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      Tactics geeks of the world unite...

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      PurpleMonkey
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #780: Jan 28, 2018 02:53:38 am
      Is it just me, or am I the only one that thinks the root of all this is the midfield ( I have done for many seasons) and how unbalanced we are? Midfield is a shambles, there just isn't any balance or control. We have Wijnaldum, Can, Milner and Hendo, then you have that attacking midfield role in which we have Lallana and Ox, and whilst I actually think all 6 are very good players, the problem lies within how similar they are, all industrial and considered secondary type players with their main strengths being work rate and fitness. We are pretty much forcing our secondary type players into playing hub roles.

      Remember how Sakho was the answer to our defence? How about Lovren? Then Matip and now we bring in VVD but still the same problem, why is that? Are we gonna be blaming VVD next and wanting to sign another CB? Perhaps if our defenders had better midfield protection, we would actually be decent ish (:D) at the back? But then, what players do we have that are capable of offering that protection, but also able to distribute as good as a proper defensive midfielder?

      As for attacking play, I am not sure whether the team was built for Coutinho , but I sure as hell see that this team with the players we have are dis-jointed and needing a puppet master to pull the strings, especially when we pin the opposition back and have the brunt of possession, so having that one playmaker will make all the difference and allow the engine to run smoothly.

      And before you say one player doesn't make a huge difference,  I believe he does. Imagine Barca without Messi, Real without Ronaldo (when he was in his peak), Arsenal without Sanchez, PSG without Neymar, Napoli without Jorginho, Spurs without Eriksen, City without De Bruyne etc, they would be far weaker and probably wouldn't function right.

      So yeah, that's how I see it anyway, secondary midfielders being asked to play hub roles. The midfield is the biggest problem for me.
      TheleftpegofRayKennedy
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #781: Jan 28, 2018 07:55:34 pm
      Is it just me, or am I the only one that thinks the root of all this is the midfield ( I have done for many seasons) and how unbalanced we are? Midfield is a shambles, there just isn't any balance or control. We have Wijnaldum, Can, Milner and Hendo, then you have that attacking midfield role in which we have Lallana and Ox, and whilst I actually think all 6 are very good players, the problem lies within how similar they are, all industrial and considered secondary type players with their main strengths being work rate and fitness. We are pretty much forcing our secondary type players into playing hub roles.

      Remember how Sakho was the answer to our defence? How about Lovren? Then Matip and now we bring in VVD but still the same problem, why is that? Are we gonna be blaming VVD next and wanting to sign another CB? Perhaps if our defenders had better midfield protection, we would actually be decent ish (:D) at the back? But then, what players do we have that are capable of offering that protection, but also able to distribute as good as a proper defensive midfielder?

      As for attacking play, I am not sure whether the team was built for Coutinho , but I sure as hell see that this team with the players we have are dis-jointed and needing a puppet master to pull the strings, especially when we pin the opposition back and have the brunt of possession, so having that one playmaker will make all the difference and allow the engine to run smoothly.

      And before you say one player doesn't make a huge difference,  I believe he does. Imagine Barca without Messi, Real without Ronaldo (when he was in his peak), Arsenal without Sanchez, PSG without Neymar, Napoli without Jorginho, Spurs without Eriksen, City without De Bruyne etc, they would be far weaker and probably wouldn't function right.

      So yeah, that's how I see it anyway, secondary midfielders being asked to play hub roles. The midfield is the biggest problem for me.

      With the glaring exception of the need for a dominant goalkeeper, I agree, its a concern.  Our midfield either functions like a well oiled piece of German automotive technology or it swerves off the road and cartwheels into a tree.  The difference seems to be the opposition and how they set up and play.  I agree that we lack that on-field tactical vision to see what's developing ahead and find the right (long/medium) pass.  I also agree that our defence is exposed completely at times by our lack of defensive thinking in midfield. 
      I actually think the midfielders all run around too much!  The very quality they are praised for.  Getting into defensive positions quickly and cohesively and holding those positions would help us as a defensive unit, but we're set up to attack so completely that we simply don't have men close enough to those ideal positions when needed.  Hence the furious racing about. That's how I see it. 

