Armchair Managers Thread (aka Tactics, Formations and others)

It would be interesting to hear peoples thoughts on where we are going wrong? Is it tactics, is it fatigue, is it players? A thread where we can have an open and honest conversation about all elements of how we are doing…

Note - Caveat we aren’t managers, coaches or anything similar and we only see 1% of what goes on but we can discuss what we see in matches and there is no room in here for the try hard WUMs… There is no disrespect intended but the coaching team and players are always questionable, especially when in a slump.

On the same thought this isn’t about investment or FSG but what we see on the pitch.

I’ll start on why are we starting so slowly?

in 12 out of 15 games we’ve conceeded first. Is it a mental problem? Do we need to be a bit deeper to get control of the game? Do we need to tell Trent to stay deeper and wider? I.e. stop “underlapping”

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  • Too many injuries hitting us at the same time early in the season, especially in midfield.
  • Resulting fatigue and over-reliance on players who can’t fulfil a permanent first-teamer role (on one end of the spectre: Milner; on the other: Carvalho, Elliot).
  • Some tactical tweaks having been implemented by Klopp and co. over the summer which seem to have unsettled our game a bit. But that’s surely due too to some key players being out for a longer time, or being unfit. This will improve over time, but for now, it’s ‘back to basics’ as Klopp says. Defend properly as a unit, and things will improve from there.
  • Finally, the mental aspect of being so good last season and winning ‘only’ two minor trophies last season might have hit some players in terms of mental exhaustion. It’s difficult to say how much that counts for, but it might play a role in why we are starting this season so slowly, and why many of our usually super-reliable players seem off the pace currently.

This thread is going to go swimmingly…

I think the whole set-up is still recovering from the disappointment they must feel from coming so close last season to becoming the best team ever in a single season…
Not seen this mentioned anywhere else… but how must Jurgen be feeling to see his ideas, superhuman efforts, man-management skills and planning fail at the last hurdle in such a cruel way in two of the hardest competitions to win… in any lifetime, not just his or ours.!
When Jurgen gets a grip again soon on the fact he was born for this type of challenge… and the tiredness from it all in his mind and body he must be feeling dissipates, I’m confident the right words will come out of his mouth again to motivate the players and his head will clear for a strategy to kick start this season’s challenge on all fronts…
It is to be remembered… Nothing of note has been won or lost at this moment in time… AND, we are still the only team that can go on to win the quintuple this season :0)

Even though the players have catagorically said this isn’t true? Van Dijk said it just last week.

Some examples of what appears to be Trent given license to roam;

Also taking Salah away from goal and giving the right midfielder and Fabinho far too much to cover. From my perspective this new offensive tactic appears to be the biggest problem for the defence.

Another example;

Our right side is 1 turn over and simple pass straight onto our defenders… It’s suicide football.

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…and I am sure if Virgil was drunk as a skunk at a party, he would tell ya he wasn’t… if asked :0)
I have no doubt most of them feel fine, fit and healthy… The team seems disjointed at the moment and Jurgen and his team can no doubt see this for themselves… Resolving the stuttering start we have had will come hopefully sooner rather than later…
Mental tiredness though is a real tricky one… It is not necessarily motivation that will right this, but more the correct sync between mind and body… Every athlete strives to become the best they can, the only recognition they can hold up for the world to announce this, unfortunately in the footballing world, is medals and cups.
What was it Souness barked at Pogba - put ya medals on the table
No other team in history, and players within that team/squad have ever reached the end of the season with the chance to win every domestic medal and cup that was available to them within a single solitary season… To have done so, would put their names in the history books forever. That is some achievement.
My belief is that the team still have a slight hangover from the bubbling excitement from the end of last season, but if they end up as relegation fodder because of crap tactics all season I guess I got my assumption completely wrong eh :0)

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Sorry what? Don’t you realise that several top, top, top managers post here (although sadly we don’t yet have any SkySports geniuses). And Jurgen himself - although I understand he listened when it was suggested he stop live following (and posting in) the in-match threads as it may tempt him to overreact on the touchline.

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Do you really think the players are really in a good position to identify that or be honest about it?

There has been a lot of focus on our new possession based approach, but pressing is still key in the moments we don’t have it. So much of what is going wrong seems to be about the pressing being way off and you’re always open to being played through when the press goes wrong. Why is it going wrong? I see two issues.

  1. We’re physically not there. Lots of possible explanations, but that is a critical flaw when trying to press. Physical and mental tiredness is not just about the ability to get through 90 mins at high intensity, but shows up more quickly as slow reaction time and a slower first step. This is a critical issue when trying to press.

  2. The players know we’re having trouble and the press isnt working well and we’re hedging, which creates even more problems. We’re seeing some players second guessing if they should be as aggressive as pressing would require them, conscious of it not going well enough ahead of them. That means the press isnt supported and easy to play through, and the team as a whole is still just as easy to cut open as it the entire team fully committed to pressing. That is a cancer for a pressing side, and based on lots of Klopp’s comments this season this is what he seems to see as well.


