Jamie Carragher gives 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 ideal likelihood that Xabi Alonso goes to be the subsequent Liverpool supervisor.
He appears the standout favorite, and while you consider the good managers and the place they begin, numerous them do one thing fairly exceptional at a barely decrease degree maybe.
Once you consider what Jose [Mourinho] did at Porto, profitable the Champions League and Jurgen Klopp profitable two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund.
What would Liverpool beneath Alonso appear to be?
Once you have a look at Alonso and what it seems like he is about to attain with Bayer Leverkusen, and the end result 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 is likely to be completely different to what we’re seeing now with Klopp at Liverpool.
On the weekend, it wasn’t a standard Bayer Leverkusen efficiency in that they did not dominate possession. They solely had 39 per cent of the ball however they have been improbable defensively.
Compactness key to nullifying Bayern
What I preferred 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 25 to 30 yards. There’s time on the ball however have a look at how compact they’re.
You even have to have a look at their set-up. Bayer Leverkusen beneath 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 great distance is due to this compactness. The factor that actually stands out for me is regardless that 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 group now performs and units up otherwise with and with out the ball. The again 5 play a few passes and it turns into a again 4. An enormous purpose 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 nearly like an attacking midfielder. When Wirtz bursts via the center, you’ll be able to see his choices which embrace the wing-back. You may see Grimaldo on one facet 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, however it summed the sport up.
Bayern’s response to the following throw-in summed them up. It was terrible. It did not simply occur with the throw-in however it additionally occurs with the person on the again put up.
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 facet of the pitch, all 11 gamers weren’t letting Bayern Munich out.
How quick 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 pressured to play lengthy in direction of the huge areas however a giant a part of this Xabi Alonso group are quick passes that entice folks in.
With two or three, you see the Bayern Munich group get dragged throughout. It is a massive a part of the place the sport goes in fashionable soccer. So many groups now make quick passes to entice folks on to see if they’ll break via the traces 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 put up and on the rebound, Wirtz nearly makes it 2-0. I need 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 title of this group. His position on this recreation 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 engaging gamers in. It results in Bayer having a two-v-two state of affairs.
Min-jae Kim and Dayot Upamecano are left uncovered. The ball is labored huge 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 utterly 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 ideal end. The third aim can 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 Grimaldo’s stats, you consider Trent Alexander-Arnold. Once you have a look at his stats, he is had 10 objectives from wing-back and 11 assists. Once you speak about spending numerous 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 high of something is fairly particular. Once you consider the squad they have and the cash that is being spent. Once 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 quick.
To date, 646 of their 683 have been quick. It involves 95 per cent which might be not what Liverpool are proper now beneath Klopp. It is extra harking back to what we see from a Pep Guardiola group. It is attention-grabbing 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 group and use counter-attacks extra. From the corporate Leverkusen are protecting, we will 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 turn out to be the Liverpool supervisor, which I feel he’ll, I really feel they’re fairly lucky provided 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 group is so used to enjoying a sure means beneath 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 have been to get the job.
There isn’t 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 incredible job. He’s not solely a genius tactician and by way of how he prepares his group, 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 along with his assistants and coaches to ensure additionally they joined him within the celebrations. He did not need to have fun it alone which exhibits the respect he has for his complete group, for the followers and for your complete membership.
“I think about he would be the Liverpool coach someday however Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes stated on Sunday that he’s actually certain that Alonso will nonetheless be the coach subsequent season.
“All the highest groups do have an eye fixed on him. The boss of Bayern Munich may have an eye fixed on him for some day, in addition to Actual Madrid. It should be a race for Alonso. I do not suppose it’s going to happen in the summertime, however the season after that.”
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