In the immediate aftermath of the home defeat to Blackburn Rovers, Ian Holloway was quick to set out his plans for the following week’s game at Anfield – all-out attack. The Seasiders had been criticised in some quarters for the way they approached the away fixtures at Arsenal and Chelsea – Blackpool’s attacking policy was deemed naive rather than brave.
However, with Liverpool at an unprecedented low in recent years, it seemed like there would never be a better time to attack Roy Hodgson’s side. The chalkboard below shows how the opening 20 minutes panned out in terms of the number of passes.
The top chalkboard shows Blackpool’s data, with the lower displaying Liverpool’s passses in the opening 20 minutes.
Amazingly ‘Pool successfully completed more than double the amount of passes than their hosts. What is most evident is the amount of possession Blackpool were allowed in the middle of the pitch and at the back. This shows how Liverpool stood off the Seasiders, allowing Holloway’s men time on the ball and giving the Seasiders the chance to play their natural game.
By controlling the opening exchanges, ‘Pool were able to dictate the match and take the game to the under-pressure home side. Unlike at Chelsea where Kalou’s early goal destroyed Holloway’s gameplan, Liverpool allowed the Seasiders to settle down very quickly, which must have given the team the confidence to go on and put in the performance they managed on the day. In fact, the Blackpool manager may ultimately have been disappointed that the early domination didn’t result in a more convincing half-time lead.
I’ll let it slide this time though, I guess.