Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool: High-energy Liverpool press Pellegrini into paying the price of complacency

Here was Liverpool’s first truly Klopp-esque performance. Saturday evening’s 4-1 Etihad rout of Manchester City could easily have been even more emphatic, as the German’s charges swamped their hosts with a breathtaking display of relentless pressing and rapier-like counter-attacking. Continue reading


Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal: Guardiola tactical tweaks lead to Bayern rout

Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at home to Bayern Munich a fortnight ago was built on the foundation of a solid defence, married to a relentless counter-attacking determination to prevail upon the German champions’ poor defensive transitions. Continue reading

CSKA Moscow 1-1 Manchester United: Van Gaal risk-aversion almost costs United again

A lot has been written about Louis Van Gaal’s obsession with control. Since his Ajax days, the Dutch coach has espoused a brand of football that seeks to minimise risk – the risk of losing the ball. His is a brand of football where dominating possession is an end in itself, not merely the means to an end.  Continue reading

Newcastle United 1-0 Liverpool: Brendan’s back three backfires

Rodgers springs a surprise

The Liverpool manager’s decision to field his side in an usual 3-4-2-1 shape surprised all, not least Newcastle boss Alan Pardew. In his pre-match interview, Pardew alleged that the key to beating Liverpool was “putting pressure on them in key areas”, a statement that could be interpreted as intent to attempt to control the game. Pardew presumably expected Liverpool to persist with the 4-3-3 that they fielded against Hull, allowing his side’s 4-2-3-1 to man-mark in midfield, putting pressure on Gerrard and choking Liverpool’s attempts to pass out from the back – a strategy that has already worked wonders for a number of sides this season. Continue reading