Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Trent Alexander-Arnold's Blind Passes

Trent Alexander-Arnold should be more careful when he plays these blind passes forward. He receives, turns, and immediately attempts a medium pass. Liverpool concede a lot of high-quality chances from these misplaced passes.

Figure 1.1 - Trent Alexander-Arnold dinks the ball up the right-wing.
Figure 1.2 - Ball is intercepted by Burnley.
Figure 1.3 - Burnley begins to play the ball forward.

You never want to give the ball away in your own half in this spot. Trent is wide on the touch-line; the entire left half-space is exposed. If Burnley is quick enough, they can easily create a numerical advantage versus the other three defenders in Liverpool’s back-line.

In a way, this pass, whether it’s successful or unsuccessful, does serve as an easy pressure release valve. Get it out and then reset. The problem is that he doesn’t complete this type of quick pass often enough to justify continuing to attempt it.

Figure 2.1 - Trent Alexander-Arnold turns and immediately plays a pass on the ground into a space between two Liverpool players.
Figure 2.2 - Diogo Jota attempts to shield the ball.
Figure 2.3 - Diogo Jota successfully shields the ball and Wataru Endo plays the ball forward to Dominik Szoboszlai.

This is what is known as a “hospital pass.” There’s little thought put into how the pass will be received; it’s out of his feet, into the second line.

He turns and without even looking, he kicks it into a space. The pass is under-hit and it puts Jota in a position where he has to sacrifice his body to retain the ball.

This is not good vision; this is gambling.

It works this time, but if Jota is just a fraction off, that could have been a Burnley equalizer, 1-1, because Burnley would have a numerical advantage.

Figure 2.4 - Dominik Szoboszlai plays the ball central.
Figure 2.5 - Liverpool counter 5v4 with a +1 on the left side.

When this progressive pass from Trent works, though, Liverpool has the numerical advantage going forward. High risk, high reward.

Figure 3.1 - Trent Alexander-Arnold blindly turns and hits the ball up the field on the ground.
Figure 3.2 - Ball is intercepted immediately as Trent Alexander-Arnold misplaces the pass.

Again, turn and immediately pass without looking. Release the pressure momentarily but then give away the ball with the defender intercepting at speed. Momentum is then on Burnley’s side as Liverpool rush to get in a position where they can slow Burnley down.

Trent does this often. I feel like Liverpool allows teams to get back into the game too often when they give the ball away with this specific type of pass. If he would take his time to more accurately play the ball forward, rather than blindly play the ball forward, the opposition would have far fewer chances in the game, and Liverpool would have greater control.

He normally has enough time; it’s too careless.

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