Midfield balance key to victory vs. Leicester – Liverpool Tactical Review

26 December 2015

The hard work and balanced partnership of Emre Can and Jordan Henderson was central to Liverpool’s 1-0 win at home to Leicester City.


Liverpool 4-2-3-1 vs. Leicester

With his side the first Premier League outfit to keep Leicester’s dynamic attacking force of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at bay this season, Jurgen Klopp can proud of Liverpool’s win on Saturday.

The Foxes entered the festive period at the top of the table, but this defeat will be a major blow to Claudio Ranieri as his hopes of a top-four finish increase.

Setting his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation at Anfield, Klopp’s tactical work paid off as Liverpool sealed a priceless victory.

Ranieri, deploying his customary 4-4-2, instructed his midfield to operate as a compact, four-man unit, with Mahrez joining Andy King, N’Golo Kante and Marc Albrighton in looking to suffocate Liverpool’s two-man engine of Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.

But while in the early stages this paid off, the excellence of the Liverpool captain and his German team-mate shone through.

Henderson produced a classic captain’s performance on the right-hand side, dictating play when in a deeper position with effortless long-range passes and overlapping to support the Reds’ charge into the final third.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Saturday, December 26, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates the 1-0 victory over Leicester City with captain Jordan Henderson during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This saw the former Sunderland man combine with the marauding Nathaniel Clyne and an increasingly prominent Adam Lallana.

On the other side, Can operated in a slightly more defensive role, countering Alberto Moreno‘s forward movement by dropping back into left-back to keep Mahrez quiet.

Though rather lopsided, this saw Liverpool keep momentum throughout.

Elsewhere, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino impressed in patches, combining in their attacking midfield roles behind first Divock Origi and then Christian Benteke.

Possessing vastly contrasting skill sets, Origi and Benteke were seemingly tasked with performing similar duties.

Origi ran the channels in his 38 minutes on the field, stretching play and latching onto Henderson’s pass, while Benteke did similar—though Liverpool adopted a more direct approach on his arrival.

Benteke provided the finishing touch on 63 minutes, rewarding the Reds’ dominance.

It was the industry and creativity of Can and Henderson, however, that earned Liverpool this victory.

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