Τρίτη, 22 Μαρτίου 2016

Tactical Analysis: Southampton - Liverpool 3-2/Premier League/20-3-2016

When the referee blew the whistle for the start of the second half nobody could think that Liverpool would let their lead slip not only because they were two nil up, but also because they had chances to score more goals. In this analysis my focus is on the defensive side of the second half, with Skrtel on the pitch, where from the first minutes it was clear to everybody who watched the game that Liverpool wouldn’t have a stroll in the park in the end.

Skrtel concedes a penalty just 3 minutes in the second half

In this picture we can see where Flanagan and Sakho have set the defensive line. However, Skrtel is behind
this line along with Pele. In addition, he has already started pulling the Southampton man’s shirt, which led to the penalty. Worth mentioning is the fact that Skrtel is on the back of Pele standing while the Italian is running into the area to catch the ball from a beautiful pass by Steven Taylor.

Flanagan loses concentration as well
This is another example of the same miscommunication at the back for Liverpool. This time not only Skrtel but also Flanagan is way behind the defensive line which is set by the rest of the team. The Slovakian misses the header once again and Sadio Mane, who isn’t offside due to all this lack of communication by the Liverpool defense, could have scored.


Liverpool gets finally punished


Since Liverpool didn’t get the message by these two big Southampton chances, they got punished. Can makes a poor pass to Flanagan who loses the ball at a risky area. Although Southampton is pressing high, there is a huge gap between the defense and the midfield. The only player to be in that space is Sadio Mane. Martin Skrtel is concentrated on his player and once more standing instead of closing the channel where Mane is running towards to.

Liverpool show no desire at all
Skrtel loses one more header and leaves just Sakho and Flanagan at the back. But those two make the same mistake that Liverpool did in the second half. They don’t keep a defensive line. That eases Shane Long to make the pass to his Italian partner without any pressure whatsoever. Another thing to notice is that Emre Can is just jogging instead of getting behind the defense.

The same mistakes happen again
It's possible to actually copy the same things that I’ve said about the previous image and paste them in here. Skrtel loses the header and gets in a no man’s land; Flanagan is too deep and marks noone; Sakho, not being as rapid as Mane, should close him down better, maybe giving away a foul for the team. And the icing on the cake is Emre Can who shows no desire to defend, standing for another time and making Joe Allen run to mark where he himself should have been in the first place. 
Sometimes the statistics may lie but in this case they tell the truth about one player. Dejan Lovren in 45 minutes won 66,7% of his duels and 100% of his aerial duels. On the other side, Martin Skrtel won 37,5% of his overall duels and 40% of his aerial duels…