Despite the considerable gaps in quality among the clubs who compete in the FIFA Club World Cup each year, the tactics involved are often thought-provoking regardless, and experimentation has resulted in upsets in the past. When Monterrey faced off against Liverpool in the 2019 Club World Cup, this theme wasn’t far away from reality. The English side edged out the Mexican club 2-1 in a match filled with tactical intrigue. This tactical analysis discusses the attacks of both teams and how the reasons behind why scoreline was closer than expected.
Monterrey manager Antonio Mohamed sent his squad out in a 5-4-1 formation defensively. While it was mostly an older eleven, 22-year-olds César Montes and Carlos Rodriguez played important roles as a key central defender and an attacking midfielder respectively. Attacking contributions from Jesús Gallardo, Dorlan Pabón, Rodolfo Pizarro, and striker Rogelio Funes Mori would prove key in Monterrey’s game plan.
Jürgen Klopp meanwhile opted for a rather unique lineup, most notably placing Jordan Henderson in the back line as a centre-back alongside Joe Gomez. James Milner and Andrew Robertson began as the full-backs. Adam Lallana started the match in the midfield three as the central defensive midfielder; another unexpected placement. Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain filled out the midfield line, with a front three of Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi, and Xherdan Shaqiri also starting.
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