Liverpool defeated by two nutmegs.

The Europa League Final was truly a tale of two halves. A cliché ridden game, with a fast and furious British team in one corner; and a technically sound, tactically astute Spanish side in the other.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 14.03.58
Evidence A

In the first half Liverpool overwhelmed Sevilla with their frantic high tempo pressing. The Europa League specialists were undoubtedly rattled. As the first half came to a close, BT commentators and pundits were convinced that this would be the easiest half time team talk Jurgen Klopp would ever have to give.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I can’t help but think that not grabbing a second goal while they were in the ascendancy meant that this wasn’t quite as straightforward as Michael Owen et al were concerned.

The relatively inexperienced Liverpool team looked completely rattled themselves when Sevilla struck almost immediately in the second half.

What was really interesting was that two of the Spanish sides goals involved nutmegs. The first being on the forever criticised left back Moreno, the second of Dejan Lovren.

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Evidence B

Rather than unfairly burying either of the two defenders, it might be more interesting to question why Liverpool players are so susceptible to a nutmeg. I would argue that if the high tempo press isn’t being implemented in all its most furious glory (bordering on assault), then it is an approach that leaves any player susceptible to a nutmeg, with varying consequences depending upon your position on the pitch.

Maybe Klopp needs to implement a Plan B, as at present it seems to be an all or nothing approach? You wonder if they’ll ever be consistent under the inspirational speaker.

 

 

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