Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson slates Liverpool style despite fearing Jurgen Klopp revolution

By Ian Herbert

Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised Liverpool's all-out pressing game, stating in a new Uefa technical report that Jurgen Klopp's men's defeat in last season's Europa League final came because they had no energy left by the second half.

Ferguson, one of Uefa's technical experts in the report analysing the 2016-17 Champions League and Europa League competitions, has, however, offered rich praise of Klopp's potential to restore Liverpool in the past.

In the technical report, the former Manchester United manager - who retired from the Old Trafford hotseat in 2013 - praised Liverpool for knocking Sevilla out of their stride in the first half of last season's final in Basel, which they lost 3-1.

But he said that they were incapable of sustaining their intense pressure.

"In the second half Liverpool had no energy, they could not get to the ball," he said. "The space in midfield became bigger. I never had a team who could press a ball all season."

Liverpool led after 35 minutes in Switzerland through Daniel Sturridge, but lost to second-half goals from Kevin Gameiro and Coke (2).

Ferguson's other main observation in his discussion of European club tactics for Uefa is that Barcelona demonstrated the need to continually evolve their football philosophy and not stick with one system.

As manager of United, he often spoke of how, once Barcelona start playing in the rhythmic, fluent football Pep Guardiola helped introduce, it can be akin to a luggage carousel. They "get you on the carousel and can leave you dizzy," he once said.

But despite Luis Enrique's side suffering a shock quarter-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in last season's Champions League, he was taken by their evolution into a more penetrative team.

"Where they had a carousel of possession with no central striker they now have three excellent front strikers and play far more positively in terms of penetration," Ferguson said.

"They're still looking for a different way of playing. I think that's been the big change, for me, in the last two years."

Ferguson said a year ago that he could see a re-galvanised Liverpool under Klopp overtaking United.

"Even at Newcastle when they lost the second goal he goes over to Steve McClaren to congratulate him," he observed of the team's 2-0 defeat last season.

"That's class. And the work he did at Borussia Dortmund. He's going to make a difference at that club with his personality, drive and knowledge.

"Things are looking up there. I'm worried about him because the one thing Manchester United don't want is Liverpool to get above us."

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