1. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 V This is an analysis report of the first half between Liverpool FC v Sunderland AFC (2/1/2013). The report will focus on Liverpool FC, and aims to highlight how they enter attacking thirds, attack and defend set pieces as well as how they pressure the ball quickly to regain possession. 1. Team Line Ups Liverpool FC (4-2-3-1) Sunderland AFC (4-4-1-1) SUBS SUBS 25. Reina 1. Jones 22. Mignolet 20. Westwood 2. Johnson 23. Carragher 3. Rose (Vaughan 73’) 2. Bardsley 5. Agger 49. Robinson 12. Kilgallon 19. Bramble 37. Skrtel (Carragher 73’) 4. Sahin 24. Cuellar 15. Vaughan 47. Wisdom 24. Allen 8. Gardener 9. Campbell 21. Lucas 33. Shelvey 23. McClean 10. Wickham 8. Gerrard 30. Suso 14. Colback 11. McFadden 14. Henderson (Suso 67’) 7. Larsson (McFadden 62’) 19. Downing 21. Johnson 31. Sterling (Allen 57’) 28. Sessegnon (Campbell 46’) 7. Suarez 26. Fletcher
2. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 2. Match Facts LIVERPOOL FC STATS SUNDERLAND AFC 3 Goals 0 29 Shots 8 10 Shots On Target 2 9 Corners 5 66% Possession 34% 3. First Half – Brake Down In this section I have focused on entries into the final thirds as well as the shots and crosses taken from within this area. This reason behind this is because I wanted to explore how Liverpool attack and defend these zones both from open play and set pieces. ATTACKING THIRD (ENTRIES) LIVERPOOL FC SUNDERLAND AFC Left Centre Right Left Centre Right 0-15 4 4 3 0 1 1 15-30 1 1 3 0 1 1 30-45 2 4 5 1 1 0 TOTAL 7 9 11 1 3 2 Liverpool FC had a total of twenty seven entries into the final third within the first forty five minutes of the game – the majority coming from the right hand side, however their entries were fairly balanced with nine coming from the centre and seven from the left hand side. The final entries were marked and deemed successful when Liverpool’ entered the attacking third by a dribble, penetrative run or forward pass. See right for an example of a final third entry.
3. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Final Third Entries – Liverpool FC Liverpool FC, had a total of twenty seven final third entries in comparison to Sunderland’s six, within the first fifteen minutes, Liverpool’ had a lot of success coming through the middle and left hand side. Both pictures below demonstrate how wide Liverpool make the football pitch when in possession - this gives them space to play into. The first picture shows, Downing hugging the touchline and almost isolated while three Sunderland players attempt to keep the area tight - what’s happened is that they have created a pocket for Suarez to play in. As Johnson plays that ball into the ‘pocket’ and Suarez plays a first time pass to Downing so he can cross the ball unopposed. If I’m going to be critical, Liverpool worked the ball into great areas but didn’t have enough men in the box for Downing to cross too. Henderson (playing behind Suarez in the 4-2-3-1 formation) should be looking to attack the area Suarez will leave behind him as he looks to receive the ball between the Sunderland players. In addition, Liverpool made good use of Johnson, and Wisdom who almost played as two wingers in these wide areas, this is because the unselfish creative movement of Downing and Sterling who either come inside or got wider to create space for these players to penetrate. This is a recurring theme from Liverpool, having a lot of success as well, however with Wisdom and Johnson commiting themselves, this left Sunderland spaces to exploit.
4. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Final Third Entries – Sunderland AFC Sunderland AFC only registered six successful final third entries within the first half with 50% of them coming down the centre. You can see from the start Sunderland’ were looking to play the ball into Fletcher, so he can hold it and allow his team time to get bodies around to support. Fletched also run into channels to receive the ball with Sessegnon supporting close behind to feed off knock downs, flick on’s and second balls. Times they has success was when Liverpool’s Glen Johnson played higher up the pitch which allowed Sunderland to exploit the space in behind. First picture shows Liverpool’ comfortable in possession, trying to penetrate the final third, again Downing has come inside which leaves space for Johnson to exploit, however both Agger and Downing make incorrect decisions trying to play neat intricate passes in an area Sunderland have an overload in. Sessegnon regains possession and drives into the space left open by Johnson, you can just see Johnson making that recovery back. Next clip shows the forward pass Sessegnon plays into Fletcher, you would think Liverpool are in control here with a 2v1 overload in their favour, however Skrtel - possibly over aroused – fouls Fletcher which gives Sunderland an opportunity from a set piece. Really Skrtel and Lucas should have delayed the attack, with Skrtel showing wide while Lucas Covers which will allow Liverpool time to recover. Next clip shows a Sunderland set piece in a dangerous area with Adam Johnson looking to use his left foot to whip an in swinging ball in.
5. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Set Pieces – Liverpool FC This section aims to highlight how Liverpool FC set up pieces in the final thirds. I wanted to further explore if they chose to man mark, defend zonally, or a mixture of both, and if they change their defensive tactics dependent on the area of the set piece. You may argue that in the modern game throw ins are considered a type of set piece however this report aims to only highlight both free kicks and corners. SET PIECES LIVERPOOL FC SUNDERLAND AFC FREE KICK CORNER FREE KICK CORNER 0 1 Left 0 3 0 N/A Centre 2 N/A 2 2 Right 1 0 2 3 Total 3 3 0 1 Short 0 0 1 2 Long/Delivered 3 3 1 0 Direct 0 0 Defending Set Pieces (Free kicks) – Liverpool FC Liverpool’ defended a total of six set pieces in the first half of the game, with 50% coming from the left hand side as corners, and the additional 50% came from free kicks from central areas as well as the right hand side. Liverpool’ both man marked as well as marking zones from this set piece. Had a tendency to ball watch as crosses comes in, six Liverpool players counted within the six yard box watching the ball which left three Sunderland’ players unmarked. Pushed up quickly after clearance, came out marking zones rather than players.
6. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Picture below shows Liverpool’ defending another free kick however the set piece is from a central position. The threat is more apparent as there is an increased likelihood that Sunderland will take a shot from here. Liverpool’ set up with four men in the wall, with Skrtel - the tallest player, protecting Reina’s left hand corner and the rest of the wall descends in height, it is noted that all players jump as the free kick is taken and no one charges the ball. Henderson is in a position where he is aware of the ball being played in behind for Johnson, 21 to run onto. In addition, four Liverpool players mark man to man, whereas Lucas marks the zone between himself and the wall, no one marks the man on the edge (white circle). Defending Set Pieces (Corners) – Liverpool FC Liverpool conceded three corners in the first half, each coming from the left hand side. At each corner, the same theme is apparent – Liverpool’s marking. At each corner there is a clear illustration that they both man mark, as well as mark zones. Although they never conceded from these corners, there was a clear lack or organisation that left opposition players unmarked. Following on, 2/3 times Sterling reacted slowest to being organised which left Johnson unmarked at the back post and the other time he was marking one of Sunderland biggest aerial threats – Steven Fletcher.
7. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Players that wasn’t marking a man, packed out the six yard box, each picture I counted seven Liverpool players (inc GK) and one man marking the far post. This is the area I would like to draw attention to (far post) as each Sunderland corner was aimed towards a near post flick on, with runners towards the back post where players were left unmarked. This caused a problem each time however when Reina did collect a cross had the quality to pick Suarez out and allow Liverpool to counter quickly. Attacking Set Pieces (Free Kicks) – Liverpool FC Liverpool FC had two attacking free kicks in the first half, both from the right hand side. The first was a direct shot towards goal and the later was delivered towards the far post. The two free kicks had Gerrard (right foot) and Downing (left foot) standing over the ball both with exceptional deliveries/shots – these options gave Sunderland a headache as Liverpool had more options from the dead ball, to name a few; inswing/outswing crosses to near or far posts as well as first time shots and layoffs to be considered. Downing shows his ability from free-kicks (left picture) forcing a good save from GK, even though shot was taken Suarez looked for a near post flick on and Johnson peeled off towards back post with Henderson making a late run – Lucas holds position outside 18 yard box. Gerrard executes accurate out-swinging ball to Agger’s far post run, similar movement from Suarez towards near post but Johnson holds run for knock downs.
8. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Attacking Set Pieces (Corners) – Liverpool FC Liverpool had a total of three corners within the first forty five minutes, with two from the right hand side and one from the left. Liverpool mixed their set pieces about with two being taken long/delivered into the box and the other being played short. The corner takers (Gerrard and Downing) took the kick from opposite sides and delivered out-swinging floated crosses for Agger/Skrtel to attack, each was accurate. Downing floated in and around the edge of the 18 yard box and Sterling offered short while the rest of the players grouped around the penalty spot then made short diagonal runs across each other to lose their markers. The rest of the corners couldn’t be looked at because of the camera angle. Regaining Possession/Pressing – Liverpool FC Liverpool FC press the football quick and early to force mistakes and regain possession. I’ve taken clips from within the first half of when they have been successful as well as unsuccessful to demonstrate how effective their technique is, but also how teams with more quality can exploit this. The reason why I wanted to further look into Liverpool FC’s ability to press the ball was because I saw a quote from Brendan Rodgers (2012) stating that “The only time we rest is when we have the ball. When we haven’t got the ball is the moment for intense pressure to get the ball back”. For that reason I explored pressing a bit further and have offered more detail to the findings in this report.
9. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Regaining Possession/Pressing (Successful) – Liverpool FC As the ball move here the first man (Sterling) is already looking to press early. As he is doing so, Liverpool shuffle over and players get in and around the area to make it tight/decrease space. It’s important to note the first man is trying to deflect the ball into areas where his team mates are so they can regain the ball, in some case they deflect the ball back so they can push up. As soon as that happens another wave of intense pressure occurs which looks to either force players backwards/sideways or long. In the later cases it was an attempt for Sunderland to ‘clear their lines’ rather than exploit any spaces. Some examples are below that demonstrate the pressure that occurs in the second and final third. Four pictures are from two separate clips demonstrating the pressure Liverpool apply, again they show the ‘first man’s intentions to deflect to ball sideways and backwards into areas Liverpool have more men. The last picture with the black circles and line shows where I believe the players should be when pressing because as the ball is transferred Lucas is out of position which allows Sessegnon to drop deep to receive the ball. In this case he doesn’t and Liverpool force another long ball, but teams with more quality could exploit these spaces.
10. Contact: Scotthastings@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: SHastingsCoach LinkedIn: ScottHastings24 Regaining Possession/Pressing (Unsuccessful) – Liverpool FC Following on the previous point I mentioned, at times Liverpool were caught out from pressing at the wrong times. Again the first man is looking to deflect the ball inside, but this time not as much support is shown. You can see that when the ball is transferred, Henderson and Lucas have already pressed/committed quite high and left a massive amount of space behind them. Suarez circled because as the ball is being transferred from LB to CB he should already be covering Henderson which could of cut out the pass to Colback. Similar scenario above when Liverpool press too many players too quickly. Sessegnon again finds himself in a pocket between the midfielders and defense, Liverpool try to deflective inside/back with Downing recovering and attempting to sandwich the Sunderland Player, however a quick set back and forward pass later, Sessegnon is in behind and running towards goal and Liverpool end up conceding a free-kick.