      Having said that, I've decided not to dwell on the last two games too much.  It's how we respond to adversity that will be the measure of us all, not what that adversity does to us in the short term.
       
      PurpleMonkey
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #782: Feb 05, 2018 01:56:38 am
      It's the same old sh*t isn't it? We struggle to manage the game in winning positions, and it all stems from midfield as usual. As soon as Keita comes in and we get a proper #6 (DM or DLPM) that is comfortable in tight areas and a beast of a distributor, I can see us controlling the middle like how City, Napoli and Barca does.
      HScRed1
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #783: Feb 05, 2018 08:13:34 am
      It's the same old sh*t isn't it? We struggle to manage the game in winning positions, and it all stems from midfield as usual. As soon as Keita comes in and we get a proper #6 (DM or DLPM) that is comfortable in tight areas and a beast of a distributor, I can see us controlling the middle like how City, Napoli and Barca does.

      Definitely an issue in the second half once the work horses ran out of steam. The hoof up to Salah and hoping for some magic meant that the back line never got a breather. That sort of pressure will eventually lead to a mistake somewhere.

      If we're going to try and park the bus then we really needed someone in midfield who has the ability to carry the ball out and find one of the forward players with an accurate pass.

      Otherwise we could have bought on Solanke and asked him to hold onto the ball to relieve some pressure.

      Tactically a poor second half.
      Scottbot
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #784: Feb 05, 2018 01:42:20 pm
      It's the same old sh*t isn't it? We struggle to manage the game in winning positions, and it all stems from midfield as usual. As soon as Keita comes in and we get a proper #6 (DM or DLPM) that is comfortable in tight areas and a beast of a distributor, I can see us controlling the middle like how City, Napoli and Barca does.

      So a whole new midfield then!!! That wouldn't be a bad idea!

      yesterday was the first game I have felt that we have really missed Coutinho. In the first half our final ball cost us a couple more goals and in the 2nd we simply couldn't keep hold of it, we got deeper and deeper, the lads got knackered and we surrendered 65% possession. Were simply not good enough or well drilled enough defensively to spend that much time without the ball against quality opposition. Your typical mourinho team can play that way but it's not in the DNA of our lads. Did anyone really believe we would keep a clean sheet? I didn't for one second. Had Coutinho been involved we at least would have had an outlet, someone who can get the ball in tight areas, retain it (or win a foul) and then give us a second or two to get up the pitch.
      PurpleMonkey
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #785: Feb 05, 2018 02:17:05 pm
      So a whole new midfield then!!! That wouldn't be a bad idea!

      yesterday was the first game I have felt that we have really missed Coutinho. In the first half our final ball cost us a couple more goals and in the 2nd we simply couldn't keep hold of it, we got deeper and deeper, the lads got knackered and we surrendered 65% possession. Were simply not good enough or well drilled enough defensively to spend that much time without the ball against quality opposition. Your typical mourinho team can play that way but it's not in the DNA of our lads. Did anyone really believe we would keep a clean sheet? I didn't for one second. Had Coutinho been involved we at least would have had an outlet, someone who can get the ball in tight areas, retain it (or win a foul) and then give us a second or two to get up the pitch.

      I was thinking today, what if we had De Bruyne and Fernandinho (city), or Jorginho and Hamsik (Napoli), or Busquets and Coutinho (Barca), or Eriksen and average Dier (Spurs), or Mkhitaryan and Wilshere (Arsenal), or Matic and Herrera (Utd), or Pjanic and Khedira (Juventus), Verratti (PSG), or Casemiro and Isco (Real)... f**k, even Lucas and Luis Alberto (Lazio) etc, would that make a huge difference? I don't know, but what I do know is, we would have better control in midfield and dominate the middle, which in return wouldn't have us work as hard off the ball.

      Now put Hendo and Wijnaldum/Can in there to replace them, adding their 3rd industrial midfielder (Matuidi, Dembele, Rakitic, Pogba, Allan, Rabiot etc) into the equation, how different would their playing styles be, right?

      Not saying our midfielders are sh*t, believe it or not, I would put Hendo, Can and Wijnaldum in the top tier bracket in what they do (pressing, box-boxing and support play) when they are on their game, but how can we look to dominate/control the middle when all our midfielders (even our attacking ones in Lallana and Ox) are pretty much the same type?



