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Basically there are 5 principals of play in football each for defence and attack. The common denominator between both is depth.

To put it in terms relating to Liverpool. In terms of defensive depth, imagine we have a flat midfield. If someone escapes a tackle from Hendo
as the RCM, then they are behind the midfield line and attacking the back 4. However, if you have a 1-2 triangle, Henderson presses and Fabinho is staggered behind to provide 'depth'.
Likewise, if Mane is pressuring their full back on our left, Robertson doesn't follow in and do the same, but sits off to provide that depth. That means one move doesn't take two defenders out of the game, he would have to beat Mane and then Robertson.
This is where delay becomes important. In both those scenarios, if you have no depth, you want to delay until you get it. Gini is the absolute master at this in our side. He doesn't try to win the ball, he tries to delay to get 'support' and 'depth' back in your structure.
So when someone skips by Henderson, you don't want Fabinho steaming in to risk being beaten also, you want him to jockey, grapple, delay a few seconds for Henderson to recover his position once more.

Likewise Robertson and Mane in the other example.
And depth works in the same way with the ball also. If you draw out a 4-4-2 then look at the passing lines for each position, then do the same with a dutch 3-D-3 you will notice how much more depth they will have in their space and therefore more passing options and angles.
You can then progress play easier and with a series of short 5-10 yard passes rather than passes of 25-30 yards from one line of your formation to the next.
And that is why almost every single possession side, with the ball, in the early buildup phases, looks like a Cruyff 3-D-3.

No matter what the starting formation is. If it is a back 4, you will see the CB split and a midfielder drop in with them (City). Or one full back push up
the other stay home to make a 3 (Napoli, Hysaj sat, Ghoulam went forward), and so on. Likewise while Klopp played a 4-2-3-1 with Dortmund, it was assymetric and the #6 (Bender/Kehl) and #8 (Sahin/Gundogan) were very easy to define and played at different depths on the pitch.
And so getting back to the original conversation where I was suggesting we would need depth and to stay compact in midfield, United were not doing this today. They were pressing like a flat line. As soon as Barca escaped that line of pressure, they would pop the ball to Artur
He would be behind the press and able to turn and run at the United back line. Without pressure on the ball, they had no option but to retreat so they wouldn't get picked off by runners at ease.

This means picking your moments to press high, when you can do so as a compact unit
but also staggered so that one turn doesn't take your entire press out of the game.
A Liverpool example of this is opening day against West Ham, when Keita was pulling into those Artur spaces, getting on the ball and running at the retreating defence, played in Robertson, who slides it across for 1-0.
It was amateur pressure by West ham. But that was expecting after having a succession of managers who like playing in compact shapes, low blocks, etc.
And getting back to this point, this is what I was talking about earlier today in how we miss Gini, why our midfield is so easy to play through without him, how open we are, why we give up 2 big chances in consecutive home games without him.

Something we had only done 3 other times in all competitions this season at home. Gini is a fundamentals players. Most dutch players are tbh and is why I fucking love them and want more of them.

But the basic principals are drilled into him, thus he makes fantastic tactical
choices when we are exposed, or about to be exposed, often killing a dangerous moment before we, the viewer, would even realise it. Things that have no real statistical value, but are invaluable none the less when you watch the game from a structural / team tactical point of view
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