According to multiple sources, RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konaté is set to join Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, as the club look to end their search for a new centre-back. The French defender broke onto the scene with Leipzig at the start of the 2018-19 campaign, making 28 appearances in the Bundesliga as Die Roten Bullen finished third. Since then, Konaté's found minutes on the pitch difficult to come by, appearing in only 12 league fixtures in 2020-21 and 8 in 2019-20. In Liverpool's Round of 16 match-up against the Red Bulls in the UEFA Champions League this season, the Frenchman was absent for both fixtures. Upon hearing this you might be wondering...did they get the wrong man?
Over the past decade, the emphasis on attacking play in the beautiful game has grown and grown. Coaches and fans are increasingly more excited about the attacking moments of the game, rather than defensive moments. Defending has become an afterthought, and teams that set up to defend are often deemed "boring" and "dinosaurs" by fans around the world. But defending remains an integral component to the modern game, and often it can be seen that teams with the better defense structures (Atletico, Manchester City, etc.) often win more football matches.
Any team's style of play needs to fit the personnel and formation. But a relatively new, unexplored tactical innovation arising out of the re-emerging rise of back-three formations is the concept of overlapping centre-backs. Teams like Sheffield United and Atalanta have achieved widescale success utilizing attack-minded centre-backs, who frequently find themselves in advantageous positions, attempting to join the attack and create chances for their teammates. By adopting this style of play, these teams create overloads in wide and/or central areas, and push more numbers into the box, where the delivery of crosses can be a great asset. On the surface, this may seem like a very simple approach. But the concept of overlapping centre-backs is far more complex than just the simple nature of a centre-back running around a wing-back. So let's get right into this Tactical Analysis all about Overlapping Centre-Backs.