4 Things Liverpool Need to Do to Enter and Win the Champions League
Continue the Pass-and-Move Football
Liverpool will need to continue to play pass-and-move football, the hallmark of a dominant modern football team.
Sure, one can bring up Jose Mourinho’s Inter and his “park the bus” counterattacking tactics and how they won (with some luck) the trophy against a seemingly unbeatable Barcelona side. The truth is, to win titles with this tactic a coach needs to have possession of the best attackers and defenders in the world.
Pass-and-move football at its pinnacle prevents the opposition from possessing the ball and creating chances. Players will have to be in top shape, as they will need to work hard to win the ball back if the opposition gains possession. Liverpool should aim to hold possession for 60 percent of match time against regular Premier League opposition.
Don’t Rely on Only Headers
A Liverpool side with Andy Carroll in it requires that aerial service be provided to suit the tall forward. I think this is a risky tactic. An out-of-form Andy Carroll means that Stewart Downing is also a waste of a starting spot because the winger’s crosses are the reason that he makes the starting eleven.
The reality is that if Liverpool wingers and fullbacks keep crossing into the box, several periods of ball possession will be wasted. Probability of scoring on the ground is much higher than scoring in the air.
Lucas Leiva Needs to Develop…Even More
As devout Liverpool fans, we have watched Lucas mature into a fine defensive midfielder, worthy of his regular starts for Liverpool and for the Brazilian national team.
We have missed him sorely this season. Dalglish has tried to use Spearing to cover, but Lucas’ defensive qualities were not compensated for.
Next season should welcome Lucas back to the first team. If Liverpool are to win the Champions League, Lucas will have to work to improve his pass interception skills. Aside from Alex Song, Lucas is probably the best tackling defensive midfielder in the Premier League. If he can learn to develop his vision and reading of the game, both essential to pass interceptions, he will become one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
A good defensive midfielder is key to contending with the club giants of Europe. Real Madrid and Barcelona both have many options in the defensive midfield slot. This is key to their success.
Sebastian Coates and Martin Kelly need to grow into fine replacements for Jamie Carragher.
One of the keys to Liverpool’s success in the past has been a watertight defense. Mourinho had Maicon, Samuel, Lucio and Zanetti—by far one of the best back lines in all of football.
Agger and Skyrtel are forming a solid partnership, but they are miles from the quality of that Inter back line. Liverpool will need to return to their defensive prowess if they are to win against the top clubs in Europe. Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005 with Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia, a formidable defensive pair.
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