On July 30th, Liverpool FC beat Manchester City to lift the Community Shield, winning the first official tournament of the 2022 / 23 season in English football.
In this article, Argentinian analyst Tomás Alfonso talks us through some of the key points in the game. Having previously worked with Club Colón in Argentina’s First Division, Tomás is currently working as a video analyst at Bolivian club Ciudad Nueva and regularly contributes to this blog, publishing analyses of teams, matches and players.
So, let’s hand it over to Tomás…
The final of the Community Shield was won by the team that had less possession but who, without a doubt, were more effective on the ball and created more chances in front of goal.
So, let’s look at some of the key moments that led to Jürgen Klopp’s men being crowned champions.
It’s well known that Klopp doesn’t like to leave anything to chance, not even the kick off. So, it’s of little surprise that Liverpool take a tactical approach to the offensive game based on long balls and speedy attacks to set up scoring chances.
Liverpool is not a team that needs to put together long strings of passes in order to get deep into the opposition’s box.
This direct style of play served them well when overcoming the initial pressure applied by City and allowed them to take advantage of one-on-one situations. This was especially true of Mo Salah, whose speed allowed him to attack Cancelo’s flank, causing all kinds of problems for City.
In addition, Salah’s speedy incursions were well supported by players pushing up from midfield and flooding City’s goal area.
Liverpool were constantly looking for chances and didn’t play the long ball just for the sake of playing it. Instead, each long pass had the intention of reaching the forward line and breaking through City’s defenses.
In the following sequence, we see a direct attack with Robertson, who waits wide to receive the ball. Passing options are presented at various positions and the play is switched to the other side through a connection between Robertson and Arnold.
Once again, we see Mo Salah getting directly involved in the action, whiles Henderson-s involvement in breaking up the second line allowed Liverpool to overcome the high pressure of Guardiola’s team.
A technical detail of note, which we saw throughout this analysis, was the positioning of full backs Arnold and Robertson, who also have a great connection with wingers Salah and Díaz. If one is wide, the other waits on the inside and vice versa.
In the play before the goal, as we can see, Liverpool were constantly looking to fool and break through the opposition’s defense. With spectacular mobility and the constant quest to find space at the front, let’s take a closer look at Klopp’s attacking players.
Arnold receives in space. Robertson closes down the centre and ready’s himself for a transition to attack the area. Salah and Henderson break away to attack intermediate spaces whilst Luis Diáz positions himself wide. As you can see, nothing is random. Every player occupies a different space.
In this case, Arnold decides to change direction to attack the opponent’s weak side, Díaz waits wide whilst Robertson breaks inside.
Díaz again changes the orientation, trying to find space against City’s low block, and Arnold, who’s in the rebound zone, finishes the play.
Again, we can see a great connection between the wing backs and wingers, who move between the wings and the inside with ease.
Liverpool sought to constantly generate passing options and do damage with the midfielders positioned between the lines.
Here, we can again see the full backs positioned in the offensive stage.
Another important aspect of the game was Liverpool’s mastery of the quick transition, taking full advantage of City’s defensive imbalance. The penalty that put them 2-1 ahead at a key moment in the game was a direct result of this.
The great pressure applied by Klopp’s side paid off again. The low block was very solid, closing interior spaces efficiently.
By applying this pressure, Liverpool were looking to block the wings with one-on-one duels. This limited City’s options for progressing upfield, forcing them outside of their comfort zone and, instead, play long ball, where Liverpool sought to win the ball through superior positioning.
To prevent City moving forward towards the goal, Liverpool pushed play to the wings. This created situations where Guardiola’s team had to play backwards or split the ball.
At times, when there was less pressure, Liverpool reorganised themselves into a medium-low block positioning in a 4-4-1 formation. With tight compact lines, they tried to prevent City from playing on the inside, forcing them to play wide and giving City little depth to play with in the offensive phase.
As the result proves, it was very difficult for City to overcome Liverpool's defensive block. In fact, this was one of the keys to Liverpool’s success on the pitch.
With high pressure in the medium-low block, the closing of inside spaces and the forcing wide to the wings, Guardiola’s team began to lose their trademark patience.
As a result, the Manchester team played a game which was fairly predictable, moving the ball forward with little purpose and almost no capacity for surprise.
Liverpool made City extremely uncomfortable throughout the game, forcing them back and to play a game which they simply are not used to.
Klopp fulfilled his goal and, through great defensive work, won a large part of the match. City had no depth, moving the ball laterally with little intent.
Having to reset their attacks over and over again, meant that City lost a lot of space and were constantly pushed back towards their own goal.
Liverpool’s mid-low block did a fantastic defensive job meaning that City didn’t really create much danger throughout the game.
Although it seems contradictory, Liverpool beat City thanks to their spectacular defensive work which forced Guardiola’s team to change their play style. Finding themselves in uncomfortable positions, Manchester City had to back down, which favoured an increase in pressure from Liverpool and, as a result, allowed Klopp’s men to lift the Community Shield.
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a monthly compilation of articles, interviews and Nacsport tips for video analysis.
Once a month, we'll send a compendium of our best articles, interview and advice, straight to your inbox. Enjoy!
Mission Accomplished! Welcome!
Thanks for signing up for our newsletter. Very soon, we`ll mail out the best articles and advice from our website...straight to your inbox