Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Tactical Analysis On How Barca Can Beat Liverpool With Ease

If you ask me, the match between Fc Barcelona and Fc Liverpool today, is the biggest match in this season's UEFA champions league, as both teams are in great form. In this 2018/2019 season, Liverpool has the most dangerous forwards in Europe, consisting of Sadio Mane, Firminho and Mohammed Salah. But today, they face Barca, the most feared team in Europe. With their style of football and a team with Lionel Messi, Barca is a formidable team to contend with. 

Although, going with the head to head records, Liverpool has a very good winning records on Barca, but definitely not on a Barca team led by Messi. The Barca talisman has his eyes on the champions league and right now, he seems unstoppable. Barca should dominate in possession but they are vulnerable to Liverpool's dangerous counter-attack and the pace of Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah can cause plenty of problems for Barca. Except with the help of Messi, Liverpool, with the ultra-reliable Virgil van Dijk in the heart of the defence, can avoid defeat from Barca. 

All over the world, no team can withstand Barca's style of play. With world class striker like Luis Suarez and star player like Messi and with players like Pique, Sergio B, Rakitic, Alba, Arthur and others, Barca has all it takes to win this champions league and Liverpool shouldn't be seen as an obstacle. Sometimes, winning does not depend on players but on coach.

Ernesto V. has one big issue with making a super change when things are going wrong. I can remember a game against Villarreal, when Umtiti had a very poor performance, but was allowed to play 90 minutes. Almost all four goals conceded came from Umtiti's wing. Maybe his decision was explainable, but how could he have paired Umtiti, who just came back from a long time injury and played out of his position, with Sergi Roberto who overlaps and does not fall back and is also not pacey? The whole back was a mess. Back selection might be a big problem for Barca today. 

I might not be a coach, but sometimes as a coach, your selection should be dependent on the type of opponent and the opponent's style of play. For a team like Liverpool that plays very fast attacking football and has pacey players like Sadio Mane and M. Salah operating in both wings, you can't use Roberto to hold Mane, a black man with a lot of strength, skills and pace. What if Roberto pushes attack and fails to fall back and Pique, as usual, also has gone forward to strike, and it so happens that Barca loses the ball to Liverpool, who has a very dangerous counter attack, who do you think will be available at the back to delay or calm Liverpool's attack? Only one player can withstand Mane's speed, and that one player is Nelson Semedo, also an energetic and pacey black player, who is also skilful with the ball.

In the fast half, the intensity will be high and both teams will be on the attack. After all the run around first half, Mane's energy level would have dropped from 100% to perhaps 70 percent. Then Ernesto can bring in Roberto. From the bench, Roberto would have read the game and know how to keep up with the pace. Clement is defender that has no business with attack. With a newspaper in his hand, he sits at the back, waiting for opponents. And it is very hard to defeat him with the ball and go free. He is more reliable at the back. Working with Semedo, Pique and Alba can easily connect with midfielders and attackers. 

In Barca's attack, Coutinho should start the game. He will serve as a distraction to his former team, Liverpool. Much will be expected from him by his former team. They might focus on stopping Coutinho from getting a goal. This will create more space for Messi and Suarez to cause havoc. After halftime, Liverpool's energy would have dropped a little and Dembele would have read the game and understood what Liverpool is bringing to Barca. With his speed and dribbling skills, Dembele will look almost unstoppable to Liverpool, especially in second half, when Liverpool would have been exhausted. Below is how Barca should lineup against Liverpool today. 

And around 75th minute to the game, Vidal should be substituted for Arthur to help add more rigidity to Barca's midfield. Vidal will frustrate Liverpool with hard tackles, especially when they are trying to get a goal. Moreover, Vidal is a workaholic, who can operate from box to box. 

So fans, how should Barca lineup against Liverpool today?

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