Jurgen Klopp vs Maurizio Sarri : A deeper look into the tactical rivalry between two greats

Liverpool vs Chelsea game produced a fine battle between two genius tacticians.


The science of football is no different from physics when it comes to studying the qualitative part of the game and it’s events. However, one part of physics that could be the ideal representation of football is optics.

Constructive interference of light waves give rise to bright fringes, a super positional phenomenon that has been path breaking and rudimentary since time infinity. However, the two elements that would be discussed through this very piece can be best explained by the phenomenon of reflection.

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When Jurgen Klopp and Maurizio Sarri hugged each other after the full time whistle, it seemed as if the image met the object at focus. From the tactical point of view to their respective approaches towards press reporters they happen to be each others perfect reflection, so when Chelsea met Liverpool at the Stamford Bridge, people already had high expectations not only from the quality of players that the two sides had but also from the two managers. Managers who have been loved by their players since joining the club.

While Sarri is new to the Premier League, the Italian tactician has adapted real quick to the fast paced English style and has been executing his plans with the same accuracy from his Napoli days. Jurgen Klopp turns out to be quite veteran of the Premier League compared to Sarri and there might not be a single fan who doesn’t love the German. Since taking over from Brendan Rodgers, Jurgen has been the man who has been at the helm for Liverpool’s transformation from a mid table side to a ruthless machine of destruction. Things have been pretty similar in Maurizio Sarri’s story timeline till now. Win over London rivals Arsenal followed by a 4-1 thumping of Cardiff City has been the evidence of the attacking style of gameplay Sarri has preached and promoted time and again.

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But the things that make these two managers their mirror images is their approach towards the beautiful game. Two patriots who have brought back the open attacking and aggressive style back into the limelight. Constructive interference was bound to take place when the two loved tacticians engaged into a battle of superposition and superposition of full throttle and heavy metal football had to be one of those sights that you could compare with the northern lights. And when the proceedings kicked off, it seemed as if Liverpool and Chelsea were mirror images of each other that went head on.

While Mohamed Salah had been a revelation in the free role under Jurgen Klopp last season, Sarri inducted a similar role for Eden Hazard in the Chelsea and the Belgian never disappointed his manager. Hazard started in his usual retrospective manner and typified the number 10 at the back of his shirt, leading from the front and firing Chelsea into the lead in less than half an hour into the game. Jurgen Klopp and his men were not done so easily and their ever intimidating front three pushed hard and left nothing behind for the equaliser the Chelsea defense just did enough to keep them at bay, clearances off the line and shots that rebounded off the post summed up Liverpool’s frustration in search of the illusive equaliser. However, their was this one aspect of the game that people tend to forget in these big meaty clashes, two of the best custodians of the league went head on to make saves that justified their resilience and denied the forwards time and again. While Sarri had almost executed his plan to perfection the battle of minds wasn’t really done.

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On a regular day, Daniel Sturridge wouldn’t have had a chance considering the aura of the front three, but this had to be one of those days when even the slightest ray eclipsed behind the tactical supremacy and defensive masterclass of Chelsea. Sturridge was like that big gamble in a game of rummy that Jurgen took and luckily it was Sturridge’s that restored parity and that too in some style. Former teammates at Chelsea were left in awe as Daniel ran towards the traveling “Reds” fan but didn’t celebrate with his iconic dance moves. A day were chances were less and openings were few, Daniel Sturridge turned the game on his own and proved age old proverb “Form is temporary but class is permanent”.

The game might have ended in level terms but the viewers left Stamford Bridge as the real winners as the two light waves of Sarri and Klopp hugged each other with smiles on their faces typifying the “Player’s manager” tag that both them have earned through out their managerial careers. The season is yet to hit it’s peak but this was the game that had already earned itself a place for the game of the season speaking volumes of the beatifying physics of the beautiful game.