      Scottbot
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #786: Feb 05, 2018 09:32:29 pm
      I was thinking today, what if we had De Bruyne and Fernandinho (city), or Jorginho and Hamsik (Napoli), or Busquets and Coutinho (Barca), or Eriksen and average Dier (Spurs), or Mkhitaryan and Wilshere (Arsenal), or Matic and Herrera (Utd), or Pjanic and Khedira (Juventus), Verratti (PSG), or Casemiro and Isco (Real)... f**k, even Lucas and Luis Alberto (Lazio) etc, would that make a huge difference? I don't know, but what I do know is, we would have better control in midfield and dominate the middle, which in return wouldn't have us work as hard off the ball.

      Now put Hendo and Wijnaldum/Can in there to replace them, adding their 3rd industrial midfielder (Matuidi, Dembele, Rakitic, Pogba, Allan, Rabiot etc) into the equation, how different would their playing styles be, right?

      Not saying our midfielders are sh*t, believe it or not, I would put Hendo, Can and Wijnaldum in the top tier bracket in what they do (pressing, box-boxing and support play) when they are on their game, but how can we look to dominate/control the middle when all our midfielders (even our attacking ones in Lallana and Ox) are pretty much the same type?





      I'd love Hamsik from Napoli mate, exactly the sort of player we should be after and at 30 he wouldn't cost the world either. Terrific passer, great vision and big and strong. He would be perfect alongside Keita and Either of Henderson or Gino. Without a doubt we need a creative player in there, a Modric or Rakitic type. Keith looks a cracking little player but I'm not sure he fully ticks that box although he has a great eye for a through ball. On many levels it was a bit absurd seeing us linked to Jack Wilshere at the weekend and I couldn't see it happening but we could do with that sort of player.
      HScRed1
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #787: Feb 12, 2018 11:11:46 am
      crouchinho
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #788: Feb 12, 2018 10:24:49 pm
      Is it just me, or am I the only one that thinks the root of all this is the midfield ( I have done for many seasons) and how unbalanced we are? Midfield is a shambles, there just isn't any balance or control.

      Balance, control or protection.

      Buy four world class defenders and a keeper and we'd still have a lot of the same issues.

      The midfield is the biggest issue for me. By a distance.
      Robby The Z
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #789: Apr 25, 2018 04:10:59 pm
      Our goals vs. Roma:

      1. Roma in possession, their own end near the center circle.
      Henderson press, then Gini press. Both challenges bring shouts for foul for Roma, but yield the turnover.
      Sadio (also Pressing) quick transition pass to Bobby.
      Bobby dribbles forward. Mo running into area on right.
      Short pass to Mo.
      Bobby and Sade run deeper into area.
      Mo switches back to left foot, GOLAZO into upper left hand corner of net.
      (The strike gets all the attention and it was fantastic, but at least four other players were working hard to help create this goal.

      2. Roma attacking, send ball into our area.
      Virgil clears chipped pass with a volley that goes straight to Mo standing near center circle.
      Mo's first touch sends it short to Bobby, starting him toward opposition goal. Mo immediately turns and starts running forward as well.
      Four Roma players turn and begin running back to goal, one steps up to challenge Bobby.
      Bobby skins the challenge and continues toward goal. Mo switches gears and runs between the two trailing defenders. The other defender appears to be gaining ground on Bobby as he runs through the middle.
      Mo slightly alters his run, perfectly aiming for the gap between the two defenders.
      Bobby plays a perfectly weighted pass into the gap, for Mo to run onto.
      At full stride, Mo still applies a perfect touch and times his finish against the onrushing transfer non-target.

      3. Liverpool end, 25 yards out to the right.
      Lovren with the ball, plays ahead and to right to TAA.
      Trent's two main passing options are Milner rushing back toward him, and Salah, breaking from the center toward the right flank.
      Under pressure, Trent sends a ball behind the flank midfielder and to the right of the Roma back three, giving Mo acres of space to run onto it.
      Mo accelerates enough to be farther upfield than all three defenders. As he dribbles in from the right, nobo goes out to challenge.
      Allison stays at near post.
      Bobby and Sadio both run toward the far side of the penalty area. But Sadio then cuts sharply into space near the penalty spot.
      Mo zips grounded ball into Sadio's path.
      Still some work for Sadio to do (remembering that he's missed two good chances already), but both the final defender and keeper are protecting the middle of goal, and Sadio tucks across his body into far corner for 3-0.

