Wednesday, 28 December 2016


yesterday liverpool played stoke and won . i wanted to see stoke and what better to watch them than play liverpool . but first for the last two seasons stoke have added quite some quality players in their ranks but they have failed add any good decent defensive player in their rank and whatever they have added are not upto the task . stoke are good on one end but the defensive end made them look ordinary plus some tactical mistakes by their manager in trying to accommodate the players and trying to offset the opposition also cost them .
starting formation
liverpool started the game with their regular 4-3-3 formation . while stoke started the game with 4-2-3-1 formation . stoke started on a very positive note by trying to press liverpool  but it was only successful when the ball was in liverpool half . the trouble with stoke is that there front four are good but they are not properly supported by the back four who have severe lack of pace and dont like to come out and close down . this is what let stoke down. initial walter's and diouf were the wide men and crouch the middle man with allen behind him but stoke were not finding any success and every attempt to move ball upfield was failing . crouch could win the first ball but he didnt had anybody to pass the ball beyond him . secondly liverpool contest the ball once it was on grass and were succeding in dispossessing crouch . so stoke didnt had any success . hughes noticed this and changed the formation and switched walters beyond crouch so that crouch can flick the headed balls to him. but in doing so they conceded the left side to liverpool because having moved walters over there they didnt had a natural player over there to occupy or defend that zone. stoke found some good success initially with this switched formation and direct play . the other thing that he changed was that he restricted johsnon's movement and he had a flat back four making it a back three with diouf and pieters as the full backs .  their approach was to play through crouch and he would try to release walters on goal or try to pass the ball to allen who was around him . stoke took the lead because of some stupid defending . in the lead upto the goal neither clyne nor pieter's opposite number mane went with him to close him down. instead he was allowed to cross and walters headed the ball for goal.
formation after hughes changed it . 
the reason why i had criticized stokes defensive players is because of their lack of game reading and doing nothing but standing . as i had stoke had changed the formation midway through the first half but it had adverse affect on them too . first off they didnt had any natural cover for pieter's on the left side to imbula was aked to cover that zone . so imbula had to cover not only central zone but also cover the left side zone which meant that there was considerable space between him and whelan . secondly liverpool move the ball very quick and kloop knows the importance of moving the ball fast because it doesnt let the defense settle and close you down . kloop has made them understand the positional aspect of the game very well and their ball handling . so liverpool bring the ball back to front very quickly and this meant that allen,walter's and crouch were not able to help team on defense . the trouble was that the back four were not ready to come out of defense and close down liverpool players and this allowed the opposition time and space on the ball and they were able to take the ball wide and bring it inside with ease .
if you watched liverpool goal's then you can see stoke's defensive mistake . leading off to the first goal matin's indi played mane onside had he kept the defensive discipline better then he would had caught him offside . he was one of the back three while johnson and shawcross moved up he stayed back and that allowed mane to be in the onside position . secondly he just kept on backing instead of trying to close him down in the movement . the second goal was the classic example as to how stoke got stretched and how the back four just kept their position instead of coming forward to close down the player in space. liverpool moved the ball from flank to flank and stretched stoke . if you watch the goal then you could see the space between whelan and imbula since imbula had to look at the left side as well . thirdly the back four not coming out quick to deal with firmino who was in the hole with time and space on the ball and they got punished . the game was over once liverpool scored second goal .
hughes needs to have some defensive addition into the team . secondly i would had loved whelan being dropped and allen and imbula in front of the back four which would had given them a good mobile and ball playing cover .