Liverpool’s right – wing dominance is crucial for Atletico to win

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From Barack Obama to Bart Simpson, the list of notable left-handers will fill BuzzFeed articles until the Internet floods out. Still, Liverpool have leaned on their right side throughout their unbeaten start to the campaign.

With a pair of Trent Alexander-Arnold assists at the helm from right-back, Liverpool cruised past ten-man Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night to secure qualification for the Champions League knockout stages to reach a club record for the 25th game in a row without a loss.

Diogo Jota goes home from close range ⚽️

That ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold was something else! ??

Liverpool lead Atletico at Anfield! pic.twitter.com/UkOAMZFgzG

– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 3, 2021

When Mohamed Salah rolled the ball to an overlapping Jordan Henderson, three blue jerseys were lured into the upper right corner of the pitch as – * Google’s collective noun * – a moth eclipse against a flame.

Alexander-Arnold swung his head between the box and the ball that now got in his way and hit a post in the penalty area that bounced enticingly out of all Atletico players’ distance, but perfectly on the head of Diogo Jota to nod Liverpool into a 13th place. -minutes lead.

An evening that ended in practice as a contest with a controversial red card for Atletico’s midfielder Felipe within the last ten minutes of the first half, almost half of Liverpool’s attacks flowed down to their dominant right wing (49% per WhoScored).

Although this tactic was particularly suited to Atletico – who lined up Yannick Carrisco, a talented striker but unnatural defender, on the left wingback – Liverpool have been in the habit of favoring their right-back. No team in the Premier League leads most of their attacks down to the right than Liverpool this season – downloading their stronger side 42% of the time. Excitingly, this represents a significant change in strategy compared to last season – when they were ranked 12th in the division with an even distribution on each side.

Jurgen Klopp marked his 50th Champions League match as Liverpool coach with a win / Quality Sport Images / GettyImages

Jurgen Klopp highlighted this tactical development as part of his team’s continued development to an even more lethal attacking strength this season in September: “[We] developed every year. One thing you saw now [is] a really flexible triangle on the right side again, I would say ”, quoted by Liverpool’s official website.

“It was so flexible that Mo Salah finally had to defend the right back position! Because Trent was in the box and Hendo was in the middle of the park or whatever.”

Assistant coach Pep Lijnders repeated his manager’s analysis: “The team and especially our right side connect really well and it helps when it comes to finding good positions”, as he described for The Athletic earlier this season.

“This calm in our positional game is so important for our third to be unpredictable.”

Of course, Salah’s outrageous scoring performances have come under the spotlight recently, but on a rare occasion when his name was not scrawled over the scoring record, his supporting role with Henderson and Alexander-Arnold came to the fore against Atletico.

After regaining order and consulting his linesman, the referee called Henderson’s Sadio Mane to one side and produced a red card for the player. Liverpool’s captain shoveled possession of Alexander-Arnold who pillaged a pass back into Manes ‘way to double the hosts’ lead in the 21st minute, while still resisting a full compliment from Atletico.

Most assists in all competitions from a Premier League player since the start of the 2018-19 season:

5️⃣1️⃣: Kevin De Bruyne4️⃣4️⃣: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Not bad for a fullback! ? #UCL pic.twitter.com/n13BVwhvE5

– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 3, 2021

Liverpool’s playing full-back has unbelievably improved his already supernatural creative figures this semester – almost doubling his expected assist (xA) compared to last season, not least due to the extra freedom this tactical adjustment has given him.

“Not because there were really any shackles on, but the shackles have come loose for us,” the 23-year-old told Liverpool’s official website earlier this season.

“It has just flowed for real … There are no real instructions, we understand that there are principles for our game and where we should be when the ball is on the other side and stuff. But when it comes over to us then we have kind of licensed to just enjoy, go and create things, go and attack, go and cause problems for the opposition. “

It is safe to say that Atletico had an abundance of problems by Alexander-Arnold and co (and the officials) on Wednesday night. Imagine what devastation Liverpool could cause if the left wing could match their right.

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