By Mihail Vladimirov.
As the matches were pre-season friendlies, this content will be slightly different than the usual in-depth tactical analysis. It will still be purely tactically oriented but will focus on Liverpool’s tactical behaviour on a half-by-half basis due to the wholesale changes that we saw in each half.
In a way we could easily say that each half was a different match with a different tactical context. As such the focus will be on the patterns and approaches we saw in each half, rather than a chronological analysis of each match as a whole. That’s why there aren’t diagrams either – I found it rather unnecessary to have six diagrams having similar formations with similar movement patterns but with different names to overload the text. Instead there would be additional info of the type of players fielded in each starting XI.
First half starting XI in a 4-1-2-3 formation: Jones; Enrique (overlapping full back), Carragher, Sama (both possession friendly defenders), Wisdom (supporting full back); Spearing (recycling destroyer), Adam (direct passer), Aquilani (roaming creator); Pachecho (wide creator), Ibe (winger), Eccleston (drifting forward).
In terms of players’ type, this starting XI was fairly balanced. The left flank had an overlapping full back and a creator moving infield, while on the right, given Wisdom’s fairly passive role in terms of pushing forward, Ibe stayed much wider and higher up the pitch aiming to produce the required attacking width. In the centre the midfield trio included the three types of players this formation is in theory built around. Up front the drifting lone striker was capable of providing the required lateral runs in order to stretch the opposition’s defence and open up spaces for the central creator pushing forward and the in-cutting wide creator.
As soon as the match started Rodgers’ blueprint became evident – Spearing dropping deep to collect the balls from the defenders, joining them in what will be called in the future the “deep trio”, allowing the full backs (especially Enrique) to push forward and create the additional line of play, preparing the team to enter in the next phase of the recycling process.
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