Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool
That game was even more frustrating than the defeat to Spurs, though without as many controversial decisions. In fact there was only one really blatantly bad one, the decision not to send off Gross for hauling down Szoboszlai in the box. It was a blatantly poor decision, one which was clearly wrong, but it was not the reason for Liverpool failing to win. This time around the problems were all of Liverpool’s own making. The terrible tactics and team selection were to blame. This kind of result had been coming, with the tactics failing repeatedly in the first half, it was always going to be a matter of time before the team was unable to rescue a win when needed.
The inverted full-back has more effect than just leaving a gap on the right, when playing out from the back it also lessens the options for passes as there is no one in the place where the full-back would normally be. What you end up with is the centre-backs too far apart and the goalkeeper forced to come out and fill the gap or a Brighton player can step in and cut off the potential passes. It only takes a small error and it ends in a goal, as there is almost no chance a goalkeeper can get back before the opposition can take a shot, as we saw in this match.
In my opinion it is a very avoidable problem, solved simply by not inverting unless in possession in the opposition half (or even better at all!), as it then increases the options for the man on the ball. Or you can simply drop any attempt to play out from the back and launch it longer, but that would make a mockery of the whole thinking behind the inversion, as it is all about keeping possession of the ball. An other option would be to play a defensive midfielder who will drop between the centre-backs and allow the pairing to split, while not limiting the left-back from moving forward. Of course, you can also move the left-sided centre-back across to the centre and hold the left-back in to play like a centre-back, but that seems silly when the left-back is so good going forward.
And yet that is not even the main issue with the tactical approach. It is the reversion to last season’s failure of attempting to play slow, lethargic, possession football, rather than the fast, intense, attacking style that brought Klopp so much success. It is bizarre that Pep Lijnders wrote a book entitled ‘Intensity’ but has then been such a huge advocate of moving away from that very intensity that gave the team the success to…