Has Klopp Found the Perfect Balance with his Full-Backs?

Has Klopp Found the Perfect Balance with his Full-Backs?

Since Nathaniel Clyne suffered a serious back injury in pre-season there has been a lot of uncertainty as to who Klopp will view as his first choice full-backs. Would he favour Alberto Moreno or new signing Andrew Robertson at left-back and on the right-hand side would he opt for the more attacking Trent Alexander-Arnold or more defensive minded Joe Gomez? With Klopp recognising Robertson would need time to settle into a new system Moreno was given the opportunity to prove the quality he undoubtedly possessed and apart from two or three difficult matches the Spaniard was very impressive, demonstrating improved awareness and discipline in his game. On the right-hand side Klopp appeared to favour Alexander-Arnold who despite showing glimpses of quality, his all-round game looked slightly suspect for a long-term run in the team which is completely understandable given his age. As a result, Joe Gomez was brought into the team for some added defensive stability and has grown into the evolved right-back role Klopp has developed to suit the Englishman’s attributes. Having said this, two injuries to Moreno and more recently Gomez has resulted in the German trying out a new duo of Trent and Robertson in the last couple of the games and the early signs have been very promising. So why are these two players so well suited to playing with each other?

Although Robertson is quite an attack-minded left-back he often takes up a slightly deeper position out-wide than Moreno which means Trent who is more accustomed to being an offensive full-back has greater freedom to play his natural game-high and wide. Against Southampton and more recently Porto we saw the two compliment each other wonderfully, when the ball was on their side the full-back would advance up the pitch to provide the width while the other one would play slightly deeper and narrower in order to protect against the counter-attack. Because of Trent’s natural instinct to attack, he has a tendency to get high and wide quite early which means the left-back he is playing with must constantly be thinking about where he is in order to stop the counter-attack should the team lose the ball. The Scottish international recognises this and plays slightly more conservatively than his team-mate on the right, only pushing high and wide when the team has good possession. You can see this in the screenshot below taken in the game against Porto when Van Dijk picks up possession Trent makes a quick run up the line to create width on the right-hand side, Robertson recognises this and tucks in at left-back giving the defence added protection if the Reds lose the ball.

Robertson tucking in at left-back as TAA advances high and wide out of shot

When Gomez had been playing at right-back as a sort of false centre-back Robertson had more freedom to attack and stretch the opposition defence which he did to great effect against Huddersfield, learning from his slightly too conservative approach against Swansea. This shows how much of an intelligent player the Scott is as many players would just play their natural game no matter who the other full-back is but because of his footballing knowledge and perhaps to some degree Klopp’s instruction he has adapted his game to compliment the man he is playing alongside (at full-back). With Trent, we are gradually seeing a player who is improving all aspects of his game but in particular his defensive awareness and positioning. In the games earlier on in the season, away at Watford and Manchester City we saw his naivety in defensive situations, getting beaten too easily as he got too tight to his winger or giving away needless free kicks in dangerous areas. Over the last couple of games, we have seen the youngster put in really well-balanced performances – looking a threat going forward but also providing the team with defensive stability. Wednesday night was a big test for the Englishman but he dealt with the quick and tricky Brahimi exceptionally well, winning 4 tackles (the joint most of any Liverpool player on the night) and making 1 clearance. If Trent can continue to develop all aspects of his game he really could become a very special right-back.

continue reading here : http://anfieldindex.com/33169/has-klopp-found-the-perfect-balance-with-his-full-backs.html

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Liverpool FC – If You Build It, They Will Stay

Liverpool FC - If You Build It, They Will Stay

Nothing great ever happens in team sports without the supporting cast playing some role on many different levels. Being in the background is usually no longer enough. The supporting cast now needs to contribute more than just hang around waiting to be dragged to titles. Countless times in recent history we have seen the Most Valuable Player in a season miss out on the grand prize despite their stellar performances.

In a world were loyalty is now the exception rather than the rule, franchise players are now more willing to allow the calibre of their supporting cast to weigh heavily on their decisions to stay in a team or move on. We have seen this more prominently in American Sports with the likes of LeBron James, Payton Manning and Kevin Durant. Each of them in their own rights have had numerous MVP seasons that have not resulted in a championship trophy. As a result, all three moved teams due to their respective supporting casts lacking the calibre they could work with in order to bring championships.

Athletes, especially top-level athletes, want to be in teams that give them the opportunity to win things. It doesn’t always have to be an all-star team, but the supporting cast needs to add layers that facilitate a trophy-winning environment. There are times when those who ordinarily don’t grab the headlines need to step up and make a game winning play. Additionally, there also needs to be those solid players you can rely on for a consistent performance. Those are the players that sit just below the level of the stars. They offer you a 7/10 performance 9/10 times. These are the players that help carry the team through inevitable dips during a season. They help steady the ship.

