Livorno 0-2 Juventus: 6 Things We Learned

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIINovember 24, 2013

Livorno 0-2 Juventus: 6 Things We Learned

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    Juventus secured a hard-fought victory over Serie A newcomers Livorno to temporarily move to the top of the league.

    Fernando Llorente continued his claim to secure a permanent place in the starting lineup for the Old Lady, while Carlos Tevez added a second to calm any nerves.

    The Bianconeri have now won five consecutive matches in the league and look red-hot favourites to retain their title once again.

    Attention now turns towards the Champions League and unraveling their problematic group that has seen them go without a win in the opening four matches.

    Firstly, here are six things we learned from Sunday's encounter.

Arturo Vidal Is Tremendously Versatile

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    Arturo Vidal is a fantastic midfielder, but we have rarely seen his versatility since the Chilean moved to Juventus.

    With Vidal's experience at various positions for Chile, Antonio Conte made a rare decision to utilise him at centre-back.

    El Guerrero did an adequate job, averting a problem due to suspensions to Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna, as well as an injury to Andrea Barzagli.

    To count on such a high-class player being able to impact the game from numerous positions is a valuable commodity with which Conte will be absolutely delighted.

Fernando Llorente Starts, for Now

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    Fernando Llorente continues to repay Conte's faith by adding to his collection of goals in a black and white shirt.

    The Spaniard broke the deadlock against a resilient Livorno side and must now feel he has done enough to earn a sustained run of games alongside Carlos Tevez.

    Llorente is tall and powerful, but he is adding quality to his contribution, releasing the ball quickly to the midfield runners and using his powerful frame to shield the ball and roll defenders.

    Any chance of a loan move away in January, after Arsenal's reported interest (per The Independent), has surely gone.

    Instead, Juventini can look forward to a blossoming partnership in their attack, finally, with Fabio Quagliarella, Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco needing to produce something exceptional, whenever afforded the opportunity, to come back into the picture for a start.

Livorno Have Little to No Goal Threat Without Paulinho

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    Livorno failed to score at home to Juventus, which would not be massively worrying given the quality of the opposition, but it does set alarm bells ringing after the Serie A newcomers played a game without their star striker Paulinho for the first time this season.

    The Brazilian was suspended and thus Innocent Emeghara started on his own up top. The Swiss does not possess the same thrust and drive to be able to occupy Serie A defenders and bring others into play in and around him.

    Paulinho is so crucial to the way that Livorno play, that they appeared to have no plan B, with Mbaye and Pasquale Schiattarella looking to release the ball quickly into the space in front of Juve's defense where Paulinho so often thrives.

    The ball was not able to stick with Emeghara, meaning Juve were able to swiftly break up Livorno spells of possession.

    Moving forward, Davide Nicola must look to diversify their attack, or pray that their top forward remains eligible to play week in, week out.

Nicola's Emphasis on Wing-Backs Gives Livorno Fighting Chance to Survive

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    Davide Nicola has insured that Livorno have a legitimate shot at avoiding relegation by utilising a system that has become very popular in the league, but tweaking it somewhat.

    The 3-5-2 system appears to be a system in which the players feel comfortable, but unlike some managers who use the same formation, Nicola is asking his full-backs to provide him with much more thrust and penetration, covering enormous distances.

    Inter loanee Mbaye is relishing this role and his athleticism gives him the opportunity to stretch his legs and make use of the vast amount of space in front of him.

    Schiattarrella is a little different, but his role is equally important. His combination-play with the centre-midfielders allows Livorno to work the ball out from the back superbly.

    While defeat against Juve will not be something to dwell on too much, Livorno are settled enough now that they must begin to raise their expectations in the second half of the season.

    For now though, Livorno have provided more than enough evidence to suggest that they can surprise a few by remaining in the division for next season.

Marchisio Could Be Conte's Main Reason to Experiment with a New System

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    Conte's experiment with a 4-3-3 system is surely down to the fact that he accepts that Paul Pogba is performing too well now to be dropped and that means that Claudio Marchisio has little hope of starting in his preferred role, while maintaining a significant wide threat in the team.

    This means that Il Principino will have to adapt to an advanced role, pushed out to the flank, but with little other options at Conte's disposal, it could be something that deserves closer examination.

    Especially as it offers the option of moving Marchisio back a little deeper to control possession through the midfield, should that be needed.

    While Andrea Pirlo remains at the club and continues to start alongside Arturo Vidal and Pogba, Marchisio will have to work hard to justify such a change.

    It will be fascinating to monitor the Azzurri international's adaption over the coming weeks, especially with two massive games in the Champions League.

    Conte is taking a calculated risk by ditching the formation that has proved so valuable over the first two seasons of his reign, but while Marchisio is in the side, it is surely a gamble worth making.

Juve Must Sign Quick Players Capable of Playing on the Right

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    Simone Padoin is an honest, hard-working player, but he lacks the quality and especially the pace to make the right-midfield slot his own.

    Little to no pressure has been placed on Stephan Lichtsteiner since his absence through injury and while the Swiss international is a regular in the side, even he lacks express pace to be able to compliment Kwadwo Asamoah's on the opposite flank.

    This makes Juve quite predictable to defend against, with Livorno operating a lop-sided formation, pushing up Ibrahima Mbaye due to a lack of worry about the potential for Padoin to hurt them in behind.

    Conte will surely look to buy a right-sided player with this characteristic that has been lacking for some time, even if it is to just add a different option in rotation, rather than a starting candidate.