities, despite being the number ten on the team, would drop back in more towards defence, and partner Yeats as well as pushing up out of the back to support midfield. This helped create the first true “Back Four” for Liverpool (Fagan, 2011), and it is this version of Liverpool that became the basis of the future success. It is with this formation that Shankly approached his first FA Cup Final as manager of Liverpool.


1965 FA Cup Final

The 1965 FA Cup Final represented for Shankly one of his greatest achievements, and one which he seemed to personally hold close to his heart. His impression of the victory is that it stopped other fans from being able to taunt Liverpool supporters that “they hadn’t won the Cup”. It possibly represented the best view of a classic Shankly team and the football he believed in, and in later interviews it seems that he believed this period of his Liverpool tenure produced the best team he had managed.

In terms of the tactics of the game, Shankly continued with the 4-2-4 variation that he decided upon against Anderlecht in November of the previous year. Peter Thompson and Ian Callaghan were the wingers (with Callaghan tucking in more centrally at times) supplying a front two of Hunt as the centre forward with St. John the mobile runner playing in the spaces around Hunt. Stevenson and Strong held the middle together, with Smith pushing into midfield when needed. A back four of Byrne, Smith, Yeats and Lawler in front of Lawrence in goal completed the side:


 
Leeds, managed by Revie, played much the same formation, with Revie clearly aware of the impact the Revie Plan had on the City team he had played in, and also aware of the strides forward in attacking football displayed by the Brazil side at the previous World Cup. Their line-up consisted of Sprake in goal, with Reaney, Charlton, Hunter and Bell as the back four, Giles and Bremner holding the midfield together, and a front four of Johanneson, Peacock, Storrie and Collins:


 
Liverpool under Shankly, as seen in this final, were quite a direct team. Not direct in the sense that it is understood now, with long balls forward and a chase for territory. Rather, they still subscribed to certain patterns of play that existed for some time in the W-M culture of previous years, where a defender would play into central midfield, and the central midfielder (half-back) would find their key winger with a pass, and the key winger would take their fullback on 1v1 before centring the ball for the big Number Nine to head at goal, or for the speedy, smaller forward to fight for the scraps and fashion a shot at the back post or slightly deeper. And so it was in this period under Shankly where Lawrence would play to Smith, Smith would either pass the ball to Strong or Stevenson, or carry the ball into midfield himself, before looking first for Thompson, or switching it to Callaghan on the other side. If Thompson got the ball, his job was to beat his marker (in this case, Reaney) and supply a cross for Hunt. If Callaghan got the ball, his job was to play an earlier cross to Hunt, or cut the ball inside to St. John (and it was indeed this combination that created the winning goal for St. John in extra time). Callaghan also had a second role in this set-up, which was to pinch inside, in the classic English fashion, and beef up the midfield. This gave solidity in midfield and helped to develop the future 4-4-2/Lopsided 4-3-3 that would become popular in the mid-to-late 60’s and early 70’s. In this game, though, Callaghan was still more of a winger or wide midfielder, and performed his duties as such. Yeats, as ever, was the stopper centre-half, tasked with winning every cross or long ball into the attacking third, while Smith was the more mobile and “creative” of the two defenders, although he was capable of putting in a strong tackle or two himself. Lawler and Byrne were the archetypal defensive fullbacks, although they weren’t prevented from running forward. However, the possibilities of the true overlapping and attacking fullback were only being seen in Facchetti’s performances for Inter Milan, and the idea hadn’t really taken hold in English football as prominently as it eventually would.

We can see from this final that in the space of four to five years, Shankly was to adapt his tactics at what would probably be considered a slow rate today, but which, in the early 60’s in Britain and without the aid of wall-to-wall televised games and Opta statistics, was quite a remarkable progression of formations. The next step, though, was to come a lot quicker - the following year, in fact.



