Liverpool assistant manager Peter Krawietz has revealed all on the club’s tactical approach under Jürgen Klopp.
Much was made of the German manager’s style before he arrived in England, with him receiving many plaudits for his ‘geggenpressing’ approach.
It was something he certainly stuck to early on in his Anfield career, with Liverpool showing all the hallmarks of his successful Borussia Dortmund side.
Klopp’s approach has gradually changed over the years, though, with Liverpool adapting so that they are no longer considered a purely pressing side.
While that remains a crucial component of their play, they have adapted, becoming a far more advanced side year by year.
According to Krawietz, their idea is to create a highly organised team that gives players the confidence to shine.
“When a team plays pressing, they systematically try to take time, space and attacking options away from the opponent in possession of the ball,” he told Kicker.
“They will, therefore, try to organise their own defensive behaviour in such a way that the opponent’s attacking play is influenced, controlled and therefore predictable.
“For our own approach, the following applies: if we prepare ourselves for opponents who are in possession of the ball and who are really targeting their game with pass stations, we want to take on this challenge.
“We will try to push as well as possible and defend high. We will try to keep our own level of organisation high enough to develop and recognise self-confidence: so that we can press in the right spaces against any opponent.”
Klopp’s attempts to instil his style of football at Anfield undoubtedly required a considerable overhaul of the playing squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers.
Few of the Northern Irish manager’s signings remain at the club, with most having been replaced by players who fit into Klopp’s system.
Liverpool have spent big over the years to ensure they can get those men and Krawietz admits it does take a certain profile.
“If a coach gears his team to a certain style, he will certainly have to pay attention to a certain requirement profile.
“If, for example, he decides on a high level of attacking pressure, this requires a certain degree of organisation. This is defined by the compactness of your team.
“This means, firstly, that these defenders have to be tactically skilful and courageous and, secondly, that they have to have a certain amount of speed because they naturally give up space.
“So that would be a prerequisite for defenders, and others are the attitude and tenacity of the whole team.”
One of the main criticisms aimed at Klopp’s approach has been the physical and mental toll it can take on his players across the campaign.
Many predicted it would cost him at Liverpool, with the belief they wouldn’t be able to press as much in a more physically demanding competition.
That proved to be the case early on in his reign, with Liverpool often tiring out towards the end of the campaign and Klopp electing to change tact to stop it happening.
Krawietz disagrees with the detractors, though, saying the pressing approach is more demanding mentally than physically.
“I’d like to disagree with that. Basically, it is correct, but in the end, it should not be a question of condition,” he added.
“It should be: how organised am I? With how much willingness do I really want to carry out this approach over 90 minutes? This is also a question of your own assertiveness.
“Now it all comes down to this: how impressed is a team at the moment when this method doesn’t work? Large space for the opponent, he might get a big scoring chance.
“Are you now ready to press as a team, do you stay convinced and draw energy from the moments when your plan is working out?
“There is a high demand on concentration and stamina of the inner attitude, less on the stamina of physical strength.”