In an exclusive interview with former Everton goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, he told Everton News that Carlo Ancelotti got his tactics spot on against Liverpool at Anfield.
Ancelotti went with a 3-5-1-1 system, which meant Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman were able to press high onto Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Mason Holgate was able to play deeper and narrower to quell the threat of Sadio Mane and help grab a famous win.
Ancelotti’s experience of coaching at the highest level for a number of years came to the fore as he outwitted Jurgen Klopp on a famous night for everyone connected with Everton.
“The manager got team selection and team shape absolutely right,” said Martyn. “It was defensive where it needed to be – both his wing-backs were full-backs.
“The threat from Liverpool’s full-backs is there when they’re at their best. Having Digne and Coleman in those wide areas pushing on stopped them playing at high as they’d like to. It pushed the game inside.
“He likes to start Rodriguez in these big games – he did the same against Manchester United – to do exactly what he did for the opening goal. That’s why the manager had quite a defensive team but ready to spring on the counter attack.
“It worked perfectly. Liverpool’s full-backs are immense and a force to be reckoned with when they fly forward but playing Coleman and Digne higher up and engaging them earlier halted them.”
“The central defensive three were able to stay compact across the 18 yard box where (Mo) Salah, (Sadio) Mane and (Roberto) Firmino do their business.
“Surviving that 15 to 20 minutes after half time won the game. The defenders stood up to that after Klopp had got into them at half time.”
Ancelotti once again showed all his experience and quality with a tactical masterclass at Anfield.
He nullified Liverpool’s threats and put James Rodriguez and Richarlison into positions where they cause problems – and it paid off handsomely.
Nigel Martyn speaking to Everton News: Archive