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Liverpool analysed and how the Hammers can beat them

By Max Willow

slaven-bilic-klopp-u-da-yikti-gecti-1451752420While Liverpool is endowed with a quality first team squad, much of their success can be attributed to the tactical vision of manager, Jurgen Klopp.  He has very high expectations of every player, and when they play according to his ‘engineer-designed plans’, they can present as a very intimidating attacking force.

However, the key to winning against Liverpool lies in identifying key weakness points in their playing style and player positioning, as was demonstrated by heavy losses to Manchester City (5-0) and Tottenham (4-1), respectively.

In recent games, Klopp has favoured the use of an unusual narrow 4-3-3 formation. The left and right backs are pushed up quite high, often close to the half-way line, while the deepest of the three central midfielders will often sit directly in the middle of the park. The narrow central formation is designed to force the opposing players out into wider positions and diminish their participation in the game.

The underlying key to an unexpected West Ham win depends on consistent accurate passing, and continuous running, both on and off the ball. In order to lessen the effect of the narrow attacking Liverpool formation, I suggest the implementation of a 3-5-2 structure, where the wing-backs will have an integral part in deciding the outcome of play.

The use of the 5-man midfield is designed to neutralise a Liverpool dominance in the middle of the park. I would  favour pushing the back three into close proximity to the midfielders, in order to reduce large spaces close to our defensive third of the field.

From the beginning of the game, Liverpool will constantly look to regain any possession lost, by high press tackling (referred to as ‘gegenpressen’ by Klopp). Ideally, the player under pressure should be accompanied by one or two team-mates, to allow well-timed passing and the quick construction of a cohesive moving triangle.

The use of the moving triangle should be a crucial strategy of our play, in order to prevent Liverpool from organizing themselves into a rhombus/mega-rhombus formation, a favourite invention of their manager. The rhombi structures can assume a variety of weird and wonderful shapes, with a 4-man diamond representing one of the more simple common set-ups.

By continuous running off the ball, we enhance our ability to inhibit and/or break down the rhombus. Should one form, the best strategy is to strike with a ‘player arrow’ through the middle of the structure.

If Klopp decides on the 4-3-3 formation, West Ham can hit back, by targeting 3 integral positions on the field. Our wing-backs can attack either of the advanced Liverpool left/right backs, via a one-on-one contest, or the use of a simple wall pass involving a closely placed team-mate.

If we can win the contest against the wide backs, it can transpose into a ‘3 on 2’ juxtaposition, where Lanzini and the two strikers are pitted against the two deep lying centre backs.

Another strategic method, involves counter-attacking the deepest lying midfielder (usually Henderson). The best way of isolating this player (or the area nearby) is to use a variety of diagonal passes from the flanks, which would be designed to take the two advanced midfielders out of play.

Again, our wing-backs would be looking to find Lanzini (or our other central midfielders, who can quickly form a running structure linking up with the two strikers). This strategy is likely to pay dividends compared to the alternative method of trying to contest proceedings against a packed central Liverpool structure.

A third strategy involves rapid switching of play from one side to the other, in order to pull the Liverpool centre out of shape. Ideally, as soon as the ball is aerially transferred to the other flank, a team-mate should make a run along a narrow inside corridor parallel to the receiving wing-back.

This could allow a one-touch ‘trap and push’ from the wing-back into the line of the inside running team-mate, and thereby setting up a central 3 on 2 break, again involving Lanzini and the two strikers

In what may be a very fast game, Bilic may think carefully about replacing the starting wing-backs at any sign of early tiring. Holland, Haksabanovic, or Samuelsen would ideally provide the legs and the enthusiasm to assist in keeping any initiative gained.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

4 comments on “Liverpool analysed and how the Hammers can beat them

  1. Ha ha ha! Talking tactics that Slaven should use against Liverpool is like talking sense to a ISIS terrorist

  2. I do thinknwe should use a 3-5-2 Max. & keep Ayew & Chic up try & get behind their weak defense & play for corners too.
    Tho now Byram, Ant, Zab, Reid, Ginge, Fonte, & maybe even Cress aren’t going to fit for game hopefully Cressie will. Would hope at least w all that some U23s will make bench.

    It will be a goals games we will just have to try & score as well we can’t sit back.
    Wini is out now Sprained ankle in CL game. Luckily mane is out & Lallana but looks as if Coutinho should be fit.
    Either way Salah Firmino Can & Milner has been in exceptional form.

    Where are all this Injuries coming from? How yea playing unfit players & not intesntity in training. we could really use Zab.

  3. I was just about with you Max until you got to the point where the key to success is accurate passing & continuous running. How is that gonna happen??

  4. “However, the key to winning against Liverpool lies in identifying key weakness points in their playing style and player positioning, as was demonstrated by heavy losses to Manchester City (5-0) and Tottenham (4-1), respectively.” Just 1 problem there fella, we’re not Many City or Spurs!!

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