Beating The Underdog

The semi finals of the League Cup pitted me away to Liverpool for the first leg. Let’s take a look at the formations;

As I’m the away team and Liverpool are using a strong side against me I made two very important and crucial changes for this game and that was make my right back a wingback on attack and my left back a wingback support rather than using complete wingbacks. The reason for this change was simple, Moses and Suarez are tricky players with pace and I didn’t want to risk my own players being too aggressive and getting caught out high up the pitch when attacking. I need them to be even more disciplined than usual. But I still need them to contribute to attacks and provide width, I just need them less gung-ho. This was also why I had the leftback on support as I felt Suarez is more of a goal threat than Moses so he needs to be even more aware of his surroundings and take no chances.

Again we’ll be working backwards as we’ll be able to see the result in the screenshots anyway, so lets look at the stats from the game;

I wasn’t totally outplayed like you’d expect I more than held my own and while 2-1 is a great result I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t win by a bigger margin in the end.

You can see on the average positions from the game just how much deeper my full backs became compared to the Colchester game.

This is Suarez being dangerous but he’s doing it from a deep position which means due to my wingback being restrained should he decide to pass and move my wingback should easily be able to pick him up. If he was closer to Suarez then Suarez has the mental and technical skill to beat my mediocre wingback. Instead he plays it into Aspas.

Aspas has no passing options and he can’t lay it back to Suarez as he’s already made his mind up to run at my defence. He has no other option available because the 4-1-2-2-1 that Liverpool are using can make it easy for me to defend against a lone striker as they have no attacking midfielder, so my Regista becomes a spare man and can roam around. The threat I’ll have is out in the wide areas hence my change at the very start. But I will gladly defend like this every day and allow him to drive forward if he wishes as I don’t believe he can hurt me in these kind of areas.

In the end Aspas has no option but to shoot from 20 yards out because he lacks any kind of support and is out numbered by my defence and midfield. What other option does he have? He can do this all day long for me as I’m confident my keeper can deal with these kind of shots.

This time a different move but the same story, only Aspas to aim for and nothing he can really do but drive forward even if he managed to get the ball………

Which he didn’t as any type of direct ball my defenders will just head clear. On this occasion it was the wingback who cut across to head clear.

Not only am I defending well and causing Liverpool all sorts of issues and frustrating them as they can’t find a way through but I’m also looking really good from an attacking point. This next video will show you what I mean. Again it is some lovely football being played by me, the club two leagues lower;

No doubt I frustrated them massively in this game. I don’t mind people having possession or shooting from none dangerous areas.

The idea is I’m not trying to stop the opposition from having possession or shots. The focus is stopping the opposition from having possession in dangerous areas or having shots inside my own box. That’s the key to being defensively solid imo. If I wanted more possession and to stop shots all together I’d have to play a higher, aggressive game and that can cause all sorts of issues with long balls over the top, clever through balls, runners from deep and so on.

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