Out with the Old, in with the New (and the Wingless Wonders)

In 1966, English Football reached its footballing zenith, winning the World Cup on home soil. As much as it was a triumph of English football over the world’s best, it was also a triumph for tactical thinking and flexibility over the stuffiness of those who controlled the game in the halls of the Football Association. Alf Ramsey (later to be “Sir”) took the job on the condition that he and he alone, would be responsible for picking the team.  Ramsey didn’t believe in the pure attacking winger without defensive duties, and set about changing the shape of the English team away from 4-2-4 and towards more of a 4-4-2, with more defensive solidity and less reliance on “flair”. In doing this, he created what would become the new “W-M” in English football – the formation that would become the standard for decades to come. Although there were flirtations with 4-3-3, the 4-4-2 formation became the staple of most English teams across all divisions, and as such became the lens through which all football was viewed. This new formation easily lent itself to a 4-3-3 shape, though, with a more conservative winger on one side, and a more attacking one on the other, making a lopsided 4-3-3 formation that generally swayed to the left of the field. The English team in the World Cup final of 1966 lined up thus:


 
With this new formation shown to be highly effective, it was only a matter of time before Shankly caught up and changed the way Liverpool played. And so it was, three years later, when an FA Cup game (again) forced a change that Shankly didn’t want to have to make. The team that won the League in 1964, the FA Cup in 1965 and the League again in 1966, was getting old, stale, and “mediocre” (in Shankly’s words).  A very emotional man, Shankly found it hard to dispose of players who had given him so much on and off the field. However, a game against Watford in 1970 changed all of that. It was this loss to Watford that convinced Shankly that loyalty was no longer enough, and a changing of the guard was in order. The line-up for that game featured Lawrence in goal with Lawler, Wall, Yeats and Strong at the back; Hughes and Ross were in midfield, with Callaghan and Graham on the wings, and St. John and Evans up front. The 1-0 reverse prompted the genesis of the next great Liverpool side, with a more youthful team being created, with more dynamism and youth throughout the team. Indeed, the only players who survived that game who would feature prominently the next season were Callaghan and Lawler. The next great Shankly team began to show themselves in the following year’s Cup Final, and display some of the traits which were going to be the bedrock of the future success of Liverpool FC.


1971 FA Cup Final

The first thing that stands out in the 1971 FA Cup final is not who was on the pitch and what they were doing, but who wasn’t. A 20-year old Kevin Keegan was sitting in the stands watching his new team playing Arsenal into extra time and losing to a Charlie George goal. Both teams played the more conservative 4-4-2 formation, albeit the lopsided variant that could also pass as a 4-3-3. The team that day bore little resemblance to the team that had lost to Watford a year earlier. It was a blend of youth and experience, with effort and ability in central midfield, pace and trickery on the left wing (but with added defensive work-rate), attacking from the back, a new keeper, and a traditional (by now) stopper centre half. The Liverpool lined up in this final like so:


 
With Clemence in goal offering more athleticism and the ability to sweep behind an aggressive back four, the Liverpool team showed a real progression not just from the one that won the cup six years earlier, but even from the one that lost to Watford the previous season. Callaghan had become a more central player, offering protection in the middle but also able to make lung-bursting runs down the right. On the opposite side, instead of the dazzling trickery of Thompson, there was the lithe, long-legged presence of Heighway, who could beat defenders for pace, score goals, and get back to help out the defence in an instant. Behind him, the marauding Alec Lindsay would support the attack with overlapping runs, while Hughes in the middle was as rampaging as ever, ably supported by Hall in the middle. Lloyd and Smith formed a traditional central defensive pairing, with Lloyd winning the headers and Smith tidying up on the ground, supported by Lawler’s experience to the right of them. Toshack had come in up front to act as a target, with Alun Evans floating around him picking up the pieces.
 
The pattern of attack remained the same, if not a little bit more direct now due to Toshack’s aerial ability. The passing patterns were a lot more balanced between left and right, but there was still a tendency to go to the left and let Heighway sort out the final ball to Toshack, with Evans and Hughes picking up the second ball. Hall held the middle and Smith could come out with the ball at his feet when appropriate. The movement of Lindsay also made this side a left-side dominant attacking team, and this prompted Callaghan to move inside to shore up the middle of the field. Facing them, was an Arsenal team that were set up in much the same way:


 
Although Liverpool lost a gruelling game 2-1 in extra time, the seeds for the future success of the club were sown with that team. It was a team built on winning the 1v1 duels (especially on the wings), winning the aerial battles in both boxes, and having the mobility to cause problems for any opposition team that played statically. Crossing was still a major part of Shankly’s tactics, and the aerial game was just as important as the pass and move game. Still, this team was built on fast attacks, and although skill, passing to feet, and moving to support the man on the ball were all important, possession as an end in itself hadn’t shown its face to Shankly and the Anfield faithful. Two years later though, it would display its worth in a game that was as defining to the history of Liverpool FC as the appointment of Shankly himself.


