Σάββατο, 19 Μαρτίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United - Liverpool FC 1-1/ Europa League/ 17-3-2016

After winning the first leg by 2-0, Liverpool had a strong advantage going into the second leg at Old Trafford. The Reds didn’t have to take as many chances as in the game at Anfield, thus they approached the game more defensively in order to progress without any late slip ups into the next round. Defensive partners Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho were immense (Sakho won 8 duels and made 6 tackles). James Milner was deployed as a left back due to Alberto Moreno’s last moment injury, and, despite playing out of position, the vice captain put a solid performance. However, Nathaniel Clyne had his worst performance in a Liverpool shirt with plenty of mistakes throughout the game.

Manchester United take the lead



In this image, we can see that Lovren steps out of the box to mark Juan Mata, leaving a huge gap in the defense. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne don’t communicate with each other, hence they mark the same space. That leaves Anthony Martial all alone asking for the ball. When the ball goes to the Frenchman it’s too late for Clyne to mark him effectively. The right back stamps him and gives away a penalty which put Manchester United back in the game.

Martial is alone once again

After Coutinho’s goal Manchester United had a lot to do in order to spoil Liverpool’s party. But Liverpool’s defending wasn’t up to scratch for the full 90 minutes. In this case Mata has the ball in the edge of the area. Sakho and Lovren have a huge gap in between them as Milner is slow to recover. That leaves again Clyne marking Fellaini instead of Martial. Because of his height Fellaini could easily win a header in a clash with Clyne. Although the ball didn’t end up either to Fellaini either to Martial, nonetheless it proves why Clyne had such a rough night coping with the Frenchman.

Defense improves significantly



This was the last big chance for Manchester United. Liverpool’s defending has improved by miles throughout the game, Sakho and Lovren are now close enough to each other and Clyne is in front of Martial meaning that a potential ball by Valencia has no chance. The only problem was Emre Can not noticing quickly enough Fellaini’s run inside the box leading to a shot which could put Manchester United back into the game. After that Manchester United couldn’t break through Liverpool’s defense.

Liverpool attack in numbers


Attacking wise Liverpool was once more, under Klopp, exceptional. In the 30th minute Firmino has the ball with five players in front of him. Can and Lallana are making runs into the box; Sturridge is all alone waiting for the ball, while on the other side Henderson asks for the ball seeing that Varela is marking Can’s run. However, despite having so many options Roberto Firmino blows the chance deciding to shoot straight at De Gea.

Manchester United’s defending woes


This time 4 Liverpool players are in front of Coutinho giving him options. Lallana and Sturridge stretch the Manchester United defense as shown in this image. The back four has a huge distance between each other. Henderson gets into the space between the centre backs. Coutinho passess the ball perfectly but the skipper misses the target by a mile, failing to level things up. 

Sturridge has a bad day at the office



Daniel Sturridge didn’t enjoy the best of nights but he has only himself to blame. In this image he has the ball inside the area and support is given by Firmino and Coutinho. The Englishman could possibly cut inside and shoot with his left foot. However, he shoots with his weak foot in a tight angle leading to ironic cheers by the home crowd.