      4. Livepool ball in own half,  near center circle.
      Virgil plays long pass to right side for TAA.
      Under pressure, Trent makes neat volley past defender into space down right for Mo.
      Mo collects with no pressure, turns and dribbles towards the elbow of the 18 where a defender waits.
      Gini, Bobby and Sadio begin runs  into area. Five Roma players are in or running back into area.
      Mo absolutely skins his defender, running toward by-line.
      Bobby picks up his run to back post. Sadio offers middle and Gini offers cutback.
      Mo threads pass between 2nd defender and Allison, who is guarding near post.
      Pass also elude third defender who is a step behind Bobby's run.
      Bobby doesn't miss.

      5. I don't see a highlight on what led to the corner. Maybe someone can help me.
      On the set piece, Milner sends a good enough cross in. Firmino and Virgil were both near the penalty spot.
      Thought someone should have been able to stop this from going in to be honest, but they were pretty shellshocked by then.

      Would love your thoughts on these. I'm mainly doing this because I don't want to let go of the awesome feeling of what I watched yesterday (the first 80 minutes :-) ).

      On the tactical end, I think it's notable that with their setup, our fullbacks weren't able to bomb forward as much as we would like, and yet we were still extremely potent in attack. Good times.



       
      « Last Edit: Apr 25, 2018 04:38:21 pm by Robby The Z »
      Scotia
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #790: Apr 25, 2018 04:19:08 pm
      Our goals vs. Roma:

      1. Roma in possession, their own end near the center circle.
      Henderson press, then Gini press. Both challenges bring shouts for foul for Roma, but yield the turnover.
      Sadio (also Pressing) quick transition pass to Bobby.
      Bobby dribbles forward. Mo running into area on right.
      Short pass to Mo.
      Bobby and Sade run deeper into area.
      Mo switches back to left foot, GOLAZO into upper left hand corner of net.
      (The strike gets all the attention and it was fantastic, but at least four other players were working hard to help create this goal.

      2. Roma attacking, send ball into our area.
      Virgil clears chipped pass with a volley that goes straight to Mo standing near center circle.
      Mo's first touch sends it short to Bobby, starting him toward opposition goal. Mo immediately turns and starts running forward as well.
      Four Roma players turn and begin running back to goal, one steps up to challenge Bobby.
      Bobby skins the challenge and continues toward goal. Mo switches gears and runs between the two trailing defenders. The other defender appears to be gaining ground on Bobby as he runs through the middle.
      Mo slightly alters his run, perfectly aiming for the gap between the two defenders.
      Bobby plays a perfectly weighted pass into the gap, for Mo to run onto.
      At full stride, Mo still applies a perfect touch and times his finish against the onrushing transfer non-target.

      3. Liverpool end, 25 yards out to the right.
      Lovren with the ball, plays ahead and to right to TAA.
      Trent's two main passing options are Milner rushing back toward him, and Salah, breaking from the center toward the right flank.
      Under pressure, Trent sends a ball behind the flank midfielder and to the right of the Roma back three, giving Mo acres of space to run onto it.
      Mo accelerates enough to be farther upfield than all three defenders. As he dribbles in from the right, nobo goes out to challenge.
      Allison stays at near post.
      Bobby and Sadio both run toward the far side of the penalty area. But Sadio then cuts sharply into space near the penalty spot.
      Mo zips grounded ball into Sadio's path.
      Still some work for Sadio to do (remembering that he's missed two good chances already), but both the final defender and keeper are protecting the middle of goal, and Sadio tucks across his body into far corner for 3-0.

      4. Livepool ball in own half,  near center circle.
      Virgil plays long pass to right side for TAA.
      Under pressure, Trent makes neat volley past defender into space down right for Mo.
      Mo collects with no pressure, turns and dribbles towards the elbow of the 18 where a defender waits.
      Gini, Bobby and Sadio begin runs  into area. Five Roma players are in or running back into area.
      Mo absolutely skins his defender, running toward by-line.
      Bobby picks up his run to back post. Sadio offers middle and Gini offers cutback.
      Mo threads pass between 2nd defender and Allison, who is guarding near post.
      Pass also elude third defender who is a step behind Bobby's run.
      Bobby doesn't miss.