Red Star Belgrade and the New Lessons

In the aftermath of that 1971 loss, Liverpool went from strength to strength with the new squad, invigorated with youth, high tempo attacking, and the most telepathic strike partnership since DiStefano and Puskas for Madrid. Heighway took over the mantle of left winger from Peter Thompson, Lloyd and Smith marshalled the defence, Clemence performed miracles, and Liverpool narrowly lost out on the 1971-72 League title to a Clough-inspired Derby County. The 1972-73 campaign promised much, and delivered more, handing Shankly his 3rd League title, and his only European trophy, the UEFA Cup. The league title meant that Liverpool would play in the following year’s European Cup, and it is in this competition that the final tactical adaptation Shankly would make was born.
The month was November, it was the 2nd Round of the European Cup, and the opponents were Red Star Belgrade, managed by the legendary Miljan Miljanic. They were a counter-attacking team built to hurt teams on the break with rapid sorties forward. But they also had another dimension to the game – a dimension that would cause the Boot Room to regroup and discuss the games and decide to tweak the Liverpool approach – permanently and for the better. They played from a 4-4-2 shape, with two banks of four (although a lot looser than we would be used to today) and two forwards patrolling the channels. This wasn’t the difference though. The difference was that, with a 2-1 lead from the first leg, they didn’t show much impetus to get more goals in the second leg. In fact, at times, they slowed the game down to a crawl, standing on the ball and holding it for precious seconds, possessing or the sake of possessing, and only changing the tempo when there was a clear gap in the Liverpool defence. They were 1-0 up in 60 minutes, tied at 1-1 after 84 minutes, and finally 2-1 up again on 90 minutes, for a 4-2 aggregate. The lesson learned by Shankly and the Boot Room was that “We realised at Liverpool that you can’t score a goal every time you get the ball” (Shankly, 1976).

The lesson was learned that the stopper centre half was now defunct, and that the all-out “Attack, Attack, Attack!” philosophy of the Kop was going to have to be adapted. With this clearly in mind, the next and last great FA Cup game of the Shankly era was played.


1974 FA Cup Final

By the time the 1974 FA Cup Final rolled around, the changes that Shankly wanted had already been set in place. Gone was the solid but limited reliance on Lloyd as a central stopper. Instead, a young Phil Thompson was paired with the mobile and skilled Hughes in the centre of the defence. Smith was pushed out wider to become an attacking fullback. Peter Cormack was brought in to provide some dynamism in the midfield, with Brian Hall anchoring the space in front of the back four. Keegan and Toshack still formed their telepathic partnership, but by this time, they had developed a more rounded game, with Keegan equally as good in the air as Toshack was on the ground. Callaghan was still performing the tucked-in right midfield job, and Heighway and Lindsay were still tearing up the left side of the field. With sweeper/keeper Clemence in goal, and a more mobile back-line, the scene was set for a tasty glimpse of the team Liverpool were about to become in three years’ time. The Liverpool team lined up like so:


 
Playing in the now classic English 4-4-2 formation, there was a lot more mobility in the team, with Keegan able to pull wide to the left allowing Heighway to cut inside, while Cormack could drag players out to the right wing and Callaghan would fill in for the central midfield area. Smith and Lindsay could maraud forward, and even Hughes or Thompson could bring the ball into midfield and beyond, safe in the knowledge that someone would cover them at the back. Newcastle also played in a 4-4-2/4-2-4, which again meant that a lot of the game would come down to individual match-ups. Unfortunately for Newcastle, the new Liverpool didn’t stay in positions long enough to have to deal with match-ups, and the idea of the team being greater than the sum of its parts became obvious early on. Nowhere was the new Liverpool more obvious, though, than in the execution of the third goal (after goals by Keegan and Heighway). The move started in the 88th minute, with Liverpool clearly cruising to a win, and Newcastle chasing shadows for much of the game. Callaghan wins the ball in midfield and delivers it to Toshack, who takes it up the right wing. Seeing no options, and no need to put a cross in at 2-0 up, he drops the ball back to Smith, who sends a raking pass to Lindsay. Lindsay controls the ball and plays it in front of an overlapping Keegan on the left. Keegan takes it into the left corner, with Lindsay supporting. He does a little fake backheel and takes it out of the corner, and sends a long cross-field pass to Smith, standing in acres of space. Smith arrogantly side foots the ball to Hall, and sees a gap in the Newcastle rear-guard. He darts into the gap on the outside and receives the return from Hall. As soon as the ball gets to him, he touches it to Heighway, who plays him in on the wall pass. Smith collects the ball and sends a fizzing low centre across the face of the goal to the back post, where Keegan is waiting to tap the ball into the empty net. In that moment, every idea Shankly ever had on getting Liverpool to a level where everyone would submit and give in was produced in 10 passes of patient, intelligent, scintillating football. What this game showed was a glimpse of a future that maybe even Shankly couldn’t have envisioned – a team so adept at the technical skills of the game that it practically ran itself. In developing this team, Shankly surely laid the foundations for the four European Cups that followed in the next decade.


