While previewing Liverpool’s eventual draw with Manchester City, Jonathan Wilson of the Guardian noted something interesting about how things work behind the scenes for the Premier League champions.
Writing in his preview, it was revealed that Jurgen Klopp does not allow any outsiders to watch the Reds’ pressing sessions at Melwood, such is the merit he puts in it as an advantage.
The German is noted for the ‘gegenpressing’ system and that kind of philosophy has won him league titles in two different countries as well as the Champions League.
Obviously, the fact that Liverpool deploy a high-press is no secret and Klopp is synonymous with the tactic.
However, it’s certainly interesting to hear just how it’s viewed behind the scenes at Melwood.
Even despite the unity the club seem to exude at the moment amid so much on-field success, the fact there is so much protection about the pressing game speaks volumes.
It simply is that important and much more complex than simply pressing your opponent like headless chickens. Clearly, there are certain mechanisms that need to be hidden in order to maintain the advantage.
According to FBref, the champions currently rank joint-second in terms of successful pressures (33.7% of their 1102 actions) alongside Leeds and just behind Brighton.
Last season, they were top of that metric with 32.2% across the whole campaign, as well as first the year prior to that with a 29.9% success rate.
Football fans in this country will be familiar with the ‘Spygate’ incident where Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa sent someone to watch Derby County train while Celtic manager Neil Lennon has recently fumed about leaks from within his own camp.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that such a step is taken.