UCL Special, Part 2: Liverpool v Midtjylland.

Welcome to live analysis of Liverpool’s visit to FC Midtjylland.

Liverpool KO as usual – back to deep RCB, diagonal ball across to the left where they look to achieve a positive transition. Unsuccessful on this occasion, though.

1-0 Liverpool. The Reds loose the ball sloppily, but the counterpress is excellent – led by Minamino in this instance. Forced sideways then backwards, Midtylland make the mistake, where the central Salah is lurking off the centre-back’s back shoulder to pounce on the ball and drive towards goal. Playing square then straight backwards is never advisable, especially not against a team like Liverpool, who can continue their press without changing direction.

LFC, as usual, pressing high in their 1-4-3-3 shape. Midtylland play out from that first goal kick with a single CDM, looking to play to the wing before playing inside to midfield, creating a third-man scenario. They use it to advance and win a corner. Will be interesting to see if they continue with this tactic.

Good early signs from Clarkson, who receives short from Alexander-Arnold, triggering an inward run forward from left-winger Jota. Clarkson’s diagonal switch is a good one, but Jota fails to control it.

Midtjylland are known for being strong on set-pieces and just had their first attacking throw-in. They looked for a near post flick-on towards the far post – which they had overloaded – but the flick-on was weak and Liverpool cleared with ease.

Alexander-Arnold happy to receive deep, with Minamino and Salah rotating in front of him. Either Salah stays touchline wide with Minamino in the right half-space, or Salah moves diagonally inside and Minamino pulls wide to maintain width. Minamino then has the responsibility of pressing on transition, which he is still doing quite well up to this point.

Midtjylland trying to defend Minamino and Keita whilst allowing Clarkson to be the free midfielder, but the youngster is exploiting the time he is being allowed well, still looking to play direct to attacking runners where possible. Midtjylland struggling to keep up with Jota moving in from the left.

HT – 1-0 Liverpool. Midtjylland lack the dynamism to build periods of pressure against Liverpool, who have been able to negotiate that half in first gear.

Clarkson has done well on his debut, moving deep to become a false full-back when appropriate if Alexander-Arnold has been caught higher and wider, ensuring safe progression of the ball into midfield with Salah able to go narrow in support of Origi. Jota is a constant option with out-to-in runs, but he is not having his best night. Minamino’s pressing has been good to cover for Salah on transition, which is nice to see.

Minamino now LCM with Keita RCM.

VAR has swung this match, before a raft of substitutions took all momentum out of the game. 1-1 was a fair result in the end, even though it was reached in bizarre circumstances.

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