The Bastion of Invincibility

The Shankly tactical legacy is usually summed up in one phrase – “Pass and Move”. But there is so much more to it than that. What Shankly gave Liverpool was an identity as innovators in the English game; an identity that displayed the best of football thinking – simplicity, skill, socialism and shape. The ideas that Shankly implanted into the Liverpool FC DNA were furthered, gloriously, by his able Lieutenant, Bob Paisley, for the following 9 years. His parting gift, apart from an FA Cup and a team ready to take on the best of Europe, was a player who would typify the new patience and possession of Liverpool FC. His last signing – Ray Kennedy - was to be a player he would never manage, but a player who Paisley put to work developing the tempo of the game that still had its roots in those great teams that Shankly produced. The culmination of these ideas was undoubtedly the team of 1977-1978, starting with a European Cup victory the previous season, and following it with another win that typified the highest level of football consistency and efficiency. The team of 1977-78 had a defender who understood how to play football, a fullback who could spend as much time up front as in defence, a midfield that covered iron with silk, and a legendary player who could create goals out of nothing. If there is anything to be said about Shankly’s tactical progression from 1959 to 1974, it is best said by pointing to how the team progressed without him, rather than just the team he left behind. Everything Liverpool achieved post-Shankly owed everything to the ideas and templates he laid down with his trusted staff. The hard road back to the First Division, all those years previously, became – through sheer force of will, wit and innovation – the simple road to excellence. Without Shankly, Liverpool may never have taught the world how to play.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 01:08:45 PM by PhaseofPlay »
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Offline Barney_Rubble

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 01:45:25 AM »
Awesome.

Educate yerself...

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Offline Stussy

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 01:49:07 AM »

Brilliant PoP thanks for this awesome article

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Offline bclfc

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 01:55:11 AM »
Fantastic post, thanks for that.
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Offline Gifted Right Foot

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 02:23:04 AM »
Wow.  I love you. 

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 02:52:10 AM »
Fascinating, thanks a lot.

Here is the '74 FA Cup final in full if anyone's interested. The 88th minute goal PoP describes begins at 1:24:50 or so:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/mWbF307EtXw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/mWbF307EtXw</a>

Offline Zeb

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 04:14:25 AM »
Bloody hell... there's reading for a few cups of tea in that.
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Offline reds7

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 05:20:44 AM »
Thank you, great reading

Offline uncle_red

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 07:08:37 AM »
Absolutely fascinating, thank you very much PoP!

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2013, 09:28:53 AM »
Aah, at work, but feck it - this is better. Thanks!
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Offline 007.lankyguy

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 09:41:36 AM »
Absolutely brilliant read mate. There's something beautiful about reading about the little progressions and changes over time that took place and set the foundation for the next 15 or so years after he left.
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2013, 09:43:56 AM »
 :wellin

Excellent work PoP, really interesting reading.

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Offline Chip Evans

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2013, 09:58:58 AM »
Ha, so that's why there was no tactical analysis from you in the first two round tables.

Complete fanboy here, love reading your stuff. Brilliant piece, full of things I didn't know. Thanks.

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2013, 11:02:48 AM »
As a ten year old (in Manchester) seeing the cup final on a colour tv, I always thought I fell in love with the Red of Liverpool as much as Keegan and toshack.
Your brilliant post, PoP, makes me think my young mind was also blown by the winds of change.
Thank you.

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2013, 11:36:11 AM »
Great stuff PoP.

