29 Oct 2015

'Not Easy: Klopp explains why 'fantastic' Liverpool youngster found it 'difficult' against Bournemouth

It's been a whirlwind few days for Cameron Brannagan. On Monday, he signed a new long-term deal with the club, and two days later, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp handed him his first team debut against Bournemouth. How did he do?

After the game, Klopp offered the following appraisal of Brannagan's debut performance:

"Cameron Brannagan was in a very difficult position in the system we played today, the half space as a No.8. It’s really not easy to defend that position".

What 'half-space' means is anyone's guess (!), but Brannagan plays more of an attacking role for the U21s, so Klopp played him out of position somewhat against Bournemouth.

Indeed, his bio on the official Liverpool FC website reads:

"A creative and inventive midfielder, Brannagan [can] fashion opportunities as well as take them himself. Likes to [play] behind the frontman but can also operate on either wing".

Brannagan didn't really have the opportunity to be 'creative and inventive' last night, but in terms of ball retention, and defensive stability, he did a very good job for the team, and the stats shows this:

* Completed more tackles (4) than anyone else in the team, including all the defenders.

* 88% passing accuracy, which is the third best on the night (behind Firmino and Joe Allen).

Brannagan didn't really make an impression with his passing, but he was somewhat constrained by his tactical role in the system, which seemed to be predominantly defensive/protective.

However, the fact that Liverpool kept a clean sheet shows that Brannagan did a solid job for the team.

That said, I'd argue that Jordan Rossiter is better suited to the position Brannagan played.

Rossiter does all the defensive work, too, but crucially, he has the ability to bring others into play with his wider range of passing.

Going forward, it'd be good to see how Brannagan - hailed by U21 Boss Michael Beale for his 'fantastic' performances - fares playing further up the field.

Alas, the competition for places is so intense that I can't see how he'll get many opportunities to play as a number-10, or an attacking midfielder.

A promising debut overall, but did Brannagan do enough to play himself into the Chelsea squad?

Author: Jaimie K


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