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Football News: Liverpool v Leicester City - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Leicester City - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Leicester City A Liverpool Perspective

 


Why is it Liverpool never do things the easy way? That should have been a cruise to a nice easy win, as Leicester offered nothing, but Liverpool did not create a second goal and it led to an increase in tension around the ground. All those wins in a row seem to be leading to a feeling that it has to end soon, rather than confidence in the team to keep getting the result.

Tactically this was a game between two teams playing very similar systems. Both use a variant of 4-3-3, though using it in a different way. Leicester use a point man, in Vardy, with two off him, in this case Barnes and Maddison, which left their attack very narrow on their left as Maddison does not hold the width. On the right, Barnes was acting more like an out and out winger, which left them a bit unbalanced. Tielemans was being constantly drawn out to the left to help protect that side and Praet was doing the same on the right, while Ndidi held the middle. Chilwell and Ricardo were trying to get forward, but because Leicester could get no controlled possession it just left gaps behind them.

Liverpool usually play it differently, with Firmino deeper and the two widemen alongside him, or ahead of him, looking to make runs in behind defences when Firmino has drawn a centre back out to follow him or behind the full backs if they leave him. However in this game Firmino was playing out on the left, Mane on the right and Salah through the middle. I assume that was intended to shut down their main threat, the full-backs, and it certainly had that effect on the game, as they struggled to get forward all game. Late in the first half the trio returned to normal, and the goal came from Mane being back on the left and breaking into the space left as Firmino dropped off.

It ended up with Liverpool in almost complete control of the game and the Foxes able to offer almost nothing as an attacking force. However Liverpool never made the most of that control, in large part due to Salah being constantly hauled back and hacked at by Soyuncu, who seemed completely invisible to the referee. I was surprised at just how he was able to repeatedly haul Salah back after being caught out and get away with it so often. That is going to cost Leicester when referees open their eyes, if they ever do learn to understand the game. I will not be holding my breath waiting for that moment though!

One aspect of the game that was particularly pleasing was the way crosses were stopped at source almost every time. Leicester were very rarely allowed to put a cross in, with Robertson and Mane doing a particularly notable job of closing them down. That was a real weakness of Robertson's game in the past, so it was good to see he has improved and is able to deal with them. A special mention has to go to Mane though, who was incredible once again, but his tackles were exceptional on Chilwell. I felt sorry for Chilwell to be honest, he looked completely shellshocked in that game and was given an absolute chasing.

I did feel that Mane on the left would have given them many more problems, as Ricardo is a terrible defender and would have been all at sea, but it is difficult to complain about tactics when the team wins! Especially when it is such a dominant, one-sided win, with the only thing the opposition have found to complain about is that Mane made the most of being fouled to get the penalty which won it. And it was a penalty. Yes he made the most of it, but if it was Harry Kane the media would be full of how he had to go down to get the referee to give the decision. If I was Rodgers, I would be angry at my player for whipping the ball away just as the keeper was about to scoop it up and then making a needless challenge.

All in all this was a one-sided game, with Leicester lucky to be in with a chance of sneaking a completely undeserved point and even luckier that the nonsensical furore about the penalty has let them off lightly. Otherwise a lot of questions would have been asked about why they were so poor and about that challenge, if it can be called a challenge, by Choudhury, which would probably have seen red most of the time. When you jump in, completely out of control, the way he did, it usually results in a red. The fact that he clearly injured Salah shows it must have been not just reckless but used excessive force: "Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off".

Written by Tris Burke October 06 2019 13:45:37

 

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