Jurgen Klopp Used Friendly Game With Benfica B To Prepare For Champions League Final
Liverpool played a friendly game against Benfica's B side in preparation for the Champions League final in what proved to be an extremely shrewd decision from Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp took his Liverpool squad to Marbella for a warm-weather training camp prior to their second consecutive European final and after struggling to find an opponent, ended up getting Benfica's reserves to fill in.
But the game was not merely played for fitness reasons. Klopp and his assistant Pepijn Lijnders uncovered a whole lot of similarities between the set-ups of Benfica B and Tottenham and used it to their advantage.
Renato Paiva, Benfica's B manager, gave an interview to A Bola and basically confirmed that his team acted as "imitators" for Liverpool in the 3-0 defeat.
"We recreated two of their offensive and two of the defensive moments, as well as the set-pieces we thought they'd use in the final," he said.
"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 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 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."
While Liverpool weren't at their most fluent and only managed 35% per cent of possession, they negated all of Spurs' threat and were good value for the 2-0 victory - achieved by goals from Mo Salah and Divock Origi.
The above quotes provide an insight into the immense attention to detail Klopp takes and just why he is one of the best managers in world football.
Having finally won his first trophy for Liverpool and lifted a weight off his shoulder, the German will be looking to continue on the same path and build a dynasty at Anfield.