Manager in Focus: Jurgen Klopp loses tactical battle in Liverpool's defeat to PSG

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Paris Saint-Germain turned in an inspiring performance to beat Liverpool 2-1 in their Group C Champions League clash.

Juan Bernat opened the scoring in the 13th minute as the hosts began brightly while the influential Neymar added a second in the 37th minute.

Angel Di Maria’s lunging challenge brought down Sadio Mane inside the area as the away side pulled one back when James Milner converted the resulting penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Here’s a look at how Jurgen Klopp fared in the tactical battle with Thomas Tuchel.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 1

Shots – 8

Possession – 56%

Tackles – 19

Dribbles – 3

30-SECOND REPORT

If Liverpool were the dominant force at Anfield, the tables were certainly turned at the Parc des Princes, particularly in the first half. The Reds struggled to get going and were caught off guard by PSG’s vibrancy and effervescence from the get-go.

Liverpool’s defence was not allowed time on the ball to play out from the back while Jordan Henderson didn’t help proceedings. He didn’t show for the ball enough and when he did, he opted to play a back pass more often than his side would’ve liked.

Klopp almost seemed surprised by the way PSG started and could only make an impact after the break. The Reds were much better in the second period, pressing higher up the pitch while Mohamed Salah and Mane seemed to attack the half spaces in the final third better.

However, despite enjoying far more possession with PSG sitting off them a bit, they still lacked direction going forward and never really looked like getting the equaliser.

Sadio Mane won the penalty to keep Liverpool in it.

Sadio Mane won the penalty to keep Liverpool in it.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Gomez at right-back

Following some good displays in recent games, why Klopp would bench Trent Alexander-Arnold and start Joe Gomez at right-back instead is bewildering. The latter – presumably in the manager’s eyes – is more astute defensively he looked out of his depth against the pace and movement of Neymar and Mbappe.

Alexander-Arnold on the other hand, while not free of flaws himself, has proven his worth in big games. His performance against Cristiano Ronaldo when Liverpool lost last season’s final to Real Madrid being a shining example.

He even coped well with Neymar when PSG visited Anfield in September. Gomez not only struggled to find his bearings in defence, panicking in possession when boxed in by the press, but also failed to produce quality going forward.

Alexander-Arnold’s delivery from wide areas serves as an added weapon in Liverpool’s armoury but Gomez never looked eager to get early crosses in and when he did decide to whip one in, it was always well off the mark.

Joe Gomez struggled at right-back.

Joe Gomez struggled at right-back.

VERDICT

Klopp just seemed less prepared than his counterpart. Tuchel had a specific plan laid out and Liverpool had just arrived hoping to do what they do and triumph. It’s rarely that simple in the Champions League. The Reds boss must shoulder most of the blame especially with his changes in the second half having no impact as well.

Rating 5/10

Most popular

Related Tags

Tuchel masterminds PSG's win over Liverpool with inspired tactics and Neymar role

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Paris Saint-Germain turned in an inspiring performance to beat Liverpool 2-1 in their Group C Champions League clash.

Juan Bernat opened the scoring in the 13th minute as the hosts began brightly while the influential Neymar added a second in the 37th minute.

Angel Di Maria’s lunging challenge brought down Sadio Mane inside the area as the away side pulled one back when James Milner converted the resulting penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Here’s a look at how Thomas Tuchel fared in the tactical battle with Jurgen Klopp.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 11

Possession – 44%

Tackles – 17

Dribbles – 7

30-SECOND REPORT

With the prospect of elimination lurking, Tuchel had it all to do in this fixture. Given PSG’s ambitions in the competition, the pressure was on and the first good thing the manager did was get his players riled up for the challenge.

Even on the touchline, Tuchel yelled and gesticulated like a madman to the extent that perhaps even the eccentric Klopp was taken aback.

It wasn’t all about ranting, raving and winding up the crowd to produce a hair-raining atmosphere though. Tuchel clearly planned for this contest meticulously and his tactics had an air of sophistication.

