Jamie Carragher offers a tactical breakdown of how Xabi Alonso masterminded a convincing 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich to cement Bayer Leverkusen’s place on the Bundesliga summit – and rubberstamp his personal credentials as a future Liverpool supervisor…
There’s an amazing likelihood that Xabi Alonso goes to be the subsequent Liverpool supervisor.
He appears the standout favorite, and while you consider the nice managers and the place they begin, a number of them do one thing fairly outstanding at a barely decrease stage maybe.
Whenever you consider what Jose [Mourinho] did at Porto, successful the Champions League and Jurgen Klopp successful two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund.
What would Liverpool underneath Alonso seem like?
Whenever you take a look at Alonso and what it seems to be like he is about to attain with Bayer Leverkusen, and the outcome they’d on the weekend, it’s insightful to see if he’s within the Premier League subsequent season what’s his means of enjoying and the way he goes about it, and the way it could be completely different to what we’re seeing now with Klopp at Liverpool.
On the weekend, it wasn’t a traditional Bayer Leverkusen efficiency in that they did not dominate possession. They solely had 39 per cent of the ball however they had been improbable defensively.
Compactness key to nullifying Bayern
What I favored about their set-up was how compact they’re. We’re speaking 15 yards from again to entrance. The good groups are defensively compact. We’re usually taking a look at 25 to 30 yards. There’s time on the ball however take a look at how compact they’re.
You even have to have a look at their set-up. Bayer Leverkusen underneath Alonso with out the ball this season have been a again 5. He likes two sitting midfielders, and he likes a entrance three with Florian Wirtz because the false No 9 as he had one striker out injured who’s on the Africa Cup of Nations and Patrik Schick who was on the bench.
The rationale they’re so good defensively and are the perfect within the Bundesliga by a good distance is due to this compactness. The factor that actually stands out for me is though we speak about them as a again 5 defensively, is how shortly they morph right into a again 4 when in possession.
The wing-back position of Grimaldo
Nearly each crew now performs and units up in another way with and with out the ball. The again 5 play a few passes and it turns into a again 4. An enormous cause for that is that they have a wing-back in [Alex] Grimaldo who frequently from his place steps into midfield.
We see that within the Premier League with [Oleksandr] Zinchenko and [Trent] Alexander-Arnold the place full-backs go into midfield, however they play the deeper position. They arrive inside like a sitting midfield participant.
However he is virtually like an attacking midfielder. When Wirtz bursts by way of the center, you’ll be able to see his choices which embody the wing-back. You may see Grimaldo on one aspect and each Amine Adli and Nathan Tella on the opposite making runs. On this instance, Adli ought to have put them 1-0 in entrance, nevertheless it summed the sport up.
Bayern’s response to the next throw-in summed them up. It was terrible. It did not simply occur with the throw-in nevertheless it additionally occurs with the person on the again publish.
Bayer restricted Bayern Munich to 0.56 xG – the bottom they’ve had within the Bundesliga this season. That is one other instance of simply how compact they’re from again to entrance. With the ball on one aspect of the pitch, all 11 gamers weren’t letting Bayern Munich out.
How brief passing entice opponents
They really do get out, however they have to return. They very hardly ever penetrated Leverkusen proper all through the sport. On a number of events, Eric Dier was compelled to play lengthy in direction of the broad areas however an enormous a part of this Xabi Alonso crew are brief passes that entice individuals in.
With two or three, you see the Bayern Munich crew get dragged throughout. It is a large a part of the place the sport goes in trendy soccer. So many groups now make brief passes to entice individuals on to see if they’ll break by way of the strains or if they’ll change play.
On this event, [Piero] Hincapie is the left-sided centre-back who turns into the attacking left-back. The again 5 turns into a again 4 with Grimaldo having moved ahead.
Wirtz because the false No 9
Tella is discovered on the again publish and on the rebound, Wirtz virtually makes it 2-0. I wish to spotlight once more the position of Wirtz. He is a younger man who’s beginning to get into that Germany squad.
He is the aptitude participant and the massive identify of this crew. His position on this sport was to play behind the 2 No 6s for Bayern as Leverkusen usually play with a striker. Eric Dier has gone in tight on him. Once more, it’s about attractive gamers in. It results in Bayer having a two-v-two scenario.
Min-jae Kim and Dayot Upamecano are left uncovered. The ball is labored broad to Grimaldo, who has his left-sided centre-back [Hincapie] now bombing on his outdoors. As a result of he has that choice to his left, Grimaldo could make the run inside.
It is fully completely different to what we see from different full-backs or wing-backs after they go into midfield, and he finishes it off with an amazing end. The third purpose can also be from a wing-back as [Jeremie] Frimpong comes on however that was from a corner-kick the place Manuel Neuer had gone up.
However taking a look at Grimaldo’s stats, you consider Trent Alexander-Arnold. Whenever you take a look at his stats, he is had 10 targets from wing-back and 11 assists. Whenever you speak about spending a number of cash to get the perfect gamers in, Grimaldo has come on a free switch in the summertime. That is fairly particular.
Would Alonso’s model of soccer achieve success at Anfield?
For Bayer Leverkusen to be prime of something is fairly particular. Whenever you consider the squad they have and the cash that is being spent. Whenever you ask if that is the proper match for Liverpool, what stands out for me are the variety of passes and the quantity which can be brief.
To date, 646 of their 683 have been brief. It involves 95 per cent which might be not what Liverpool are proper now underneath Klopp. It is extra paying homage to what we see from a Pep Guardiola crew. It is fascinating after we put that on a scatter graph, and you’ll see Bayer Leverkusen alongside Manchester Metropolis and Paris Saint-Germain [among Europe’s top five leagues].
You may see Liverpool are additional behind. We all know from watching them that they’re a extra direct crew and use counter-attacks extra. From the corporate Leverkusen are retaining, we are able to say that Alonso’s personal affect is extra like Pep Guardiola, which is smart as he is been his supervisor.
But when Xabi Alonso was to change into the Liverpool supervisor, which I believe he’ll, I really feel they’re fairly lucky on condition that Jurgen Klopp has chosen this second to maneuver on. The timing for Alonso to step in is fairly good given the job he is doing.
Would I count on Alonso’s Liverpool to be increased up this scatter graph? Perhaps. However I’d count on someplace within the center – like the place Bayern Munich are on the graph – as he has to have his personal philosophy and his personal imprint.
This crew is so used to enjoying a sure means underneath Jurgen Klopp, there’s the Anfield issue with the gang, the power. Xabi Alonso is aware of that so I’d count on to see a merging of the 2 types if he had been to get the job.
There is no such thing as a doubt that proper now he is trying just like the brightest younger factor as a supervisor.
View from Germany: What makes Alonso so particular?
Sky Germany’s Felix Fischer:
“He does such an amazing job. He isn’t solely a genius tactician and by way of how he prepares his crew, however he’s a gentleman. All the things he does, he does proper.
“After the sport, the followers needed to have fun with him however he spoke together with his assistants and coaches to ensure additionally they joined him within the celebrations. He did not wish to have fun it alone which reveals the respect he has for his whole crew, for the followers and for the complete membership.
“I think about he would be the Liverpool coach sooner or later however Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes mentioned on Sunday that he’s actually certain that Alonso will nonetheless be the coach subsequent season.
“All the highest groups do have a watch on him. The boss of Bayern Munich may have a watch on him for some day, in addition to Actual Madrid. It should be a race for Alonso. I do not assume it’s going to happen in the summertime, however the season after that.”
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