Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics


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Liverpool slow down the ball carrier in defensive transition

Liverpool are an underrated team in defensive transition. They are one of the best at slowing down the ball carrier before attempting a tackle. Ibrahima Konate demonstrates that patience on this Brentford counter.

Figure 1.1 - Neal Maupay chases the ball down as Brentford counter
Figure 1.2 - Ibrahima Konate doesn't attempt a tackle, electing to hold up the ball-carrier.
Figure 1.3 - Neal Maupay begins to get swarmed by Liverpool.
Figure 1.4 - Neal Maupay is forced to attempt a pass back.

Ibrahima Konate is completely capable of making the 1v1 challenge but he purposely doesn’t attempt to tackle Maupay. Instead he slows Maupay down to allow for the rest of defendes to get behind the ball.

Figure 1.5 - Gabriel disposed from Ivan Toney.

The back-line waits for a mistake, slow down the carrier, and allow the second line to sort out the tracking back, tackling. Liverpool win back the ball.

You either smother the ball carrier immediately like Arsenal and risk they get behind that last line, or you stand off to allow for everyone to regroup like Manchester City. Neither approach is wrong. It’s all dependent on the people, the player in each position.

Wait for the error rather than force an error.

Liverpool press high, opponent gets beyond the initial press, Liverpool slow down the opponent to allow for those in that initial press to recover, win back the ball or force a low quality shot. Repeat on each possession.

Match: Brentford 1-4 Liverpool, 17 February 2024

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