Two other things to ponder though. You have Chris Lawler as an orthodox right back and credit Inter's Facchetti with pioneering the idea of the overlapping full-back. Yet somehow Lawler scored over 40 goals for Liverpool - none so far as I know from a penalty or free kick. As a boy I remember this statistic being marvelled at. How did he do it? One thinks of one of his most famous goals, the winner v Everton in the famous 3-2 match. Liverpool are attacking on the left and then suddenly Lawler appears as the most advanced player on the other side of the pitch.

Then there's the question of Shankly's left wingers. Thompson and Heighway. Both of them right-footers. We're used today to seeing wingers 'switch'. Sterling, for example, has spent most of his formative years playing on the left. But it was unusual in the 1960s and 1970s. Was Shanks just being pragmatic (ie he had no lefties?). Or was there a philosophy behind this?
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2013, 11:42:30 AM »
Great stuff PoP.

Two other things to ponder though. You have Chris Lawler as an orthodox right back and credit Inter's Facchetti with pioneering the idea of the overlapping full-back. Yet somehow Lawler scored over 40 goals for Liverpool - none so far as I know from a penalty or free kick. As a boy I remember this statistic being marvelled at. How did he do it? One thinks of one of his most famous goals, the winner v Everton in the famous 3-2 match. Liverpool are attacking on the left and then suddenly Lawler appears as the most advanced player on the other side of the pitch.

Yorky - no doubt others were doing it, but when we think of fullbacks who started the trend of attacking and scoring from their defensive positions, we think of Facchetti first, rather than Lawler? Maybe "popularised" would have been better than "pioneered". What do you think? I probably should change that word.

Quote
Then there's the question of Shankly's left wingers. Thompson and Heighway. Both of them right-footers. We're used today to seeing wingers 'switch'. Sterling, for example, has spent most of his formative years playing on the left. But it was unusual in the 1960s and 1970s. Was Shanks just being pragmatic (ie he had no lefties?). Or was there a philosophy behind this?

I couldn't tell you if he was being pragmatic or whether there was an idea behind it. It's interesting though, because both Heighway and Thompson were so natural-looking on their left side. Given that a lot of ideas Shankly had later became popular as "standards" elsewhere in the football world, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he played them there intentionally.
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Offline Paul5star

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2013, 12:02:22 PM »
Great read pop.

Offline fredmilne

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2013, 12:13:22 PM »
Is the midfield for the 74 Cup Final shown right?  Pretty sure it was Cormack on the left, Cally in the middle and Hall on the right in a 3 man midfield.

We only went to a 4 man midfield in the run up to Rome 77.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 12:18:10 PM by fredmilne »

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2013, 12:13:23 PM »
Really interesting read that. For me, tactically and formationwise  it fills in the jigsaw prior to when I starting supporting Liverpool. I was born in '74. The players I first remember from the back half of that article were Clemence, Thommo and Ray Kennedy. Infact i think i have an early memory of Keegan. Obviously a lot of research has gone into that, fair play to you Phaseofplay there fella. Top Drawer that.
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Offline NativityinBlack

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2013, 12:14:02 PM »
Can never learn enough about Shankly.

Brilliant read.

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2013, 12:17:08 PM »
Is the midfield for the 74 Cup Final shown right?  Pretty sure it was Cormack on the left, Cally in the middle and Hall on the right.

It could have been, couldn't it? At times he was on the right, and at times, Callaghan. Which is why that diagram has more arrows than the rest :D

Don't put too much stock in the diagram though - it's just for illustrative purposes. The main idea is that the 74 team was extremely mobile, regardless of their starting position.
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Offline Zeb

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2013, 12:28:19 PM »
Never did find the rest of it, but Jonathan Wilson quotes an Echo piece from December 1959 in Inverting the Pyramid:

Quote
Shankly is a disciple of the game as it is played by continentals. The man out of possession, he believes, is just as important as the man with the ball at his feet. Continental football is not the lazy man's way of playing soccer. Shankly will aim at incisive forward moves by which continentals streak through a defence when it is 'closed up' by British standards. He will make his players kill a ball and move it all in the same action... he will make them practise complete mastery of the ball.

Really fascinating to see it set out like that.
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2013, 12:56:42 PM »
Sorry to split hairs but....
why Shankly could take a team from Division Two to Division One Champions in the space of four years.
It was actually two years - or three seasons.

the combination of Thompson to Hunt created the first goal in normal time).

