The Champions League final last season is not something that Spurs fans will remember too fondly.
After the huge effort to get to Madrid by beating the likes of Manchester City and Ajax, the performance at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium left a lot to be desired.
After going 1-0 up early on in the game through a controversial penalty, Liverpool sat back and soaked up the pressure from the North Londoners.
Despite dominating proceedings, Mauricio Pochettino’s men were unable to break through and the Reds eventually finished them off with a sucker punch late in the game.
Liverpool’s approach to the game was certainly different to how they usually play and it turns out that this was no accident.
Jurgen Klopp asked the Benfica B team to mirror Tottenham’s tactics in the training camp leading up to the final, according to manager Renato Paiva.
As quoted by the Express, the Benfica B manager said: “We recreated two of their (Tottenham’s) offensive and two of their defensive moments, as well as the set-pieces we thought they’d use in the final.
“We replicated their centre-back and goalkeeper buildup, their 4-2-3-1 defensive shape with the striker cutting between opposition centre-backs and the No. 10 obstructing Liverpool’s No. 6.
“Vinicius mimicked Eriksen, Bernardo acted more like Alli and Jose Gomes was Kane.
“We had to adapt to that 4-2-3-1 shape, both defensively and in possession, with two midfielders dropping closer to the centre-backs during buildup 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 buildup we immediately set up the same press we used against Manchester City and you still managed to surpass it three or four times!’.”
Pavia also explained how the Reds were extra careful in ensuring there were no leaks regarding their preparation.
He added: “They couldn’t pick an English team due to information leaks, they couldn’t pick a Spanish team because Poch spent a lot of years in Spain, they couldn’t pick a French team because Lloris is France’s goalkeeper.
“So they had to go with a Portuguese team.”
Spurs Web Opinion
This is tremendous attention to detail on Klopp’s part and shows that Liverpool’s decision to sit back in the final and let us have the ball was deliberate. I still felt we had enough of the game to fashion better chances than we did. However, it could be argued that Klopp tactically outdid Pochettino in Madrid.
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