This is not a headline that you would expect to see from a website so devotedly focused on tactics and analysis. But as complex and debatable as this may sound, football is more about psychology than tactics. The best coaches are not always the best tacticians. But the best coaches are always the best motivators. The likes of John Herdman, Emma Hayes, Jose Mourinho and even Jurgen Klopp, rarely ever speak about tactics when expatiating about the game. Instead, they pontificate about the psychology of their teams and players, and their attempts to get the best out of their mentality.
Over the past few seasons, we've seen some legendary Champions League finals. This encounter between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in many ways, was more lethargic and leisurely. A chess battle as both teams patiently worked through the thirds and never fully pressed the gas, Liverpool couldn't quite ever get up to full speed in matching Real Madrid's assuredness and steady flow in possession. With Courtois supersonic-ifying his gloves beforehand, the match ended with Real Madrid coming out as winners, claiming an impressive double under the influence of Carlo Ancelotti, and one last hurrah for many of the decade-defining stars from the 2010s. Here is our tactical analysis of Real Madrid's narrow 1-0 win over Liverpool.
With one of the best midfielders in the world in Aurélien Tchouaméni, AS Monaco are now slowly making their way back to their best, and look set to finish within the top three again this season. As a result of being one of the world's top emerging talents, conversations persist about possible next steps for the top-quality 22-year-old. With that, we decipher the best fit for the Monaco man if a move were to be made this summer.
Off-the-ball movement is, of course, the most important facet to the game. But saying that all passing patterns or attempts to make decision making automatic are "stupid" fails to account for the fact that these things don't have to be trained in isolation. After all, if they were stupid, why would coaches like Jurgen Klopp or Ralph Hasenhuttl deploy them as training methods?
Fabinho has been instrumental to Liverpool's success for almost four years now, as the Reds have won four major trophies - including the Champions League and Premier League, with the Brazilian at the heart of their midfield. It may not be time for the Reds to move on from a man who has made the position his own, but there is certainly an opportunity to recruit fresh, young talent that can learn the role and grow into the side, just like Liverpool have done with Luis Diaz.
"If Manchester City win the match, the title race is over." - every Premier League pundit in existence. Well, Manchester City didn't win the match, so what happens now? First of all, what a match. Second of all, I am of the firm belief that Manchester City thoroughly outclassed Liverpool on the day, and that Raheem Sterling should have been ruled onside from that VAR disallowed goal (surely it's too close to say clear and obvious?). But I digress. I am not here to talk about refereeing decisions. Instead, the tactics! So let's jump into it, and discuss whether or not the title race is over, or in fact, still with everything to play for.
The Portuguese forward has scored 5 headed goals at Liverpool this season, and 5 for Portugal in World Cup Qualification. Very few forwards on the planet can claim a better record this season, raising the question - how does a 5'10 false-nine-left-wing hybrid score so many headed goals?
In all of the January discussion surrounding Liverpool's front three and what might transpire in the future, Luis Diaz came out of Porto obscurity to sign for the Reds for a €45 million fee. The Colombian wing wizard has wasted no time in settling into his new team, which just so happens to be one of the greatest club teams in the world, stealing the show nearly every time he plays. Here is our analysis of Luis Diaz's start to life at Liverpool, and why he's perfect for the Reds.
Following its popular use for Vicente del Bosque's Spain at Euro 2012, the role of the false nine has continued to evolve in the modern era of the Premier League, accompanied by a shift in mannerisms, behaviors, and positional patterns of strikers on a football pitch. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have been two of the dominating forces in world football since the mid-2010s, and both have operated throughout that time without a recognized out-and-out goal-scoring striker. For any possession-based team attempting to emulate Klopp and Guardiola, deploying a false nine presents a unique and innovative way of breaking the opposition down, and reaching new levels of performance. Some tactical experts have suggested that in the future we may see a formation without a striker at all, but truthfully, we may already be there.
18-year-old Jude Bellingham has lit the Bundesliga on fire since arriving at the start of the 2020-21 season, catching the attention of clubs, fans and managers across the globe. Evidently with still so much to learn, the Dortmund man plays with a class and confidence beyond his years, and already has a manager wanting to build a team around his undeniable quality. In this tactical analysis, we take a look at why Bellingham has excelled at Dortmund, and attempt to identify his next big club.
With 23 matches gone, Manchester City are evident favourites for the title. But Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool haven't been too far off, and still have both a game in hand and a game against City to play. The Reds have been brilliant this season, regardless of their competitors, scoring the most goals in the league and returning to their best under the return of Virgil Van Dijk, and other players restored to their normal positions. Through it all, Jurgen Klopp's team have continued to perform to the highest standard in all the areas expected of them, from their heavy metal pressing to meticulous methods of playing out from the back. Here is our tactical analysis of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in 2021-22.
Sadio Mane may not have as much versatility in skillset as Firmino and Salah, but his talent levels are supreme. Out of all the candidates, Emmanuel Dennis might be the closest clone. The Nigerian forward is just sheer speed and scoring power, which, without underselling all of this, is Mane to a tee. Then you have Rafael Leao, who is so much more skillful than the Senegalese, but lacks the exact trait we would most want to find in a future Mane replacement (better scoring and shooting accuracy). So with that, we have to go with...
As we found out, finding Mohamed Salah's replacement at Liverpool is a tough task. He's a strangely unique player, who does just about everything in the game to great effect. Nobody will ever replace his goal-scoring presence for the Reds, and that much always needs to be taken into consideration. So with that, we've done something a bit crazy.