Considering what Liverpool had been through at the Vitality Stadium two years ago, it was rather understandable that the Liverpool supporters were a bit nervous ahead of Saturday’s fixture against the Cherries. Keeping in mind Bournemouth’s overall performance against the top six, and a crucial Napoli game on the horizon, doubled the level of importance of the game.
However, an outstanding Salah performance that was capped off with a hat-trick made life easier for everybody, especially for Jurgen Klopp. In this tactical analysis, we will talk about the game by providing some stats and graphics to get a better understanding of another Liverpool win that saw them go top of the Premier League.
There was no surprise for Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side as they were lined up in a traditional 4-4-2, as expected. As for Liverpool’s tactical analysis, even though we see a 4-2-3-1 in the graphic above, it is really difficult to comment that they played in that formation till the end of the game because it was possible to see that the players switched positions throughout the game consistently.
Jurgen Klopp made use of a traditional 4-4-2, a sort of 4-2-4, and sometimes a back three. Maybe the most surprising thing was that Klopp played Milner at the right back but we all know who he is. There’s absolutely nothing he can’t do for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
Diversity is the new Gegenpress
Shaqiri, although positioned on the right flank, was responsible for providing through balls that could threaten the well-organized Bournemouth defence and he duly delivered. He was successful in sending some decent long balls in behind the Bournemouth’s defensive line and supported his team-mates with some creative passes. It was one of the major strategies of Liverpool to send through balls in behind the Cherries’ defensive line and the likes of Matip and Virgil van Dijk tried to do so as well.
Most of the time, they bypassed the midfield and tried to find Mo Salah who was seeking opportunities to bag some goals. Right at this point, Shaqiri’s role becomes very important as he came deep, occupied the central positions and, most importantly, eyed for the pacey attackers with his quality technique. By the 28th minute, Liverpool had already registered 6 shots.
Eddie Howe’s defensive structure seemed to work until Mo Salah controversial first goal as they were well-positioned with a high level of concentration. They covered the central areas very well. Liverpool couldn’t quite play down the flanks and only tried to get something out of the central areas of the attacking third with some long balls to the attackers. They were not quite successful in playing down the flanks as Andrew Robertson felt himself a bit lost right until the first goal but it’s one of the most important points about Liverpool that their attackers are quite familiar with their duties even if they play in different positions.
For example, it was again possible to see Firmino everywhere on the pitch. He, just like Shaqiri’s movements, came deep from time to time in order to set up the play and made it so difficult for the Bournemouth defenders to mark him. His partnership with Mo Salah was one of the key points of the game, too. This flexibility and fluidity are so valuable for a team that play football the Jurgen Klopp way, actually. Every single Liverpool man on the pitch should be able to do much more than his position’s needs demand. Diversity is a must, in other words.
As we already mentioned, it was a bit difficult to visualise the Liverpool side’s actual formation on the pitch and it was one of the defining moments when Fabinho came deep to get the ball and distribute it and also providing a back-up for his teammates in defence. He had never been this close to the defensive line and it was one of the precautions that Jurgen Klopp took in order to defend Bournemouth counters. His process of getting accustomed to the Liverpool way of football is remarkable.
Liverpool got all the three points and moved to the top spot after an impressive display against Bournemouth. They had been having some sort of troubles in creating opportunities against the teams that preferred staying deep but the Reds demolished Bournemouth after Salah’s opener and were quite comfortable especially in the second half. Their ever-changing positioning and formation continue to make troubles for the opponents and it should be noted that this diversity is gradually becoming Liverpool’s strongest weapon in their arsenal.
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