      5. I don't see a highlight on what led to the corner. Maybe someone can help me.
      On the set piece, Milner sends a good enough cross in. Firmino and Virgil were both near the penalty spot.
      Thought someone should have been able to stop this from going in to be honest, but they were pretty shellshocked by then.

      Would love your thoughts on these. I'm mainly doing this because I don't want to let go of the awesome feeling of what I watched yesterday (the first 80 minutes :-) ).

      On the tactical end, I think it's notable that with their setup, our fullbacks weren't able to bomb forward as much as we would like, and yet we were still extremely potent in attack. Good times.



       

      2.
      The corner was basically their sub panicking and passing straight out.

      The cumulative effect of the pressing / pressure had fried all their brains......even the ones watching plus nobody wanted the ball in their midfield at that point.
      Scotia
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #791: Apr 25, 2018 04:40:17 pm
      Been thinking long and hard today about this game and I just don’t see how they can change things - they just don’t have the legs.

      Their press is based on a suffocating blanket type approach - not the swarming, waspish version we employ.

      They actually wanted us to go long - into their 3 CBs who they backed to win headers vs our front three. The only thing they can do differently is sit off........and we’ll just play through or round em instead because we’re under no pressure.

      Struggling to see how they restrict us.
      HScRed1
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #792: Apr 25, 2018 05:05:44 pm
      Been thinking long and hard today about this game and I just don’t see how they can change things - they just don’t have the legs.

      Their press is based on a suffocating blanket type approach - not the swarming, waspish version we employ.

      They actually wanted us to go long - into their 3 CBs who they backed to win headers vs our front three. The only thing they can do differently is sit off........and we’ll just play through or round em instead because we’re under no pressure.

      Struggling to see how they restrict us.

      Can’t understand what their manager was thinking playing a back 3, Mane and Salah absolutely love playing against a back 3.

      They obviously like to compress the play hence the high back line, that may work against an ageing Barca attack who have zero pace.

      Not overly impressed with their tactics, played right into our strengths.

      heimdall
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #793: Apr 25, 2018 05:40:26 pm
      So what are we all thinking for the return leg?
      I'd be tempted to go for a 3-5-2 with TAA and Robertson joining the midfield together with Bobby, Hendo and Milner and playing Salah and Mane up top on the counter.
      Oh and I'd have Vvd man mark Dzeko with Lovren and Klavan mopping up the rest.
      Vicks86
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #794: Apr 25, 2018 05:58:28 pm
      So what are we all thinking for the return leg?
      I'd be tempted to go for a 3-5-2 with TAA and Robertson joining the midfield together with Bobby, Hendo and Milner and playing Salah and Mane up top on the counter.
      Oh and I'd have Vvd man mark Dzeko with Lovren and Klavan mopping up the rest.

      Why fix if it aint broke?? 3 at the back would probably play into their hands as diFra would definitely start with a 4-3-3 at home. Under vs Klavan - not really for me. And we definitely cant afford to lose the midfield battle. I mean, Gini was fantastic last night, so why would he not start? My guess is it'll be 4-3-3 vs 4-3-3
      crouchinho
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #795: Apr 25, 2018 06:14:09 pm
      Same team again.

      The obvious regret is not only them scoring twice, but we should’ve had more. They were set up as ideal as we could’ve asked.

      Their fullbacks were pressing ours and left Juan Jesus marking Salah alone and Fazio marking Mané. And they had De Rossi sitting deep who was so legless against our speed. Their best and most combative midfielder in Nainngolan was too busy up field getting stifled by Hendo.

      If they’re to get back in this they have to play with the reckless abandon they had when they were 5-0 down. Good luck you bas**rds.
      luckofirish8
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #796: Apr 25, 2018 06:17:44 pm
      So what are we all thinking for the return leg?
      I'd be tempted to go for a 3-5-2 with TAA and Robertson joining the midfield together with Bobby, Hendo and Milner and playing Salah and Mane up top on the counter.
      Oh and I'd have Vvd man mark Dzeko with Lovren and Klavan mopping up the rest.

