The months of May and June are always good to look back on from a footballing standpoint; the two months are filled with Champions League memories, especially for Liverpool. Since today is the first anniversary of their sixth Champions League win, let us reminisce and take a look back at their unique preparation.
The Unique Preparation That Took Liverpool to Six Champions League Trophies
Leading Up to the Final
To set the scene, Liverpool had just come off the back of a 97 point Premier League season as runners up. A 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers simply wasn’t enough for Premier League glory, as Manchester City took the crown for a second year running. But Liverpool’s season, unlike the Premier League, wasn’t over yet. They still had the chance to end on a high and prepare for the biggest game yet under Jurgen Klopp. The Reds were given almost three weeks to prepare for the game in Madrid; three weeks without competitive football and three weeks without the chance to keep up the intensity.
It was clear from the off that form wasn’t going to play a factor in the final. Both Liverpool and Tottenham went into the game off the back of a mini pre-season without the chance to gain match sharpness. This made tactical preparation the key to their success. The team that stayed the sharpest, fittest and most tactically astute during the three-week break stood the best chancing of lifting the Champions League trophy. And, when looking back at Liverpool’s preparation, it is clear that they were the team most ready to lift the famous European Cup.
An Act of Genius in Marbella
Jurgen Klopp and his team traveled to what has become a second home for the Liverpool squad in Marbella. There they adapted to the heat and got ready for the biggest night in the Jurgen Klopp era. And, it was in Marbella that the Liverpool staff produced an act of genius to get the squad ready to Spurs. Jurgen Klopp and his staff asked Benfica B for a friendly behind closed doors. The Benfica manager, Renato Paiva, was asked to mirror the Spurs set up and the tactics of Mauricio Pochettino’s side. Suddenly, in an act of genius, Liverpool were getting a warm-up game against the sub-par version of the team they were set to face in Madrid.
Paiva was told to recreate Spurs’ offensive and defensive moments as well as their set-piece routines, shape on and off the ball, and goal kick routines. Liverpool went onto win the game by what seems an ironic scoreline now months later of 2-0; the exact scoreline of the final itself. Footage has since been released from the start of the game compared to the final itself. In that footage, Liverpool can be seen using the same kick-off method that was used in the build-up to the early penalty in Madrid. See the footage here.
The fact is, Liverpool’s in-depth coaching and preparation had a huge factor in what was a historic victory one year ago today.
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