Jurgen Klopp, coach of the Liverpool, said in the preview of the crash that “if you are not brave before the Athletic It ends up biting you ”. But what he failed to see is that if he Athletic He is brave, he also has a talent for making your life bitter. And perhaps that is the best of this rojiblanco team from Simeone, which is a team that is not restricted to the sacred paradigm of style. His style is to win. And in that search it has been mutating in these years, with some common identity signs, but with a tactical and football richness that few teams have. Because you will say what the hell does he have to do with Athletic who won the first Europa League, with that of The league 13/14 and the current one. Simeone recently lamented that it is disrespectful to do an analysis of the Athletic ignoring this evolution and making use of that style that at some point it could have.
A reality that was compressed into an exciting soccer match like the one that took place in the Wanda Metropolitan, with a Athletic who knew how to evolve, reinvent himself and get rid of a fear that could cost him a win. And all this to not only stand up to a whole Liverpool, but even to be better until the referee started Griezmann unfairly. How unfair was the defeat clearly. What things, Klopp, always so ready to complain when he loses to an opponent he considers inferior, he ended up taking the victory that was not won on the field. This time there will be no statements or criticism.
The first phase of the match left the script that was envisaged, the one that short-circuits the conception of football in Klopp in which his team had much more possession, and the Athletic he defended himself with everything. In the tie two years ago, that formula served the rojiblanco team to eliminate what at that time was the perfect European football machine. In the group stage match this year, the formula lasted seven minutes. At a quarter of an hour, the Liverpool He had 80% possession and came out like the devil’s soul every time he stole the ball.
It was the idea that the Athletic, protect yourself, get out fast and move the ball with enough speed so that the pressure of the Klopp was not so effective. As a strategy ‘a priori’ it was very good, but on the pitch there was nothing that had been prepared.
Seven minutes were what Salah It took him a while to recover a ball that was going nowhere, opening towards the center to take off first Carrasco, then Lemar and finally to Koke, paste it flat so that Milner deviate just enough to beat Oblak. It is what it has to have clearly offensive players like the Belgian playing lane, or that another talented player like Lemar be the one who has to help in those tasks. That drawing gives you a lot in attack but you also have to be aware that it takes it away in defense.
The English roller was still merciless, with the Athletic scared and crouched in his goal. And in those circumstances, nothing could happen but what would end up happening a few minutes later. A bad clearance of Philip turned into a volley of Keita from outside the sneaking area. I did not go a quarter of an hour and the matter pointed to a landslide
In the end it was the best thing that could happen to the team of Simeone. Because if it is indeed a team full of talent, it is better to use it. It was the key moment of the game. If he Athletic he did not change he was doomed to be a mere victim. The rojiblancos players understood this, they took a step forward, began to have more the ball and began to approach the goal of Alisson through the Joao Felix, Koke, Lemar, From Paul, etc.
And the result of this would come 1-2 after a shot from Koke inside the area it touched Griezmann and above all a later great opportunity in which From Paul He put a 30-meter ball to leave the French alone in a heads-up with the visiting goal. There, the Brazilian won the game but the play made it clear why Simeone bet on the Argentine in the middle. It took him five seconds to steal the ball from Mané and put together a pass that was half a goal.
And the rojiblanco team insisted and insisted until shortly after, Joao Felix dribbled with four players from Liverpool accompanying him hypnotized to find a pass to Griezmann, who oriented the pass to get into the area and cross for the 2-2. The Athletic overwhelmed, timorous and fragile in the first 20 minutes, he had become a self-confident team, surgical in its actions, which now did perfectly interpret the plan outlined. Now he did protect himself with sense and came out with danger.
Lemar had a great chance in another heads-up, after a spectacular filtered pass; Joao crossed another shot that Alisson pulled out as he could. The Portuguese had planted himself in the area after a 30-meter pass again from From Paul. The ‘Menino‘, Lemar or Griezmann gave the impression of being the reincarnation of footballers like those of the 90s who were active in Italy, in the ‘top’ teams of the A series, to whom three passes were enough to score a goal in the opposite field and to make good all the defensive work that his teammates had carried out. Incredible that the final balance of that first part so crazy left a Athletic with more and better chances than a rival who had passed him in the first 20 minutes.
THE BEAUTY OF CHAOS
The second half left a second act in which chaos broke out. Before the referee Griezmann, Carrasco had had in his boots the 3-2 behind a beautiful wall with From Paul. But the party exploded in the air with the red to the French. With the Athletic better than his rival, the Frenchman went to control an aerial ball without seeing that Firmino I was going with my head for him. His foot contacted the head and everyone thought it was going to be yellow. But the german Siebert, squared like few others, he did not see it that way. The law may say that a kick to the head is red, but there is an issue, the spirit of the rule, that precisely prevents those laws from becoming, as in this case, unjust. Because if Griezmann He was not even looking at the player, he was looking at the ball, and he did not kick him but rather raised his foot and contacted his opponent without wanting to hurt. What is the point of the referee making that decision?
In numerical inferiority the party changed, the Athletic he protected himself and the Liverpool He was not able to assert himself. Until the rojiblanco team itself committed suicide with a penalty of Handsome absurd to infinity. A long rained ball for Jot, without danger, in which the rojiblanco central went to the clash and threw the Portuguese. Salah transformed it and the game ended at that moment, before a Liverpool calculator and a Athletic be unable. Nor the penalty to Gimenez reviewed by the VAR, that under the constrained prism of the referee could well have also been a maximum penalty following his …