      Interesting idea given the injury issue we currently have with midfielders.

      Why fix if it aint broke?? 3 at the back would probably play into their hands as diFra would definitely start with a 4-3-3 at home. Under vs Klavan - not really for me. And we definitely cant afford to lose the midfield battle. I mean, Gini was fantastic last night, so why would he not start? My guess is it'll be 4-3-3 vs 4-3-3

      Tend to agree to continue to play to our strength though another injury in midfield will almost certainly force a change. 


      Vicks86
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #797: Apr 25, 2018 06:36:28 pm
      Interesting idea given the injury issue we currently have with midfielders.

      Using 3-4-3 vs Stoke might be an option though.

      Woodburn-Ings-Salah
      Moreno-Jones-Gini-Gomez
      Klavan-Virgil-Lovren
      Karius

      Give Mane, Bobby, Milner, Hendo and the full backs a breather, and may be rotate Gini after an hour.
      heimdall
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #798: Apr 25, 2018 08:00:37 pm
      Why fix if it aint broke?? 3 at the back would probably play into their hands as diFra would definitely start with a 4-3-3 at home. Under vs Klavan - not really for me. And we definitely cant afford to lose the midfield battle. I mean, Gini was fantastic last night, so why would he not start? My guess is it'll be 4-3-3 vs 4-3-3

      Against Barca they played 5 in midfield and won the midfield battle, that's my only reason behind the switch in formation, but if both teams play the same next week then we set up as we normally do.
      heimdall
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #799: Apr 25, 2018 08:05:53 pm
      Using 3-4-3 vs Stoke might be an option though.

      Woodburn-Ings-Salah
      Moreno-Jones-Gini-Gomez
      Klavan-Virgil-Lovren
      Karius

      Give Mane, Bobby, Milner, Hendo and the full backs a breather, and may be rotate Gini after an hour.

      Absolutely not, we have to win against Stoke, no f**king about with the team. We can't afford it after the balls up against West Brom. That's why that draw was so bloody annoying.
      PurpleMonkey
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #800: Apr 26, 2018 01:24:32 am
      If something happened to one of our midfielders, what options are available?

      Could Mane play as the 3rd midfielder and maybe have Moreno as a left wide player? How about Firmino and move Salah as a 9 with Mane right and Moreno left?

      How about if you are not a Moreno fan , what about TAA in midfield and Clyne/Gomez as our right back? Or we could drop Firmino there and have Solanke or Ings as the 9.

      Anything I missed out?

      CT_LFC
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #801: Apr 26, 2018 03:38:47 am
      Seem to recall a game where Solanke played as CF and Firmino behind him? Could be a possibility as well.
      Robby The Z
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #802: May 03, 2018 04:34:08 pm
      Klopp as Revolutonary, setting a trend for world football. From espn.com:

      Liverpool lead new tactical era of 'storming' while the likes of Mourinho are left behind
      Apr 30, 2018
      Simon Kuper David Merrell

      Top-class football is changing before our eyes. Liverpool's 5-2 rout of Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal merely confirmed it. The game is moving into a new tactical era: Attacking pressing is becoming so rapid that it should probably be called "storming."

      That is why we are seeing so many big wins in big games. And it's also why we're seeing managers such as Jose Mourinho struggling to adjust (more on that below).

      Liverpool are only the most obvious practitioners of storming. Gegenpressing -- as the Germans call the style -- means chasing up the opposition's defence the moment you lose possession, in order to win the ball near their goal. "Gegenpressing is the best playmaker in the world," Jürgen Klopp likes to say. When it works, a storming team can rack up the goals.

