the Liverpool game (pass and move)
a classic youth soccer SSG from Paul Cooper
In the 1970s and 1980s when Liverpool where at their peak and most clubs idea of training was a lot of running and physical work without the ball, at Liverpool they played 5 a-side games with the emphasis on simple quick passing.
Liverpool was renowned as the ‘pass and move’ team and Shankly made sure that everything was kept simple.
Players were encouraged to make their own decisions and solve problems.
Ronnie Moran, one of the legendary coaches at the club and very much part of the famous bootroom culture at Liverpool football club said of Shankly, “If he looked at a couple of kids juggling a ball, it wouldn’t matter to him which one was better. He would want to see how they played in a game situation. His argument would be that you don’t get opportunities to juggle the ball in a match so it was irrelevant.”
Moran also thinks that today there is a lack of game intelligence. “Players today don’t seem to have that ‘nouse’. I think all over the country now too much is being put in footballer’s brains about what they must and must not do.”
In Alan Hansen’s excellent autobiography ‘A Matter of Opinion’, he talks about a game they used to play at Liverpool. “Every player concentrated on giving the sort of passes that a team-mate wanted to receive, rather than the ones he wanted to play; and every player repeatedly made good runs off the ball to give the man in possession plenty of options.”
Hansen adds, “Liverpool FC was encapsulated in just three words: ‘Pass and Move.’ Liverpool occasionally had a training match rule that a player had to move two yards forwards, backwards or to either side immediately he passed the ball; if he didn’t, his team would be penalized and the ball given to the other team.”
This game is not suited for younger children and I think should not be tried with ages less than 12. It is very tiring and should only be used in small bursts as perhaps part of a normal 4v4 game.
As soon as a player in possession passes the ball he must move either back, sideways or forward to support the player with the ball. If he fails to do this, possession is immediately given to the other team.