Τρίτη, 15 Μαρτίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Liverpool FC - Manchester United 2-0/ 10-3-2016

Liverpool were victorious in the Europa League round of 16 first leg over neighbouring rivals Manchester United with two goals by Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino. Although Manchester United started well, defending with a man to man system, they managed to keep Liverpool away for just 20 minutes. After the first goal they fell apart with Spanish keeper David de Gea making unbelievable saves to deny Liverpool a couple of goals. But let’s go into all the details.

Liverpool – Manchester United

Possession 56% - 44%

Shots (on target) 13 (8) - 5 (1)

Corners 7 - 0

Strong start from United



Just 18 seconds in play Manchester United attack but Rasfhord fails to control the ball in order to have a free shot. Anthony Martial makes a great move, leaving three Liverpool players behind and making space. The problem for Liverpool’s defense is that Lovren and Sakho are too close to each other. That leaves Alberto Moreno, who isn’t the tallest of players, in the far post, misjudging the header.

Liverpool deals with a well organized defense

Clyne makes the run into the box immediately after he leaves the ball to Henderson. At the same time, Sturridge and Coutinho are stretching Manchester United’s defense which has a huge gap between Schneiderlin and Blind, leaving a lot of space for Clyne’s run. While we can see that Manchester United defend with a man to man system, Depay fails to react quickly getting in the back of Clyne and forcing the defender down. 


De Gea makes a great save



While Manchester United started with a man to man defending system, after the goal, they fell apart. Sturridge has the ball inside the penalty box and there are 4 United players marking no one, letting Coutinho making the run behind everyone. At the same time, Lallana is in the edge of the box alone as well, giving options to Sturridge who decides to shoot. Coutinho nods the ball into the goal forcing De Gea into an unbelievable save.

Liverpool making runs


Roberto Firmino, after turning away from Schneiderlin, has options as Sturridge, Can and Lallana all make runs while Coutinho gets into place, maybe for a long shot as Fellaini’s attention is Firmino. However, Varela is out of position leaving Smalling with the duty of following Sturridge or marking Can’s run. This mistake by Varela could cost for Manchester United had it not been for De Gea in goal saving Sturridge’s shot following a miscalculation from Smalling.

Liverpool counter attacking




Liverpool is counter attacking with five players. Firmino, Henderson and Allen make runs giving options to Lallana who could also go all by himself. The interesting thing is that nobody is watching Allen, everybody’s attention is on Firmino. In this case Lallana decided to pass the ball to Henderson whose poor pass was followed by an equally poor clearance, leading to Firmino’s goal.