Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained how famous Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi has influenced many of the on-field tactics he employs today.
Klopp’s tactics have launched Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League glory in recent seasons; indeed, the high line remains a key aspect of the Reds’ style of play.
However, the high line is one of many tactics that the German has took on board from several previous coaches. Among them was Wolfgang Frank, who was Mainz coach as Klopp began his career on the touchline.
Frank – and since then Klopp – have used many of Sacchi’s tactics which famously won AC Milan the Serie title in 1988, before back-to-back European Cup success in 1989 and 1990.
Speaking to Klopp as part of his new book – The Greatest Games – Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher spoke with Klopp about Sacchi’s influence on his style of play.
“Sacchi completely changed how we think about football,” Klopp said (via the Daily Telegraph). “He is one of the most influential coaches in the history of the game and a complete game-changer for me.
“Because of him we had to judge the size of the pitch in a new way. I am sure you remember playing with man-marking tactics where you pretty much followed the opponent you were marking to the toilet.
“The pitch always felt incredibly big. Nobody played a high line because many teams played the libero.
“Before him I was told who to mark and that was it. Too often the team with the better individuals won the game because it was all one-versus-one challenges all over the pitch, so if the other player was better than you, how could you win?”
Frank, Sacchi played key roles
Klopp went on to reveal how Mainz coach Frank first introduced him to Sacchi’s work.
“Sacchi’s organisation made it completely different,” he added. ” did not learn it from Sacchi, but it was my manager at Mainz, Wolfgang Frank, who brought it to us, which meant as a player I watched five hundred videos of AC Milan.
“I saw how whenever Franco Baresi raised his arms to play offside, everyone else in the team was waiting.
“Ball orientated defending became a real tool, and of course on top of that Milan were a sensational team with Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Baresi. They were some of the best players ever.”