The thought of writing an article on tactics fills me with dread. Despite editing Mihail for years – and now hosting a tactics podcast with Paul Dalglish – the dry side of the analysis, the finer details and subtle switches, the formation changes, even when you aren’t 100% of the initial formation in the first place, and the jargon, oh the jargon … all serve to muddy the waters rather than offer exact clarity, to my mind at least.
And yet, tactics are the fundamental building block of any team, for a myriad of reasons. Outlined brilliantly, and succinctly, in the worldwide bestseller, Talking Tactics ‘You’ll Never Look At Football The Same Way Again’ by the aforementioned Mihail Vladimirov (who as we now know is working in the professional game) with the inquisitive mind of Bob Pearce posing the questions. They’re both right, I don’t look at football in the same way as I did five years ago, or even – to an extent – five months ago. The more you learn about tactics, the more you see, the more you understand, the more you take out of every match. The reason for this opening ramble is that this won’t be like any other tactical article you’ve read. No formation images. No trequartistas. No point writing something if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. Players do have roles, though, and they do have names that better help understand what exactly they do, once again ably outlined by the Bulgarian former TTT tactical analyst, here. Instead I’m going to watch hours and hours of video, using all the clips available, from all the matches, and come up with a four part series focusing on – in my mind at least – the key tactical/strategical components of the Reds’ season thus far.
Part One: Counterattacks
Part Two: Defensive Style & Pressing
Part Three: Patient Possession
Part Four: Set Pieces at Both End
The rest of this article is for subscribers only and includes a ten minute video analysis of our best counterattacks this season, as well the statistical context.