When executing correctly, the supporting cast can shoulder more of the season than you think. This is due to their primary role requiring them to aid in advancing the story, rather than hindering it. The need for a supporting cast to aid in advancing the story hits close to home for us Liverpool fans. During the infamous 13/14 Season where we finished 2nd in the league, we had the franchise players, as well as, a couple of 7/10 performers at the forefront of the supporting staff. The talisman MVP Luis Suarez spearheaded the franchise players together with Mr Liverpool Steven Gerrard and the Lethal & eccentric Daniel Sturridge. The three combined for a total of 65 goals that season. From an attacking standpoint, the supporting cast contributed to an additional 31 goals. The 7/10 performers, Raheem Sterling, Martin Škrtel & Phil Coutinho contributed 21 of those 31 goals. Where the supporting cast spectacularly fell short was in defence. Liverpool conceded 50 goals, the worst of the top 5, which had an average of 38.8 goals including Liverpool and 36 goals excluding Liverpool.

continue reading here : http://anfieldindex.com/33221/liverpool-fc-if-you-build-it-they-will-stay.html

 

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29 photos: Reds back at Melwood to begin West Ham prep

20th February 2018

Liverpool were back at Melwood on Tuesday afternoon to step up their preparations for the weekend clash with West Ham United.

Having journeyed to Marbella, Spain for a four-day training camp following their Champions League win over FC Porto last week, the Reds returned to base ahead of the resumption of Premier League duties on Saturday.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the workout overseen by Jürgen Klopp in the photo gallery below…

Photos by John and Andrew Powell

continue reading here : http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/291471-photos-pictures-gallery-training-liverpool-melwood

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Woodburn available for U19s in Youth League tie

20th February 2018

Ben Woodburn has been made available to play for Liverpool U19s in their UEFA Youth League last-16 tie with Manchester United on Wednesday.

The Wales international featured in each of the young Reds’ group-stage fixtures as they won five out of six games against NK Maribor, Sevilla and Spartak Moscow.

And Woodburn has joined up with Steven Gerrard’s squad as they prepare for the knockout meeting with rivals United, to be played at 3pm GMT at Prenton Park.

continue reading here : http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/academy/291469-ben-woodburn-lfc-u19s-uefa-youth-league

Posted in Latest news, Match updates and previews, Opinions, Others, Player watch, Youth Academy / U21/U19/U18/U23 | Leave a comment

Woodburn: I’ll play everywhere

20th February 2018

Ben Woodburn is happy to gain experience wherever it comes in the remainder of 2017-18.

The Liverpool youngster was not one of the players to head out on loan in January, with Jürgen Klopp preferring to keep the 18-year-old as part of the first-team training group at Melwood.

Woodburn has made just one appearance for the senior side this season, along with featuring in the U19s’ UEFA Youth League campaign and for Neil Critchley’s U23s.

And the No.58, the Reds’ youngest ever goalscorer, wants to make the most of the opportunities available between now and May – whichever level they come at.

“Obviously every player wants to play football but at the minute I think it’s just to play in any team I can do, whether U19s, first team or U23s,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“I think it’s just right that I play everywhere. Hopefully I’ll get a few more minutes with the first team but also try to win the Youth League and try to win the U23s league as well.”

continue reading here : http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/291462-ben-woodburn-liverpool

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Gerrard tells U19s to relish European clash with United

20th February 2018

Steven Gerrard will tell his young players to relish the opportunity of playing Manchester United in Europe on Wednesday afternoon and show they have what it takes to perform on a big stage.

Liverpool U19s host their arch-rivals in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League at Prenton Park, with kick-off set for 3pm GMT.

The young Reds made an excellent start to the competition by topping their group, winning five out of six games and scoring 18 goals in the process.

And ahead of a mouthwatering knockout clash with United, read Gerrard’s thoughts on the special occasion, facing a former international colleague and enjoying the pressure…

On why his players should be relishing this cup tie…

“In games like this you shouldn’t have to motivate your players. This is the last 16 of the youth Champions League with a chance to qualify at a big stadium, if we need to motivate players for this then we are in the wrong place. It should be set and they should be ready to go and perform. Yes, we will work on certain things over the next couple of days to prepare them and show them Manchester United’s strengths and weaknesses as we do, and then they have got to go and deliver.”

continue reading here : http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/academy/291390-steven-gerrard-manchester-united-uefa-youth-league-lfc

Posted in Latest news, Match updates and previews, Opinions, Others, Steven Gerrard, Youth Academy / U21/U19/U18/U23 | Leave a comment

LFC loan moves explained: ‘It was the best idea’

20th February 2018

The loan moves arranged for a number of Liverpool’s youngsters in January were the ‘best idea’ to ensure their ongoing development.

Ovie Ejaria (Sunderland), Marko Grujic (Cardiff City), Ryan Kent (Bristol City) and Harry Wilson (Hull City) departed the club for the Championship on a temporary basis last month in search of regular competitive football at senior level.

The decisions to release them were carefully considered and, ultimately, made with the interests of the players’ long-term careers as the priority.

“It is a good opportunity for the younger players, because with them it is always a question of how to proceed and how to develop,” assistant coach Peter Krawietz told the official Liverpool FC magazine.

“We really like the boys, each single one, and we want to give them the opportunity to become the best football players that they can be and to use all their potential.

continue reading here : http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/291448-peter-krawietz-lfc-loan-wilson-ejaria-kent-grujic

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