Bayern Munich were stunning during the week against Manchester City, leaving us all in awe over how a side should approach a game plan and then execute it against a very difficult opponent.
It’s difficult to think of any side in European football at the moment that could get anywhere near Bayern but Brendan Rodgers has suggested the way his Liverpool side plays is very similar to the way Pep Guardiola’s side plays.
“If you watched their [Munich's] system last night, the right back and left back were going into midfield at times as well to go and join in. It's just really wherever you can get superiority in the game,” Rodgers told the press.
Rodgers deserves a little credit for pushing Liverpool into their recent 3-5-2 type formation, following the defeat at home against Southampton where the decision to play four central defenders across the back four didn’t work.
Liverpool do have a very good habit of packing the midfield and overcrowding that area of the pitch, which allows them to dominate possession, feeding their creative and attacking players.
The ethos is the same; dominate possession, use the ball well, build pressure and look for cracks in the opposition patiently.
The major difference is the quality of the players in the Liverpool team compared with the players in the Bayern Munich team.
One of the reasons Bayern are so difficult to play against is because they have players all over the pitch, covering multiple positions as though they’d played there for their entire careers.
“If I look at Daniel [Sturridge] and Luis Suarez; I call them nine-and-a-halves, they're not straight up and down strikers. They like to move and they like to get in between,” added Rodgers.
That means the structural integrity of the team isn’t risked because a striker finds himself out on the right hand side or a midfielder is leading the attack after pushing too far forwards.
Liverpool certainly have passionate players such as Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jordan Henderson and others but they don’t have the same levels of collective discipline which will eventually appear over time.
It’s a tribute to the work rate and energy of every player in Bayern Munich’s team.
The other difference is that Bayern Munich have been playing much more complex and diverse tactical systems for a long time. They are more used to switching between formations once or twice during a game.
Bayern Munich are clearly at a much more advanced level and Rodgers is right, there are similarities between themselves and the German team but the Reds are still very much a work in progress whereas Bayern Munich look like a top end, refined product.
Do you see the similarities? Does Rodgers have a point?
image: © Bernard Chan