How Cover Shadows And Stretching Back Lines Will Beat Newcastle

Newcastle is up next for the Reds, and we face them at home. We currently sit at 3rd, two points behind United and two in front of Tottenham. Like I have been saying, the race for the top four is extremely tight, so every game from here on out counts. The last time we played Newcastle we drew them 1-1, and our scorer was someone that is not even on the team anymore (Coutinho). Nevertheless, we have been excellent lately, and Newcastle are only two points above the drop zone. Out for us is Bogdan, Ings, and Wijnaldum.

I believe that Newcastle will play the same way they played Manchester City in St. James Park earlier this season. Sit deep and rely on counters. They may rarely get any opportunities, but they may take advantage of them.

For us I would put out Karius; Robertson, VVD, Matip, Gomez; Can, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; and of course Mane, Firmino, and Salah.

Defensively I think it is reasonable to press high. Benitez might not trust his team to enough to play the ball out of the back. If their own manager does not trust them to play their way out a press, then we should definitely deploy a high press attitude. I think the simple tactic of forcing them to the outside channels through cover shadows will be the way to go defensively. We start by defending the middle three channels (middle, and the two half-spaces) and leave the outside channels open. We allow them to roam that area then violently press and cover shadow any pass inwards. Our high press in these areas should win the ball back.

On the attack, I think we can afford to bring numbers up. We can place our wingers in narrow positions (Mane and Salah) to combine down the middle with Firmino. If that does not work we can then utilize our fullbacks out wide to stretch out the Newcastle back line. When we stretch the back line, we create more room in the middle. For who? For our most dangerous attackers. Essentially we create a pick your own poison scenario for Newcastle, and our quality should be enough to overmatch them in that department. Henderson can sit rather deep and supply long balls to our forwards, and Can and Alex will have room to maneuver forward. Henderson should have time and space to unlock the Newcastle defense because we can anticipate them dropping deep.

If I had to predict a result, I would say 3-1 for us. I think our confidence and good form will carry us a long way.