Liverpool vs Newcastle United – Tactical Analysis: Were Liverpool Lucky To Get The Three Points?

Liverpool vs Newcastle United – Tactical Analysis: Were Liverpool Lucky To Get The Three Points?

  • Tactics
  • September 2, 2022
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After the 9-0 thumping of Bournemouth, Liverpool’s next opponents were Eddie Howe’s unbeaten Newcastle side. New signing Alexander Isak made his full debut and scored the game’s opening goal as the away side went into halftime with a one-goal advantage.

Liverpool, in the second half, raised their intensity, and Newcastle struggled considerably as Anfield witnessed yet another epic finale. With half an hour to play, Firmino equalized before youngster Fabio Carvalho’s volley struck the inside of the bar and went in the net in the 98th minute.

There was massive controversy with the final whistle blown three minutes after stoppage time, but the justification for that was Nick Pope’s time wasting when he went down in extra time.

What Was Eddie Howe’s Plan?

Eddie Howe’s side almost got the solid result that they deserved after that performance at Anfield. His tactics in and out of possession worked well throughout the game, especially in the first half when they were by far better than the Reds.

Newcastle United’s defensive shape against Liverpool.

The defensive plan from Newcastle was quite similar to Manchester United’s plan against Liverpool in their win at Old Trafford. In that game, one major issue for Liverpool was the lack of combination play between their front three.

Over the years, the link-up play of Liverpool’s attack has been excellent, and every time a team successfully stops it, they usually get a result against the Reds.

Eddie Howe’s strategy was also based on the same idea. By deploying a medium block, Newcastle denied any sort of space in between the lines, which is an area of threat given the presence of Firmino as Liverpool’s false nine.

As you can see in the image above, both of Liverpool’s wingers were isolated and tightly marked, especially Salah, who was doubled up on the right side. Firmino had to drop deeper to provide verticality but was struggling to be effective in ah

Newcastle United’s Attacking Strategy

Just like the defensive plan, the attacking strategy was also inspired by Manchester United’s tactics against Liverpool. Also, this is nothing new as Newcastle also targeted Liverpool’s right side of the defence.

Newcastle targetting Liverpool’s weakness on the right side, where Trent and Gomez have been struggling this season. [Picture Credit – Sofascore]

This picture from Sofascore represents Newcastle United’s plan against Liverpool. The away side had a goal disallowed in the second half, which was beautifully taken by Isak. However, the Swedish international was marginally offside as the flag went up right after the ball was over the line.

Isak’s disallowed goal was another example of Liverpool’s struggles down the right side with the absence of Konate and Matip behind Trent.

Newcastle United’s players’ average position against Liverpool. [Picture Credit – Sofascore]

The above image depicts the average positions of the Newcastle players at Anfield. Ryan Fraser was a few yards higher than Almiron on the other side. Throughout the game, Isak was looking for the slightest of opportunities to hurt Liverpool’s backline, particularly Gomez.

Also, this picture signifies how little space they afforded in between their midfield and defence to nullify Firmino’s threat in particular.

Eddie Howe Was Proud Of His Players

In his post-match interview, Howe said, “That’s the pain of football. That’s the horrible side of it when your team has given everything. It is a sickener for us but it is part of the game.”

“We just didn’t deal with the corner. I thought we played well in the first half.”

“The performance and the commitment of the players was second to none. I think we are getting closer, but you need points.”

“I am really proud of the players, and proud of the commitment, but that is very painful.”

“When you are in the lead here, naturally, it becomes a different game. You have to defend very well, I don’t think they had many clear-cut chances, but that last-minute goal was a heartbreaker.”

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