      You see this trend even in matches between two world-class teams. When Germany put seven past Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, we thought this was a one-off. In fact, it was an only slightly exaggerated portent of what has come since. Consider the blowout wins in Champions League knockout games in the past two seasons:


      The three results from this season's round of 16 can be explained in part by the financial divide in modern football: a big club thrashed a smaller one. However, in each case, the big club spent long periods storming the small club's goal, instead of the old method of sitting back after taking a comfortable lead:


      And if you think this is a big theory built on a small sample of games, here is more evidence of the trend:

      - This is already the highest-scoring Champions League season ever, with 387 goals in 122 games so far, or 3.17 per game. The previous record season was 2016-17.
      - As Jonathan Wilson has noted in The Guardian, the number of big wins -- by three goals or more -- in the quarterfinals and later has risen sharply over the past eight seasons, compared with the previous eight.
      - UEFA's own report on the most recent Champions League season found that the average goal was scored "after an average of 10.62 seconds of ball possession." That was 8 percent less pre-goal possession time than just two years before, in 2014-15. This looks like evidence, says UEFA, of "a trend towards more direct attacking".
      - The Premier League is also becoming more goal-rich. In the 1992-2009 period, average goals per game over a season were below 2.7 in every season but one (in 1999-2000, when it hit 2.8). Since 2009-10, average goals have been above 2.7 in every season except one.

      So what is going on?

      Pressing isn't totally new. In the 1970s, it was used by teams as different as Leeds and Holland, who called it jagen, or "hunting." German teams, helped by their superior fitness, would often raise the pace of play and send defenders and midfielders pelting forward for brief spells, usually immediately after the opposition had taken the lead.

      At the 1986 World Cup, the Soviet Union pioneered an early form of storming in a 6-0 demolition of Hungary. They would attack for a minute or two at an insane pace, score, then rest for a while by passing around quietly in defense. Taking breaks was a necessity in an era in which players were not particularly fit and especially in the heat of the Mexican World Cup.

      But modern players are fit enough to storm often and at unprecedented pace. High-intensity running has increased by 50 percent in the Premier League over the past decade, according to a study led by the University of Gothenburg last year which read, in part:

      Compared with in the past, modern top-class soccer is characterized by more high-intensity sprints followed by a substantially lower tempo. Repeated bouts of high-intensity running for 1-5 minutes are followed by a historically low intensity for up to 5 minutes. Thus, a player's activity level during a match tends to alternate between two extremes, compared with the traditionally more steady match tempo.

      In storming teams, wing-backs and full-backs pelt forward into attack. Some teams compensate by fielding three central defenders. The midfield's job is to win the ball high up and immediately feed the forwards.

      That is why Liverpool's James Milner, a ball winner rather than a creator, leads the Champions League in assists this season; think of the loose ball he won in the 3-0 drubbing of Manchester City to set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's long-range strike.

      Storming teams also have a stunningly attacking mindset. Even after they have scored a couple, they try to keep storming. Brazil vs. Germany in 2014 was the original case-study, but Liverpool did the same against Roma. You might say this is a risky strategy and, indeed, Liverpool got tired and conceded two late goals.

      Storming teams are often undermanned in defense and can be overrun by others playing similarly. That happened to Roma's three-man defense at Anfield. They didn't perform any sort of effective pressing for most of the game -- gegen or otherwise -- but their manager Eusebio Di Francesco had previously impressed with his attacking philosophy and an even higher defensive line than that of Klopp.


      Liverpool have a commanding lead to take to Roma with a Champions League final place up for grabs. EPA/Peter Powell
      Liverpool have also had doses of their own medicine: Recall that in the league this season they lost 5-0 at Man City and conceded three times at home to the same opponents, while scoring four themselves. Defensive teams are rarely so vulnerable.

      But you could also say that if storming has brought you a couple of early goals, it's clearly working, so why switch tactics if you're not tired? By contrast, if you go 2-0 up and "park the bus," your opponents only need to nick a goal to be back in the tie. If you think you can outscore them by continuing to storm, then that is the safer bet.

      Also, a good storm can send opposing teams into a panic and their positioning sometimes goes to pieces. Brazil, in their 7-1 loss to Germany, were the perfect example, but think also of PSG during Barcelona's remontada last year, or of teams as defensively strong as Juventus and Real Madrid during their two quarterfinal encounters this season. All of these teams are used to having the ball, so they get confused when the opposition keeps taking it away in their own half.

      The teams that have embraced storming most enthusiastically are those which, on paper, look just short of top-class; think of Roma, Napoli and even Liverpool. Leaving aside Mohamed Salah, none of their players would get into a World XI and Klopp's team can't win the Champions League by building patiently from the back, so they major on fitness -- perhaps no other club trains harder -- on pace and on their complex pressing tactics.

