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Liverpool’s lack of pressing means, exposing Klopp’s high line

Sep 10, 2022

One of the main issues that Jurgen Klopp’s team faced against Napoli was very evident in his explanation of the situation. 

The reasons for Liverpool’s slow start to the season are many, but the tenacious Italian team regularly exposed Klopp’s team defensive high line, which has a hallmark of his tenure at the club.

Napoli repeatedly destroyed Liverpool’s defense, which appeared disjointed and their midfield was overrun. For years, Liverpool has walked a fine line between playing a high-risk offside trap to maintain their shape, control the field, and ensure that as much of the game is played in their opponents’ half as possible.

It uses a risk-and-reward formula. Both critics and supporters have questioned it when it has not worked on occasion, but Klopp has stayed true to his beliefs.

While it is simple to blame the defenders entrusted with keeping the opposing team’s attackers offside, the factors that precede that predicament are equally, if not more, crucial.

When asked Klopp about the high-line, “The high-line is a risk if you don’t get pressure on the ball and use it”. “If you have a high-line and you don’t put any pressure on the guy on the ball then, yes, it’s a risk”.

The midfield, which is essential to the intensity and pressure Klopp desires, is key in those situations. An enormous issue has arisen as a result of injuries decimating the ranks. While Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, and Fabio Carvalho have joined him since the season started on the treatment table, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was ruled out during the preseason. After being away for a month, Thiago has just returned.

As a result, there has been a lot of chopping and shifting. In their first seven games, Liverpool has started five different midfield pairings. Harvey Elliot and Fabio Carvalho have each made one start, James Milner three, Henderson three, and Fabinho and Harvey Elliot six each.

As evidenced by his inability to keep up with Napoli’s tempo and pace, the 36-year-old Milner shouldn’t be starting in the middle of Liverpool’s midfield on a regular basis. Elliot has been a standout performer thus far, but he is still developing into a full-fledged Klopp midfielder as he is still young and still getting used to both the ball and playing without it. Behind them stood Fabinho, one of several excellent players who was performing far below the high bar they had previously set.

It has appeared as haphazard as it does.

The second penalty that Liverpool gave up to Napoli during their match gave an example of the issues that being out of shape can lead to.

Napoli tries to move the ball up the field. Because he is so at ease with the ball at his feet, Alisson is a crucial component of the high line tactic. In order to intercept passes that are played over the top of Liverpool’s defense, the Brazil goalkeeper quickly leaves his position after seeing danger.

On this particular occasion, he did not arrive first. With Van Dijk’s quick recovery and Alisson serving as a sweeper keeper, according to Klopp, it should be challenging for teams to timing their runs and produce the weight.

Throughout the first half, it persisted. The passing and off-the-ball movement of Napoli allowed them to get past Liverpool’s midfield and have time to choose the attacking runs because they were unable to be stopped.

Early in the second half, the fourth goal progresses similarly.

Di Lorenzo, who is unbothered, receives the ball from Napoli after some labour. In order to get the ball over the top of the Liverpool defense, he slid it inside to Anguissa.

When Liverpool’s defense, which was hardly even attempting to play offside in this instance, started to drop, Giovanni Simeone was already on the move. Also noteworthy is Zielinski’s deep run, which the midfield does not follow.

In fact, Liverpool is at the top of the standings for press success rate, which Fberf defines as gaining possession within five seconds of applying pressure.

In response to the loss in Naples, Klopp discussed the necessity to revamp his team. However, do not see him giving up the high line anytime soon. For Klopp, the advantages are obvious when things go smoothly.

However, Liverpool is extremely exposed when there is no protection and defenders commit the most elementary mistakes.

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