Liverpool offside trap: Prime AC Milan's crazy tactic revisited

  • Kobe Tong
AC Milan defending in Serie A.

Liverpool are playing champagne football right now.

The Reds are genuinely eyeing up the possibility of winning the quadruple this season in what would surely be the greatest achievement in the history of the men’s game in England.

Jurgen Klopp must be rubbing his hands together with the Carabao Cup already secured, an FA Cup final on the horizon, Manchester City within close reach in the Premier League and a favourable Champions League semi-final lined up.

Liverpool’s offside trap tactics

Naturally, it will take a herculean set of performances for Liverpool to genuinely hoover up all four trophies, but the fact that it’s even possible this late into the season is a credit to their magnificence.

All the way up from a rejuvenated Alisson Becker between the sticks to a Ballon d’Or-contending Mohamed Salah, Liverpool are firing on all cylinders across every position on the pitch right now.

And while there are countless tactical nuances that are behind Liverpool’s scintillating form, there’s no denying that Klopp’s recent obsession with the offside trap is one of the most eye-catching.

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In what has proven to be a controversial approach amongst Kopites, the Reds have bravely deployed a high line for their defence that hasn’t been afraid to try and catch forwards offside.

With VAR now ensuring that offside decisions are more accurate than ever if they lead to a goal, it seems as though Liverpool are willing to chance their arm with a wonderfully courageous tactic.

Liverpool vs Man Utd Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

AC Milan’s terrifying offside trap

However, brilliant as it might be, the Merseyside club will always be playing second fiddle to AC Milan when it comes to producing the most ruthless offside trap that football has ever seen.

The Italian giants’ defence were a fearsome bunch in their prime under Arrigo Sacchi at the best of times, but that elevated to a whole ‘nother level when they were literally charging at the opposition’s front line.

Just imagine how much you’d be trembling in your boots if you were working your way up the pitch and suddenly the likes of Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi broke their positions and sprinted towards you.

Well, that’s exactly what AC Milan did on multiple occasions in what footage goes to show is quite possibly the wildest offside trap tactic that we’ve ever seen, so be sure to check it out down below:

Goodness gracious me. It just looks so wrong, doesn’t it?

Seeing the Milan back-line effectively disintegrate and lose shape in order to catch their rivals offside at the very last moment is so jarring through modern lenses that it looks like a FIFA glitch.

It didn’t always work…

However, despite Sacchi’s offside trap being furnished with some of the greatest defenders of all time, there were rare occasions where it did fail and Diego Maradona is living proof of that – check it out:

We’ll let Milan off for not quite nailing it against arguably the finest footballer in history.

Which offside trap was better?

Besides, depending on how you look at things, Milan’s offside trap was arguably riskier than Liverpool’s version because there was no VAR to ensure that an objective decision could be relied upon.

By the same token, there’s an argument to be made that Milan’s iteration was actually safer in that the sheer mind-bending nature of their sprint will surely have influenced the linesmen pretty consistently.

And it’s also pivotal to note that the rules were different in Milan’s day with any player standing in an offside position when the ball was played resulting in the flag being raised regardless of whether they were affecting play or not.

AC Milan's Maldini in Serie A.
Paolo Maldini – AC Milan Pic : John Sibley / Action Images

Either way, though, it’s not hard to see shades of a prime AC Milan in the way that Liverpool are handling their high line right now – and that’s hardly a bad place from which to take inspiration.

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