Tsimikas alluded to last season’s exertions on yesterday’s press conference:

Of course last year was a very difficult year for us, we played so many games. I think at one point that was why we didn’t start so well but I will not find excuses, we have got good players and we have to be focused 100 per cent for every challenge we face. So I think we have to go through it, we have to be all together and from now on, for tomorrow’s game, we have to be again in the winning mood to win the game.

When you see Mac Allister waltz through 4-5 players with ease, it’s hard to argue about the system being the primary problem. The team isn’t right neither mentally nor physically and the ones most affected are those who have been through the wringer the most.

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We’ve been talking about this tweak in this forum since day one of the Prem season. Klopp and his team have doubled down on it. They must be thinking that once it clicks, it will bring long term reward.

Many here would like some pragmatism back, and get string of results together, by going back to basics (like Trent actually getting to the byline to whip in a cross).

A mix of out of form, injuries, exhaustion means that pragmatism is what’s needed for a few games. Take the last game. Opposition seen their two goal lead turned upside down, we are at Anfield, and yet Brighton were the ones at that point looking ominous to score.

In the first 20 mins of that game, we tried too many direct balls from the back. Mix it up a little. Control the game by passing it around when 3-2 up, rather than trying to half arse press high up.

There has been a perfect-storm where we got squeezed on both sides of the summer. We had a historically long and grueling season that was going to take some recovery from, both mentally and physically. Yet we had a shorter summer than ever because of the world cup, and even more compromised because of the stupid fucking summer internationals. If I had to put my money on a cause, I’d say that we showed up for pre-season under recovered and not ready to get the benefits from the work we were put through. Rather than getting us ready for the season, it just kept driving us towards burn out.

I dont buy this as new. Go back to last season and you’ll see loads of comments of the flip flopped positions the players were found in, especially that right side triangle of Trent, Hendo and Mo. Any of those images shown above could be found in games from last season. The issue appears to be the lack of fluidity of it, the lack of rotation of those positions. This is essentially the same thing Klopp has spoken about earlier this season about being happy with the forwards starting position out side but them not taking the right opportunities to come in.


Tactics is our major problem at the moment!

Several of the billy bollocks on here were saying in the summer ‘we don’t need more signings, we’ve only just almost won everything’ and wouldn’t hear that if we actually want to win the biggest trophies more than once we need to turn over players YEAR AFTER YEAR not atrophy and celebrate resigning players as if thats a substitute. The teams that stay on top bring in fresh quality every season that can alter the dynamic and keep players hungry not comfortable. VVD and Trent (amongst others) look like they’ve been comfortable since the first day of preseason. Look at the hunger Dias has provided - imagine another 2 like him every summer - Even Thiago and Mo might seem less content.

Football is hard work; especially when you’re not winning. The players should all be having a shite time, angry and driven not laughing and relaxed in training. I’m sure by now Jurgen knows whether he’ll have to bench and dress down or even ship a few out to reset (ala Sakho) or whether things will be turned around with less drastic measures.

Right, but look at the side we could put out of only players we’ve signed since we won the league

Ramsay, Konate, CB, Tsimikas
Thiago, Elliott, Carvalho
Diaz, Nunes, Jota

That IS bringing in quality every season.

Konate and Diaz = Big signings who have worked
Nunes and Thaigo = Big signings but haven’t fully worked out (yet) or too frequently injured to build around

The rest = youngsters or squad players.

We need(ed) at least another two at the Diaz level.

Yet we’ve still come a whisker away from winning the league and the Champions League again, despite an injury-ravaged season.

We came the closest any English team has ever done to a quadruple, and yet you somehow think it was down to a lack of hunger?

More stereotyping.

There’s so much assuming that one can’t have fun in training if one is working hard.

Whatever psychological/mental issues we are having, I strongly doubt that insufficient motivation is one. In fact, if anything, it’s more over-motivation that’s the issue, making it harder to recover from the burnout.

They’re mentally drained from all the ‘so close to a quad’ shite and they know they missed out on the PL (again) which is gutting and then dropped the CL and so really only won 2 minor prizes which isn’t a great reward for this team.

They needed new blood to refresh - can’t expect the same lads to come back yet again after so many go agains. Also they absolutely would have dropped motivationally which impacts intensity. You just can’t give ‘100%’ all the time and when you are pushed to do so (like in the run-in last season) and it doesn’t work, its very difficult to expect an entire team of athletes to be able to just pick it up again (some individuals might). You can’t drop them all (obviously) but 3 top quality new players coming in with hunger allows Klopp to kick a couple up the backside and drop them so that the rest can realise - even if its hard to go again in the PL after cheaty again - that they will have to raise their game just to stay in the team.

I think that third point also plays into this playing too early into a pre season at too much intensity, I will always believe that games against Palace and Man Utd and such a small pre season hurt us. I think Man City did it right with so few games.

However I think if it had been say Tranmere and Plymouth I do feel we would be slightly better off. Something about mental fatigue kicking in before you are match fit that a sports scientist told me about years ago.

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Or we can just lose a bunch of games and have a ‘crisis’ and eventually the players will work it out themselves. What a waste of a season though and also fucks up momentum for the following season. Seems to be Klopps default but much prefer if we made the signings