Ten years ago people watched football, enjoyed wins and were sad at losses. We all knew the fundamentals of good defending and how teams were able to score goals but few people thought deeper. The skills of individual players tended to be the limit of footballing conversations.
Enter Pep Guardiola. In 2008, he became Barcelona manager and quite literally changed the face of football forever. We watched in awe as his side, featuring some of the best players to grace the field, passed teams to death. Death by football.
Now things were different. Watching a game took on a new dynamic, filled with intrigue. You didn't have to be with a Football Manager fanatic to discuss footballing philosophies or zonal marking. People were excited by nerdy statistics.
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One footballing fundamental once unnoticed, now central to tactical discussions with your pals, is pressing. Always a subliminal part of every game you ever watched, Guardiola made it a central and sexy feature of the way his side played; as did the dominant Spanish national team. Off the ball movement became as significant as that with it and a valuable tool in winning games.
Other famous users of intensive pressing games include Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp. You can see where this is going. With Klopp likely to take the reigns at Liverpool, we'll take a look at exactly what we could see from his strategies in attack and defence.
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The infamous 2013/14 season, which saw Liverpool miss out on their first Premier League title, saw a gifted side utilise pressing tactics to devastating effect.
The most profound result of that season being an annihilation of Arsenal. Of course this worked well with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge but most importantly Luis Suarez; possibly the most tenacious forward in the game.
In Rodgers' second season, and the few games he survived in this one, the pressing had gone out the door with Sterling and Suarez.
Klopp has termed his philosophy "Gegenpressing" the German word "gegen" meaning to counter. In other words, pressing is intense and organised and flips defending into counter attacking rapidly to catch the opposition defence disorganised.
Sounds familiar right? Very similar to Rodgers tactics.
Very exciting stuff in prospect, but how will Klopp instil this philosophy into a team who failed to do so for Rodgers? Or did Rodgers lose confidence in the tactics after big departures and abandon it altogether?
It's a really tough ask for Klopp, who will have so much expectation on him. Let us not forget Klopp lost Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze in a two-year period which saw Dortmund slip down the table.
Rodgers lost Suarez and Sterling in a two-year period which saw Liverpool slip...hang on.
Will Jurgen Klopp take Liverpool back to the Champions League? Have your say in the comments section below!
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