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.
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
Flanagan loses concentration as well
This is another example of the same miscommunication at the back for
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
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
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
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…