Michael Owen believes Liverpool have ‘mastered’ a style of defence like no one else has. The former striker is in awe of his old side.
Liverpool won 1-0 against Newcastle United on Saturday in a supreme display of defence. The Reds actually struggled in front of goal, spurning several fantastic chances to put the game to bed.
As it was, Naby Keita’s first-half finish was the decisive moment. Liverpool relied on their ability to defend beyond that – and it paid off.
Newcastle had very few chances here and essentially zero that you’d call a good opportunity. Liverpool simply suffocated them with a high line and a strong press – Eddie Howe’s side simply couldn’t find a way through.
It is, of course, a very risky style of play from Liverpool. The right pass from anywhere on the pitch can put an opponent clean through on goal in an ocean of space. The Reds back their press to limit those passes, however, and their offside trap to catch out anything that gets through.
The watching Michael Owen was in awe of it on Saturday as Liverpool kept another clean-sheet with their style of defending.
Michael Owen hails Liverpool’s defence
“Yes there’s a little bit of risk in it but that takes an awful lot of work,” he told Premier League Productions. “To have everybody on the same page and an awful lot of courage as well, because one mistake and it’s a one-on-one.
“And then, of course, you’ve got Alisson who sweeps up brilliant as well. It’s a very unique style and a very unique way of playing but wow, have they mastered it.”
We think ‘mastered’ is the right word here, rather than unique. Just about every top side tries to make a high line work but Liverpool are the team who’ve perfected it. As Owen says, there are a few factors for that.
Discipline and organisation plays the biggest role and Alisson certainly makes like easier by sweeping up passes over the top. We can’t stress how much pressing plays a role, too, in preventing players from getting their heads up and picking out runners in behind.
Liverpool are a beautifully oiled machine, defending as a team and clicking together in all the right aways.