Liverpool’s high defensive line was again making the headlines following their 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Monday night.
It was a game that Jurgen Klopp’s men dominated for the most part. However, with the scoreline finely poised at 2-1, Arsenal had a chance to level in the second half through Alexandre Lacazette.
The chance developed as a result of the Frenchman beating Liverpool’s offside trap - with a second similar opportunity developing which might have been ruled out for offside by VAR had it been converted.
It’s not the first time that the aggressive high line has been analysed, nor will it be the last, but it does seem as though a prevalent take is that Liverpool are mimicking Bayern Munich’s set up, the one that rose to prominence during their Champions League success last month.
While it can look risky for Liverpool - on the surface at least - the question is, why do they do it?
Well, due to their domineering style, many teams opt to retreat into their own defensive half and sit in low block formations.
Klopp’s men take advantage of this by pushing their defence further up the pitch towards the halfway line with the aim of pinning the opposition inside their own half.
When the ball is lost, we know Liverpool counter-press, and are very good at it.
Therefore, with Liverpool’s defensive line so high, opposition teams have very little space to try and play their way out and build an attack.
As a result, they will likely be forced to play a long ball forward and over the top of the defensive line.
Liverpool’s pace in defence means that they should match most forwards in a leg race, whilst the linesperson or VAR will catch any attackers straying offside.
Notably last season, Liverpool were awarded roughly 141 free kicks for offsides.
This was 52 more than Bayern, the team Klopp is meant to be replicating, and 42 more than any other Premier League side.
Therefore, while the set up can on occasions give Liverpool fans a scare, the graphic above captures just how effective it tends to be.
Even with what seems to be ‘delayed flagging’ for offsides this season, and by this we mean the linesperson letting the play run in order to wait and see if a goal is scored, Liverpool are still on course to hit roughly 139 offsides ‘for’ based on the games so far.
What is it?
Analytic5 is a five-step weekly breakdown of a variety of different subjects ranging from exciting teams, outstanding players and emerging tactical trends from across the world of football.
By signing up, you will receive the once-daily email straight into your inbox, both for free and advertisement free.
How do you sign up?
It's really easy and only takes a few seconds.
Simply click this link, we don't need your name or any contact details, just pop your email in the white field and hit submit, that's it.
If you wish to unsubscribe at any point, you can just by using one of the links in the newsletter - however we don't think you will want too.
For more details, click here.
As Klopp admitted in his interview after the Arsenal match, opponents may be bestowed the occasional chance on goal playing this way.
But the all-round dominance of the set up means that it's unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon.