Liverpool have won their first league title for 30 years with a record-breaking seven games to spare. But what makes this team so special? Former Red Stephen Warnock explains all to Sky Sports News….
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Trent and Robbo
They are both incredible players. When you think about having Trent Alexander-Arnold on one side and Andrew Robertson on the other – they are integral to everything that Liverpool do.
The forward players allow for the full-backs to get forward, they give them space in the wide areas.
The delivery of both full-backs is just sensational, we know that.
But the intelligence of the forward players, just to stay narrow, allows the full-backs to come forward.
You have to have the quality at the end of it and Robertson and Alexander-Arnold have got that.
The positioning they take up – so high up the pitch, so brave – it again comes from the understanding behind that. The press is going to be fine and it will allow them to be high up the pitch.
And the transition periods that they have and the speed at which they recover is phenomenal.
We see Trent Alexander-Arnold higher up the pitch than Mohamed Salah and you think, ‘Why is the right-back ahead of the right winger? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?’ But such is the belief and the anticipation of where the ball is going to fall and the confidence of Alexander-Arnold. It is incredible.
Defending from the front and VVD
When I’m talking about the defence a lot of what I’m talking about is the forward players.
To have these three guys in front of you – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – the way they press, it is just phenomenal.
They set a trap every time to set the press off. Everyone in and around and behind follows suit.
It’s how quickly they can close the spaces for the defenders on the ball in their own half. They don’t allow the person receiving the ball time on the ball to get their head up, have a look and think, ‘Where is my next pass?’
When you watch Liverpool every recovery run, every closing down is a sprint. It’s maximum effort but it allows them to then be calm in possession.
And Virgil van Dijk has just been outstanding – the best signing Liverpool have had.
Arguably for me, he is the biggest key component in Liverpool’s team. He’s a very clever player.
Roberto Firmino is all about picking up the ball and dropping off with it, which allows the forwards – Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane – to find themselves in between the full-backs and centre backs.
That then brings the back four closer together, which allows Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander Arnold the space out wide.
Firmino causes so many problems in that hole. But what I love about this is how interchangeable they are. Mohamed Salah can drop into that hole, allowing Firmino to take up a higher role.
These are the things that great players can achieve. They find themselves in these positions and they have a really great understanding.
You also see the midfielder staying up to add another player to the attack when they see Firmino dropping off and then returning back into the midfield as the ball and Firmino progress forward.
It’s so fluid the way it works and it is just brilliant to watch.
FSG and Klopp
Growing up as a fan it is everything to see your team lift a trophy. It’s a little bit different when you are in the industry – you have to take a step back from that.
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