Liverpool: Why exploiting Marcelo is key to European glory

Marcelo’s reputation as an attacking fullback often conceals his defensive shortcomings.

oliver stein by Oli Stein

REUTERS/Susana Vera

Marcelo’s reputation as one of the best left backs in the world epitomises everything wrong in the modern game.

The Brazilian is undoubtedly one of the finest attacking full backs in world football, but today’s perception of what qualities a full back should comprise is fundamentally flawed.

No longer is defensive solidity appreciated more than attacking flare in terms of a defender. Similar to the way ball-playing defenders are lauded far more frequently than traditional centre backs that prioritise a defence-first mentality.

Thus, Marcelo’s brilliance in getting forward frequently supersedes his actual defensive qualities. Perhaps Jurgen Klopp noticed this facet of his game:

Marcelo is a player who attacks a lot, but… he doesn’t defend – Klopp speaking to former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler.

Based on this, Oli Stein examines how Liverpool should look to attack Real Madrid, targeting and exploiting Marcelo’s particular weakness.

Marcelo vs Salah

Klopp went on to state that football isn’t as simple as saying: “If Marcelo joins the attack on the right we leave Salah in that space.”

The German is correct and football isn’t that simple. In truth, if it was, it perhaps wouldn’t be as entertaining… However, the ultimate result of the game will rest heavily on how forward Mo Salah attacks Marcelo.

What Klopp is insinuating with his somewhat provocative comments is that Marcelo is freer to join in with the attacking unit since Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are there to cover his vacated space.

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Oli Stein

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016. Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_