      By contrast, the most skilful teams build more slowly. Barcelona are the extreme example, but Real Madrid also spends more time on forming attacks than speed-merchants Atletico, while Bayern in possession advance the ball the fewest metres per second of any team in the Bundesliga, according to Opta Sports analytics.

      Still, Bayern and Real also use elements of storming football. Think especially of their attacking full-backs: In last Wednesday's semifinal first leg between the two teams, Joshua Kimmich and Marcelo each scored their third goal in this Champions League season (Kimmich in 10 games, Marcelo in nine).

      One oddity of storming is that it tends to work best against the most skilful teams. It's hard against defensive sides that keep 10 men back, which explains how Liverpool could lose 2-1 at home to Wolves in last season's FA Cup. It's also hard to storm a long-ball team, because they will just go long by way of bypassing.

      But teams that try to pass the ball out from defense are vulnerable, which might explain Barcelona's three big defeats in 14 months to PSG, Juve and Roma. Moreover, skilful teams often have defenders, who are chosen more for their offensive qualities -- think David Luiz or John Stones -- and these players can struggle in a storm.

      Whenever a new trend emerges, established tacticians have to decide whether to go along with it. Pep Guardiola has embraced storming at Manchester City. He comes from a tradition of pressing, albeit of a less frantic variety: his Barcelona teams aimed to win back the ball within five seconds of losing it, even if in possession they would build quite leisurely. Later at Bayern, he imbibed some of the German tradition of pace and overlaps.

      But Jose Mourinho seems to have been left behind by the storming trend. For most of his career, except at Real Madrid where his team set a Liga record for goals in 2011-12, he has usually aimed to win games 1-0. The defensive approach sounds safe but can be high-risk: If you don't send many players forward, you may not score and the opposition can nick a goal from a rare attack; remember Manchester United's recent 1-0 home defeat to West Brom.

      United are now 16 points behind City in the Premier League, despite having conceded only one goal more. The difference between the two sides is that City have scored 98 goals which, over 34 matches, is very nearly a goal a game better than United's 65.

      Mourinho, by asking his defensive players to sit back in a wall, isn't using the physical capacities of the modern player to the full. As of January, United had run fewer yards than any other team in the Premier League.

      But he shouldn't feel too bad about getting left behind; that's the ultimate fate of most innovators. It happened to Arsene Wenger a decade ago and, one day, it will happen to Klopp too.
      Swab
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #803: Sep 19, 2018 02:11:23 pm
      Danzel
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #804: Jan 30, 2019 05:22:39 pm
      For the tactics geeks amongst us:

      https://www.elartedf.com/liverpools-defensive-framework-analysis/?fbclid=IwAR1jql5uDdF7_-Jq1HP6OG93ItjkPMRvGpD6nevvNVOenV69lqqn9npxaFY

      Good read about the defensive framework and improvements/changes Klopp has made to our shape this season compared to previous seasons.
      Scottbot
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #805: Feb 15, 2019 07:36:16 am
      Gill95
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #806: Feb 15, 2019 11:33:36 am


      Great stuff that. For all the talk of Buvac, the improvement in our overall play since Pep has been promoted is fantastic. Pep also making the point of midfield being a far complex role instead of forwards is also great. Makes you wonder, hadn't been for injuries we would be seeing the best of Naby now.
      waltonl4
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #807: Feb 15, 2019 11:50:05 am
      Midfield has become an incredibly difficult part of a team to set up. Trying to find a balance between attack and defence and a balance between players seems almost impossible at times.
      I think we now have the strongest selection of midfield players for a long long time and despite the pundits all now going for City I think it is this strength that will see us come through
      GERNS
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      Re: Tactics geeks of the world unite...
      Reply #808: Feb 15, 2019 08:56:44 pm
      Midfield has become an incredibly difficult part of a team to set up. Trying to find a balance between attack and defence and a balance between players seems almost impossible at times.
      I think we now have the strongest selection of midfield players for a long long time and despite the pundits all now going for City I think it is this strength that will see us come through

      If only we can keep them all fit !

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