After that demoralising 1-4 reverse towards Manchester City, Liverpool had one other powerful activity on their fingers as they took on high-flying Leicester City, who had been three factors and one spot above them within the desk.
The Reds’ title-hopes had been already a distant reminiscence on this fast season, however they wanted to win right here to maintain a spot within the top-four.
However, it was the Foxes who emerged victorious due to a late flurry of targets, denting Liverpool’s top-four hopes and boosting theirs. In this evaluation, we are going to check out what went proper – and improper – for each side.
Leicester City lined up in a 4-4-1-1, with a vital change in defence as James Justin needed to miss out as a consequence of an ACL damage.
So, Kasper Schmeichel had Daniel Amartey, Jonny Evans, Çağlar Söyüncü and Ricardo Pereira (who was enjoying at left-back for the primary time in his Leicester profession) in entrance of him.
Wilfred Ndidi was joined by Youri Tielemansin midfield and James Maddison was simply in entrance of them, whereas Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes had been fielded on both flank. Making his first Premier League begin after a groin operation, Jamie Vardy led the road.
Liverpool needed to make a pressured change in defence too, as Ozan Kabak was handed a debut rather than the injured Fabinho.
Apart from that, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson all stored their locations within the group, and as did Curtis Jones and Georginio Wijnaldum.
The solely different change was in midfield, the place James Milner got here in to interchange Thiago Alcântara, whereas Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané continued in assault.
Leicester City in defence
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City are a really tactically versatile facet. They can play dominant possession-based soccer towards sides which deploy a low block, however typically use the trick themselves towards such huge opposition.
Leicester switched to a 4-4-2 in defence, as Maddison pushed ahead to hitch Vardy up entrance. They sat again in their very own half, however not in a very low block to the sting of their field. You can see that under as nicely.
If the ball went out to both facet, the corresponding winger pushed as much as press, as you’ll be able to see under.
The motive right here was to not win the ball again, however somewhat to stop the Liverpool full-back from advancing or enjoying a by ball down the channel. Essentially, it was to drive Liverpool to play by the center.
This is the place Leicester’s determination to sit down again would come into play. If Liverpool appeared to play by the midfield, the Foxes would squeeze their traces to lure the participant in possession, leaving solely a method again to the defence.
Now, let’s see what Liverpool did after they had been with out the ball.
Liverpool’s excessive press
With Mané again from damage and totally match following per week off after the Manchester City match, Liverpool began to press in a way more recognisable method as soon as once more.
Because Leicester City sat so deep, they didn’t have too many males ahead after they gained the ball. But, as they pushed males ahead, Liverpool pressed excessive as nicely, stopping the Foxes from passing round on the again.
Therefore, they needed to aimlessly punt the ball up the sector fairly often, ceding possession within the course of. This ought to clarify why their back-five (together with Schmeichel) accomplished solely 16 out of 48 lengthy balls.
James Milner typically pushed ahead from midfield to help the press, which is why there was a slight drop in depth after he went off for Thiago.
With a PPDA of seven.57, Liverpool had been clearly not messing about, and so they obtained their simply rewards for urgent because the opener got here from such a scenario.
But, for many (over 62%) of the match, Liverpool had the ball, so here’s what they did with it:
Liverpool in possession
Liverpool performed out from the again with from the left, normally, as Alexander-Arnold pushed additional ahead than Robertson. Jones and Wijnaldum helped progress the ball by the midfield, whereas Milner moved up alongside the front-three.
After Milner went off as a consequence of an damage, Thiago slotted proper into his function in possession. However, as everyone knows by now, the Spaniard will not be an attacking midfielder, which is why he was no good in that function.
In a bid to unravel this downside, Jones was despatched ahead with Thiago staying again as an alternative. However, this too didn’t fairly click on for both participant, who had a somewhat disappointing day.
On the flanks, Liverpool’s wingers had a field-day as they confronted two makeshift full-backs, who they simply outpaced.
Mané was towards Amartey, who will not be even in Leicester’s top-four centre-backs’ checklist, not to mention the international place of right-back.
Pace is, in fact, considered one of Mané’s strengths, and it is also considered one of Amartey’s weaknesses. Therefore, the Senegalese ahead may simply run onto by balls regardless that he began nicely behind his opponent, as he did right here.
On the other flank, Salah had comparable pleasure towards Pereira, who was enjoying out of place at left-back. He too may use his tempo to assault the Portuguese defender, whose positioning was not good given his unfamiliarity along with his environment.
Things obtained even worse for Pereira when Alexander-Arnold bombed ahead as a result of Barnes normally failed to trace him again, leaving the Portuguese defender in a 2v1 scenario.
As aforementioned, Liverpool couldn’t play by the midfield, due to this fact such lengthy balls had been their finest outlet for creating probabilities, and on one other day, they may have labored.
Leicester City’s assaults
Liverpool tried out their thirteenth centre-back pairing of the season on this match, as Kabak made his debut alongside a midfielder in Henderson. Therefore, their defence couldn’t be thought of significantly sturdy, and right here is how Leicester City tried to use it:
The left half-space is Vardy’s favorite area to run into, and he was given bonus incentive to take action on this case as Kabak was making his debut there, and he obtained little assist from Alexander-Arnold. Here, you’ll be able to see the English striker utilizing his tempo to fulfill an aerial cross in behind the Schalke loanee.
Here is one other occasion the place Jamie Vardy is operating in behind the Liverpool defence utilizing the left half-space. Once once more, Alexander-Arnold is nowhere to be seen, whereas the 2 centre-backs being switched absolutely didn’t assist both.
After conceding an equaliser by a set-piece (on their proper once more), Liverpool went behind following some horrible defensive errors.
Once once more, it was Kabak’s space which was being attacked by this aerial ball. In this body, you’ll be able to clearly see that Kabak is wanting on the ball and has no thought about Alisson, whereas the keeper is speeding out and may know of the whereabouts of his central defender. The two collide, leaving who else however Jamie Vardy to stroll the ball into an empty web.
The third purpose got here from this area too.
It was Barnes exploiting the house this time, which was created by Alexander-Arnold getting caught out of place. He had the tempo on Kabak, so he may glide right into a one-on-one scenario and slot previous the keeper to make it 3-1.
Therefore, Leicester had a good time attacking Kabak within the Liverpool defence, who clearly had a debut to overlook.
Although Liverpool didn’t look significantly shabby for a lot of the match, they ended up shedding comprehensively simply as they did towards Manchester City.
The lack of Milner early on was undoubtedly a tactical hit, which was worsened as Thiago couldn’t fulfil the Englishman’s function correctly.
Even then, the Reds managed to take the lead within the second half, however but extra poor particular person errors (Alisson with the most important one once more) value Jürgen Klopp’s males expensive.
As for Leicester City, they’re now six factors away from Liverpool within the runners-up spot on the time of writing, so they need to absolutely look to carry on to a Champions League spot this yr.
Stats courtesy WhoScored and Understat.