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[av_heading heading=’Tactical analysis of Uefa Europa League final’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Mattia Fontana

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Same formation (4-2-3-1), very different game strategy. The Europa League final between Liverpool and Seville was an exciting contest, not only between the players on the pitch, but also between Jurgen Klopp and Unai Emery.
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The 1-0 goal is the summary of everything good that Liverpool demonstrated in the first half. Seville defended the area with 7 players, but Sturridge managed to break up the play by receiving the ball wide on the left. Coutinho cut into the centre space, while the left back Alberto Moreno overlapped.

This manoeuvre without the ball was enough to create doubt for the opposing right back, Mariano, who hesitated for a second. Should he cover Moreno or come out against Sturridge? The English forward took advantage and seized the moment for a brilliant goal. There is no doubt that Liverpool’s drop in intensity for the second half also contributed to the worsening of Sturridge’s athletic conditions.
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The 1-1 goal sums up all of Klopp’s Liverpool defensive problems. Alberto Moreno made two mistakes. First of all, his body position was wrong and he made a bad header on Banega’s pass.
Then, he tried to make up for the mistake by coming out late on Mariano and gets nutmegged when it would have been enough to wait and buy time.

And then there was the clumsy effort by the two centre backs. Both Touré and Lovren watch the ball and not Gameiro. Who moves in and makes a textbook score. Liverpool suffered less from Seville’s territorial domination than the Andalusians did, but proportionally they conceded more shots on goal. No small problem.
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Liverpool’s fragility comes out on the 1-2 goal as well. Everything began with a lack of pressing by Sturridge on Rami and Coutinho on Krychowiak. That was enough to allow Seville to move into the rival midfield with three passes.
However, two mistakes that Lovren made come into play here. First, he tried to cut Coke off in the midfield without winning the ball.
Then he struggled to get back into position, leaving space for Vitolo to move in, and once again he tried to come out early and he was nutmegged. Coke cut in from the left and came up on the ball to score, without Touré dropping back in the centre. The dark side of Klopp’s “gegenpressing”.

Conclusions:
–    The protests for the officiating, a factor that is hardly negligible, cannot stop us from analysing the Europa League final on a tactical level.
–    In tactical terms, the more flexible formation won out. High paced attacks with team participation, but also an attentive defence and counter-attacks. The limitations of Klopp’s first Liverpool squad were confirmed in this match. A formation capable of getting the better of the opposition almost exclusively if it plays at a high pace (that cannot always be sustained). The fact that Seville scored 3 goals with 4 shots on goal cannot be overlooked.
–    Klopp said that the Basel match will be remembered as a fundamental step for his future at Liverpool. True. However, the challenge for next year will be managing to create a team capable of being superior, not only when playing at a higher pace than the adversary, but also of managing playing times and maintaining a good balance even on tired legs.

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Mattia Fontana
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italia editor.
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