Thompson wasn't involved. Stevenson to Gerry Byrne, with his broken collar bone, and he crossed. And it was in extra time.

I may be a bit of a Philistine here but it always seemed to me that his formations basically sorted themselves to suit the players available, rather than be premeditated. There was a big change when Emlyn Hughes replaced Billy Stevenson as they were completely different players. There was also a major change when the lightweight Alun Evans, or heavyweight Jack Whitham, were replaced by the double act of Toshack and Keegan.

I could imagine good table manners being a good barometer for Shankly too!

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2013, 01:02:13 PM »
Sorry to split hairs but....It was actually two years - or three seasons.

Thompson wasn't involved. Stevenson to Gerry Byrne, with his broken collar bone, and he crossed. And it was in extra time.

I may be a bit of a Philistine here but it always seemed to me that his formations basically sorted themselves to suit the players available, rather than be premeditated. There was a big change when Emlyn Hughes replaced Billy Stevenson as they were completely different players. There was also a major change when the lightweight Alun Evans, or heavyweight Jack Whitham, were replaced by the double act of Toshack and Keegan.

I could imagine good table manners being a good barometer for Shankly too!

Cheers for that. Could have sworn it was Thompson there. Duly noted and corrected!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 01:04:19 PM by PhaseofPlay »
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2013, 07:11:07 PM »
Wow! Cracking read that. Always an education coming to this site. Wonderful tributes and analysis of Shankly impact on this club right across the site, too. Also, visually the site looks magnificent.
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2013, 07:36:39 PM »
Always an education, always appreciated. This is superb stuff.
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Offline GhostPumpkinSoup

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2013, 07:44:03 PM »
Wonderful stuff, thank you.

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2013, 08:32:07 PM »
Absolutely fantastic. Hats off.

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Offline John C

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2013, 09:43:14 PM »

ARE YOU UNDER 30  :wave  DON'T LIKE LONG POSTS  :wave  WAIT, believe me, this is a must must read from PoP






PoP, I'm stunned by the brilliance and at my age the memory provoking writing mate. I wish I know how to do the short quote that people do so I could reply to so many sentences.


I'll try and have a go at reply properly tomorrow but I did wonder if you didn't do Heighway enough justice in his '71 final contribution and also from my recollection how over-powering Arsenal were and that George had already had 2 or 3 similar threatening strikes before that thunder-blast ripped my life apart. I threw my contribution together really just wanting to share my thoughts and memorabilia, I should have mentioned how Thompson and Callaghan overlap their brilliant carers with brilliance.


Thank you PoP.

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2013, 09:54:53 PM »
PoP nails a beauty of a post.
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Offline locultom

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2013, 11:28:15 PM »
Ahh...that's fantastic. My primary schol football teacher, Mr Llloyd still drew out the formations for the footy team in WM. I played inside right - it was 1988!. Re-watched BBC doc about the kop and the greatest managers series last night and listened to Shankly tributes on the radio. Reminds me of the official histories vhs's i had in the 80's. Happy days and a great analysis. Doing my FA licence assessment tomorrow...apparently the 2 I did in 1995 are out of date! Do you think if I mention it's Shanks b'day on the 2nd they'll wave me through on grounds of appreciation...cheers POP lovely stuff.
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Offline Yorkykopite

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2013, 01:39:51 PM »
Bill's boldest tactical innovation was his last one. The moment he paired Hughes with Thompson and jettisoned Larry Lloyd was the moment the template for all of Liverpool's greatest successes was forged.

I remember it well. I particularly remember the scepticism coming from some parts of the football world (I was going to say 'scorn' but no one was ever scornful of Shankly. It was impossible to be so). Both Thompson and Hughes, after all, were converted midfield players, half-backs in the old currency. The idea that you could hope to combat the likes of Joe Royle and Joe Jordan, Ron Davies, Wynn Davies and Roger Davies, Bob Latchford and John Radford, without a towering aerial presence-cum-clogger at the back was a kind of heresy. But Shanks was a happy heretic.