The flexibility of the team, utilising various shapes in different phases of play over the course of the game was remarkable. Early on, they seemed to immediately dominate the ball by means of a 3-4-1-2 formation with Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat pushing up while Marquinhos dropped in to support Thiago Silva and Presnel Kimpembe.

That changed as soon as they broke the deadlock though and for the majority of the match, they operated in a 4-4-2 without the ball and a 4-2-3-1 in possession. Neymar was the key, linking up play superbly while Kylian Mbappe was his favourite outlet.

PSG were impressive.

PSG were impressive.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Neymar’s role

Barcelona wasn’t big enough for two talismanic figures and so Neymar was always destined to leave Camp Nou from under Lionel Messi’s shadow. Now at PSG, the Brazilian has shown his ability to lead the team in their quest for European glory and Wednesday night was another example of that.

The fact that he doesn’t seem consumed in competition with a young trailblazer like Mbappe and instead plays the more influential role, feeding the blossoming talent of his team-mate shows great maturity.

Tuchel realises that and his utilisation of the 26-year-old was excellent. Without possession, the Brazilian was entrusted with left midfield role while Mbappe had the freedom of staying upfront with Edinson Cavani. Neymar was even seen tracking back to support Juan Bernat on occasion.

Meanwhile, he was the conductor in attack, breaking quickly in the transition and assuming a central role linking midfield with attack. Only Marquinhos had more touches than Neymar who was easily the most influential figure on the pitch.

Neymar starred against Liverpool.

Neymar starred against Liverpool.

VERDICT

Tuchel brought his A-game for this one and had it not been for Di Maria’s desperate tackle, his side may even be celebrating a more comfortable win. His tactics were inspired and there didn’t seem to be any shortage of motivation. Even his substitutions seemed to be the right ones although he was let down by his players’ inability to kill off the game.

Rating 8/10

Most popular

Related Tags

Thomas Lemar's encouraging display steers Atletico Madrid to victory against Monaco

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Thomas Lemar put in a solid display against former side Monaco.

Thomas Lemar came up against his old side Monaco on Wednesday night in the Champions League, a fixture that gave him a chance to show his summer move to Atletico Madrid was the right decision.

The France winger has taken longer than expected to settle in the Spanish capital. He’s looked good on occasion, but one goal and two assists in 17 appearances means he hasn’t quite dazzled the Atleti faithful.

Here’s a look at how Lemar got on in their 2-0 win.

KEY STATS

Goals – 0

Assists – 0

Shots – 1

Shots on target – 0

Dribbles – 2

Key Passes – 0

30-SECOND REPORT

Starting on the left of a 4-4-2, Lemar showed flashes of his best during his hour on the pitch. He was involved in Atletico’s opener without touching the ball, creating space with his run that allowed Koke the space to shoot from range.

Lemar came close to scoring himself, hitting the outside of the post with a well-struck free-kick. His work rate also remained excellent throughout, with one instance of tracking back earning particular praise from head coach Diego Simeone.

GOT RIGHT

Movement

Lemar’s involvement in the Atletico opener may go unnoticed, but it was crucial. His run across the defence from the right wing pulled two defenders with him, leaving Koke free to shoot and score, via a deflection. That sort of movement makes a player like Lemar lethal.

Passing

The zero key passes in Lemar’s stat column on Wednesday is misleading. His passing was incisive, as he linked up well with Antoine Griezmann and Angel Correa, setting both up in dangerous positions.

GOT WRONG

A familiar failing with Lemar cropped up again on Wednesday. Lemar has a tendency to drift out of games, and that was the case again as for all his good work on the ball – and off it – there were times, especially as Monaco improved after half-time, where Lemar was nowhere to be seen.

He had fewer touches than all bar two of the outfield players who started for Atletico, and one of those was Koke, who went off at half-time.

VERDICT 

Lemar has started to look a little more consistent in Atletico colours and this was another encouraging display from the French winger. Though he wasn’t at his dazzling best, the level that he often hit for Monaco, Lemar was a thorn in the side of his former team whenever he was on the ball.

Simeone will have noted his contribution to the first goal, as well as Lemar’s overall work rate. Hopefully, the 23-year-old continues to build on this performance.

RATING – 7/10

Most popular