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Can Newcastle find a way to combat a relentless Liverpool?


The fixture ahead for Newcastle is their biggest challenge to date. But the question is, is can Steve Bruce not only motivate his players to believe that this match is winnable? but also put on a tactical performance similar to what we saw against Spurs?

The formula was all down to the organisation of Newcastle, the concentration had to be high and the players needed to be patient against a Spurs side that enjoyed 81% possession.

This strategy paid off for Steve Bruce as Spurs’ eagerness left them exposed in the defence.

 

Leading up to Newcastle's goal, Spurs' left a wide gap of around 5+ yards between Rose and Sanchez, this allowed Joelinton to stand unmarked in between the two defenders.

 

With it seeming almost certain that Liverpool will keep Newcastle pinned back, Newcastle will need to find a way to combat Liverpool's relentless pressure.

1: Pressing Liverpool's wide-men in pairs: A tactic that could come with a risk of opening space for Liverpool players to exploit should the initial press fail. But, if done well, it can force Salah and Mane to make quick decisions which could lead to mistakes.

 

2. Pressing Liverpool's backline & Goalkeeper: With Alisson still injured, Liverpool are forced to use Adrian who is a solid shot-stopper but lacks composure when the ball is passed from defender to goalkeeper and he has often panicked when oppositions are pressing. Closing down Adrian's time to think has forced errors that have lead to goals for the opposition. For Newcastle who won't be playing football with much possession, having a strategy that gives Liverpool no other option but to pass back to Adrian could see Newcastle getting a goal from it.

 

3. Play with the low block: A game plan that is commonly described as negative, there is still skill when it comes to implementing the low block.

Around 75% of goals are scored from shots within the penalty box, which means the main focus of defending should be to prevent the opposition’s players from receiving the ball within the penalty area. This means that teams will allow the opposition space in the wide areas and restrict space in the central areas.

Managers such as Jurgen Klopp who instruct their players to win the ball in high areas of the pitch in order to prevent the opposition from getting close to their goal. But managers who implement the low block are attempting to ensure they have a defensive overload in the key areas of the pitch.

The low block was successful against Spurs, they had all the time with the ball that they could ask for but could not find a way past Newcastle's low block.

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