Thompson and Hughes were centre backs of a new kind. They tackled swiftly and efficiently but were also mobile. They were competent in the air because they were natural timers of the ball. And they loved having the ball at their feet and embraced the responsibility for attacking from the back. It made us invincible in the long run as Bob Paisley made it a principle to employ ball-playing centre backs. Hansen and Lawrenson are still the best centre-back pairing ever to play in England - and among the best in Europe.

But going back to that initial scepticism surrounding Shankly's innovation. That was what all the Malcolm MacDonald hype was about before the great '74 Cup Final. Supermac was too strong for our pair. Supermac was too quick. Supermac was too dominant in the air. Hughes and Thompson would be torn apart.

The Final is rightly honoured as one of the finest ever. Everyone knows about the supremacy of Liverpool's performance and the way it culminated in the pass-n-move valhalla of the 3rd goal. But Wembley '74 was also the great vindication for the Hughes-Thompson pairing and the principle behind it. Supermac had one shot on goal I think. It was a desperate one from about 30 yards out. It hit a Kopite in the upper tier of the terrace.     
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Offline John C

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2013, 03:10:59 PM »

Bill's boldest tactical innovation was his last one. The moment he paired Hughes with Thompson and jettisoned Larry Lloyd was the moment the template for all of Liverpool's greatest successes was forged.


I remember it well. I particularly remember the scepticism coming from some parts of the football world
Which included me at the time mate, I was far too young to understand the theory, LL was a cracking player in my youthful eyes. Then again so was Hateley.

Offline SamAteTheRedAcid

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2013, 05:37:35 PM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKYiN0aUB8w longer highlights of 1974 FA Cup Final...

Just watching these, highlights how great the era was. Lovely fluid football (Heighway superb) and Sir Bob smoking cigars on the bench. Plus Shanks in a rather fetching pink shirt. Paging Hassinator...
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #34 on: September 2, 2013, 11:25:06 AM »
Brilliantly insightful piece. Thank you for taking the time to put that together.
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #35 on: September 2, 2013, 12:52:28 PM »
Should be working, but what an enthralling read , much better than the stuff I write (I am Jonathan Wilson).
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Offline exiledinyorkshire

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #36 on: September 2, 2013, 01:07:54 PM »
Ah and we are back to the writing of truly wonderful articles. Such a relief from the STFU.

Well done mate, there is a book in you brother and I for one will buy it.

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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #37 on: September 2, 2013, 01:11:32 PM »
Loved that Miljanić mention, he was indeed a revolutionary during the seventies, and as a Red Star fan I'm glad to see people totally unrelated to football in the Balkans taking notice. Miljan died in Belgrade last year, 30 years after giving up coaching, and is definitely one of the most accomplished coaches from Yugoslavia, alongside of course Tomislav Ivić (of Hajduk Split), Abdulah Gegić (of Partizan Belgrade), and Vujadin Boškov (of Vojvodina Novi Sad, the only one of them still alive). When I was a kid though, during the nineties, people who loved football really disliked Miljanić as he was in charge of the FA of Yugoslavia during its 10-year-long massive downfall in all areas, marked by corruption, retrograde footballing trends, and nepotism.

So now, whenever his name comes up, it makes me think of years spent eventually disliking the way Yugoslavian/Serbian national teams and clubs tended to defend for 90 minutes in away or decisive fixtures, do nothing incisive with the ball whatsoever, and end up conceding just that one goal needed for them to be eliminated if they had really good players at their disposal (Yugoslavia managed by Slobodan Santrač, a keen admirer of Miljanić's seventies football even during late nineties, at the World Cup 1998 vs. the Netherlands), or being demolished with power if not really mature enough (Red Star in 2004 coached by Ljupko Petrović, another one of Miljan's lifelong faithful apprentices, vs. PSV & Zenit in away games with a combined 0-9 effort).

Not really sure why I wrote this, though, guess I just needed a shoulder to cry on because my own hometown's version of Shanks didn't end up producing a similar positive domino effect as the one this history board is all about. Born-and-raised Liverpudlians are really lucky as hell to have such a perfect football story as local heritage.
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #38 on: September 2, 2013, 01:11:43 PM »
Just Thank You POP. But mainly Thank you Mr Shankly.
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Re: #SHANKLY100 - Shankly's Tactical Progression in Three Games
« Reply #39 on: September 2, 2013, 01:29:54 PM »
Most excellent lunch reading - thanks to Pop and of course the Bastion of Invincibility that is Sir Shankly.