By Mihail Vladimirov.
Both teams remained unchanged following their previous league games. This meant the match would present obvious tactical clashes all over pitch – both in terms of formations and personnel.
Liverpool opted to continue with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. But with Sahin dropping deeper and Gerrard pushing forward so actively, it wasn’t a strict 2-1 midfield triangle. It was more of a cross between the two variants (2-1 or 1-2) depending on where the ball was – in deeper areas it was more of a 2-1 with Gerrard deeper to help bring it higher up the pitch, and then 1-2 once he levelled with Sahin when entering Stoke’s half.
With Adam on the pitch, Stoke continued to play their usual – for the past month – 4-4-1-1 shape. This meant the teams were going to be perfectly matched up across the midfield in numerical terms – in defence Stoke’s 2-1 were going to match Liverpool’s attacking 1-2 triangle.
In a way the teams were well matched in terms of numbers all over the pitch – 3v3 in midfield, 2v2 down the flanks and the defences having a spare man against the opposition’s lone striker. With this in mind, the different strategies, patterns of plays and players’ roles were always going to be the major decisive tactical battles.
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