Why Liverpool’s Brazilian stars Firmino and Fabinho hold the key to beating Everton in Merseyside derby

Why Liverpool’s Brazilian stars Firmino and Fabinho hold the key to beating Everton in Merseyside derby

JURGEN Klopp’s Liverpool make the short trip across Stanley Park in order to face rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby with a point to prove.

Liverpool have got their season up and running with the 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth and then a narrow win over Newcastle.

Frank Lampard takes on Jurgen Klopp this weekend
Liverpool have dominated their Merseyside rivals in the Premier League

There is already a sense of discontent at Everton, especially after the late escape from relegation last season.

It already feels as though they need a big result to kick start their season.

There is no doubt that a win over Liverpool in this match would give Everton the impetus that they need.

But given the confidence flowing through this Liverpool squad again, that will be much easier said than done.

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Here are three reasons why Liverpool will continue their dominance over their neighbours, thanks to two Brazilian stars.


Everton’s lack of a fixed attack

Everton are still in desperate need of more firepower.

Just adding Neal Maupay is not enough with Dominic Calvert-Lewin still out injured and the sale of Richarlison in pre-season.

Everton is still a squad with a lack of recognised goal scorers

Everton’s front three are positioned in deeper areas of the pitch with no direct pressure being put on the defensive line or the centre backs

So far we have seen summer signing Dwight McNeil playing as part of a fluid front three alongside Anthony Gordon and Demerai Gray.

But while all have their strengths, none are true out-and-out goalscorers, despite Gordon’s habit of finding the back of the net.

It felt very much as though Everton needed to find a player to lead the line and to play more as a fixed striker with McNeil, Gordon and Gray able to play off them.

Maybe Maupay will be that man, if you can look past the amount of chances he misses.

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Everton’s attackers are too deep and Liverpool will be content to let them have the ball. Everton will need to make sure that they have runners looking to stretch Liverpool and attack the space they leave behind the defensive line

So far this season Everton have looked bright and lively in the attacking phase with a lot of interplay and interchanging of roles and positions between the front three.

What they have missed is a player who will play right up against the opposition central defenders, either looking to receive with their back to goal or spin and attack the spaces between the defenders and behind the defensive line.

In short, they are missing the exact profile that Calvert-Lewin gives them.

This will play into the hands of the Liverpool defence in this match.

They will be relatively happy for the three mobile attacking players for Everton to have possession of the ball in deeper areas.

The defensive line for Liverpool will be able to squeeze up and make things tight if they want to but it is more likely that they will rely on the relentless pressing and work rate of their midfield in order to take away the spaces that the Everton attacking players will look to play in.

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The resurgence of Roberto Firmino

Earlier this season it seemed as though Roberto Firmino’s time at Liverpool was coming to an end.

Roberto Firmino drops back towards the midfield and effectively empties the space that the striker would normally occupy. Liverpool then deliberately attack these spaces through the aggressive diagonal movements of the two wide forwards

With the Senegalese international Sadio Mane gone, replaced in advance by Luis Diaz, we had seen Liverpool move in the market to sign the Uruguayan international forward Darwin Nunez from Benfica.

With Nunez having been sent off on his Premier League debut for a headbutt on the Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen, we have seen Firmino come back into the setup – and against Bournemouth last weekend he looked back to his best and he played well again against Newcastle.

As we have already discussed in this article, Everton struggle with the lack of a fixed striker.

When Liverpool play with Roberto Firmino as their ‘9’ he will constantly look to drop off of the front line to receive the ball in the midfield areas.

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Unlike Everton, Liverpool have a ready-made solution to the movements of Firmino as their wide attackers immediately move into narrow positions to fill the space.

When Liverpool completed the signing last January of the Colombian international forward Diaz he was seen as a dynamic if unpredictable attacking force.

The former Porto forward, however, has quickly established himself as a key attacking player for Liverpool and now we are seeing him take up positions in more central areas than we had previously expected to see from Sadio Mane.

As Firmino comes deep to receive the ball he naturally finds little pockets of space. He then has the creative ability to find the runs of teammates who will look to go beyond the ball and break into the penalty area

With the Everton defence already being tested this season, they will have to find a new series of solutions to the movement and creative ability of Firmino as he drops off and encourages teammates to make attacking runs beyond the ball.

Liverpool will control the midfield

The decision from Liverpool to sign the Brazilian international Fabinho from AS Monaco in 2018 signalled the start of a period of sustained success at the Merseyside club.

Fabinho, who has been described by Klopp’s assistant Pep Ljinders as the ‘lighthouse’ of the team, is a huge presence for his club both on and off the pitch.

At the start of the season, and especially against Crystal Palace, Fabinho looked out of form. In the match last weekend against Bournemouth though he looked very much back to his best – but again with the Bournemouth caveat.

Fabinho is the controller of the Liverpool midfield and with the front three of Everton, Gordon, McNeil and Gray, looking to play and interchange in deeper areas they will effectively be trying to play in his ‘zone’.

Fabinho also helps Liverpool when they are building from the back. The Brazilian midfielder is extremely press resistant and will receive the ball before turning into space and then driving forward

Fabinho is extremely good at positioning himself to break up counterattacks from the opposition.

He naturally sits at the base of the attacking shape for Liverpool and if the opposition regains possession he is quick to move to block off any potential passing lanes that the opposition may look to use in transition.

Bournemouth look to build their attack on the far side of the pitch they combine with a player moving into the channel to receive the ball in space. It is Fabinho who is first to break out to engage the ball carrier and regain possession

Everton will have to be aware of the positioning of Fabinho and of his ability to almost anticipate danger before moving to close down space.

When they do get opportunities to launch an attacking transition, they will have to play around or past the Brazilian to be effective.

What does all this mean?

Let’s be realistic – you can’t see Everton getting much out of this one, can you?

Liverpool’s pride was hurt against United and they responded by getting Scott Parker sacked (though his post-match comments probably had as much to do with that as his team shipping nine).

Then they came back from a goal down to get a late, late winner against Newcastle – it feels like they are back at it.

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Everton, if they can get through Fabinho and maybe target Trent they might get a couple of shots on goal?

We expect this one to again show the gap between the big city rivals.

For more tactical analysis, scouting and stunning data visuals head over to Total Football Analysis.


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By: Mark Fleming
Title: Why Liverpool’s Brazilian stars Firmino and Fabinho hold the key to beating Everton in Merseyside derby
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/19679433/liverpool-everton-analysis-tactics-firmino-fabinho/
Published Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2022 09:41:12 +0000

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