Football News

Benfica B’s role in Liverpool’s UCL win over Spurs has been revealed

By Chris Smith

Published: 15:43, 5 June 2019

Benfica B were asked by Liverpool to mirror Tottenham Hotspurs’ tactics during the Reds’ preparations for the Champions League final last week.

Jurgen Klopp’s men spent a week in Marbella to prepare for the final, in which they triumphed 2-0 thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi.

Benfica B’s Champions League role: Five key things to know…

  1. Liverpool beat Spurs 2-0 in last week’s Champions League final.
  2. Jurgen Klopp’s men spent a week in Marbella during the build-up.
  3. While there, the Reds invited Benfica’s B team to help with their preparations.
  4. Klopp asked Renato Paiva‘s side to mirror the tactics used by Pochettino’s Spurs side.
  5. Paiva has claimed his players were able to cope with the Liverpool tactics that Klopp used against Man City.

But not only was the trip spent building up Liverpool’s fitness levels and helping them acclimatise to the Spanish heat, it was also used to get a tactical edge over Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Benfica B manager Renato Paiva has revealed how his side were invited to join Liverpool at their training camp to mirror Spurs’ tactical approach.

“We recreated two of their offensive and two of their defensive moments, as well as the set-pieces we thought they’d use in the final,” Paiva told Portuguese outlet A Bola, translated Tiago Estevao.

“We replicated their centre-back and goalkeeper build-up routines, their 4-2-3-1 defensive shape with the striker cutting between opposition centre-backs and the 10 obstructing Liverpool’s 6. Vinicius mimicked Eriksen, Bernardo acted more like Alli and Jose Gomes was Kane.

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“We had to adapt to that 4-2-3-1 shape, both defensively and in possession, with two midfielders dropping close to the centre-backs during build-up to try and attract Liverpool’s press.

“Tottenham would ideally want to attract Liverpool players closer to their box, so after a couple of passes between centre-backs and goalkeeper they can then attack the space in behind with their forwards and full-backs.

“We ended up just making slight tweaks to our regular system. A midfield triangle with Alli moving closer to the opposition centre-back (with Kane next to the other), Eriksen moving inwards to draw the full-back in while Trippier covers the wide space. Much like with Son and Rose on the left.

“Klopp complimented us – ‘When you dropped your centre-backs to build-up we immediately set up the same press we used against Manchester City and you still managed to surpass it three or four times!’”

Klopp responds to Beckenbauer’s Bayern calls

Following Klopp’s first-ever Champions League triumph – Liverpool’s first major honour since 2012 – Germany and Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer called upon him to return to his homeland to take charge of the Bavarians.

“I wish for nothing more than that one day he will come to Bayern,” Beckenbauer said.

“For me, he is one of the world’s best coaches. What he started in Dortmund, he has refined with Liverpool.”

But Klopp has no intention of taking the reins at Bayern, reminding Beckenbauer of his contract at Liverpool, which runs until 2022.

“I like Franz — and he likes me. But I have a long-term contract at Liverpool,” Klopp said.

“I would rather he said that than him saying and thinking that I cannot be Bayern manager.

“However, both Bayern and Borussia Dortmund have very good coaches. And what could be in five years or more, I do not know.

“Maybe there will be completely different coaches that qualify.”

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