Champions League final: Real Madrid can show growing weakness in key Liverpool tactics

Liverpool enter Saturday’s Champions League clash as favorites, however there is an element of their game that is still on display and the same could be penalized by Real Madrid.

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Klopp ponders when Liverpool miss a title

Liverpool will offer to overcome their Premier League disappointment by lifting a seventh European Cup this weekend as they deal. Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

An unprecedented quartet may no longer be on the table, however Jurgen Klopp’s men will be highly encouraged to do the work in Paris and finish what was a remarkable season high.

In spite of facing the champions of Spain, Liverpool come into the meeting as the bookmaker’s favorites, which is a testament to how impressive Klopp’s men have been in recent months.

In this competition, they faced their fair share of elite opposition, which included last season’s champions of Italy and Spain, making it even more impressive that they won 12 of their 13 Champions League fixtures.

It was less straightforward for Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid, who suffered a defeat in one of their two leagues against each of PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout stages on the way to the final. They have shown great character to stormy weather and are launching memorable returns, however many are predicting the intensity and quality of Liverpool to be too much for them in this game.

While Liverpool can boast of being the stronger side in most areas, there is still a vulnerability to their game that could cost them dearly this weekend, and the same is a consequence of their infamous high defensive line.

Their high line has caused much debate in recent years, although its benefits cannot be ignored.






Wolves defeated the Liverpool outfielder and almost take a 2-1 lead at Anfield on Sunday

Many Liverpool opponents face a retreat into their own defensive half when they are without the ball, aiming to stay compact and aiming to limit space to exploit Liverpool.

In response, Liverpool’s central defenders push high to the midfield, sometimes even beyond it, writing the opposition within their own half. When Klopp’s side loses the ball, they back off and are very good at it.

With the defensive line so high, opponents have very little room to try to play their way out and as a result will often be forced to go a long way, returning possession to Liverpool to regain control.

It has long been accepted that as a result of this approach, teams would sometimes hit Liverpool’s offside trap and be presented with a very valuable goal opportunity.







Liverpool often rely on the quality of Alisson in a one-on-one
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Image:

AFP by Getty Images)

A more recent problem, however, is that teams now seem to be more successful than ever in creating attacking schemes that allow them to back up Liverpool’s defensive line and into good scoring chances on a semi-regular basis.

According to goalkeeping analyst @ Jhdharrison1, in the league Liverpool faced 56 one-on-one chances last season. Only three Premier League sides – Norwich, Newcastle and Leeds – faced more.

It’s worth remembering that these teams tend to spend a lot more time without the ball than Liverpool. Manchester City are stylistically most similar to Liverpool, and they have faced just 32 such chances this season.

Liverpool were penalized far less than other sides would have been, thanks in large part to Alisson, who proved to be the best in the Premier League in one-on-one moments.

However, Liverpool are now largely dependent on him to stay fit and perform at these levels to prevent their style of play from proving more expensive. Even with Alisson at his best, he’s still not able to keep all of these kinds of opportunities out, and that leads us back to Saturday’s clash with Real Madrid.

While it is a fair case that Madrid are lucky to reach this stage, they are still a leading European outfit that can hurt many top teams. One of the ways they could punish Liverpool, with all the above information in mind, is to create moves that suck Liverpool players and open the door for passes played over the top for peaceful forwards like Vinicius Junior to attack.

Vinicius is a right-wing striker who usually plays on the left side of Madrid’s attack, with goals as important as creating them for Ancelotti’s men – he has scored 21 goals across all competitions this season.

We can be pretty sure he will be aiming to play on Liverpool’s defensive shoulder on Saturday or looking to take advantage of Trent Alexander-Arnold being caught high on the pitch, preparing himself to sprint on balls played over the top.

These numbers suggest that Madrid will get at least one goal chance in such attacks on Saturday, so Liverpool will once again look to Alisson to do what he does best. In the long run though, it’s something Klopp and his staff may need to re-evaluate.

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