Liverpool have hinted that a major change in formation could be in their future. The Reds went to the match against Ajax last week.
Things haven’t always been perfect at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp. The first few years were a mixture of frustration and intelligence – signs of a team still finding its way. In the end, the team found its way, and the Reds produced near perfection as they swept all of the cup.
But things are faltering now. Liverpool don’t have the same rhythm they used to do and may need to turn things around.
That would be new to Klopp. He’s stuck fairly rigidly to his 4-3-3 system since arriving at the club and it’s a formation that’s been incredibly successful.
But Liverpool have not found that the system is working now. Part of that is due to injuries, while the loss of Sadio Mane – an integral part – also hurts. The Reds discover that superstar Darwin Nunez only works intermittently, struggling at first.
And that would probably require a change of heart at Liverpool, and perhaps an important one. Klopp must do something to fix the current form – and he may be about to rely on the past for his answer.
Change the formation of Liverpool
While Liverpool were chasing a goal against Ajax, Klopp put Nunez in the match. He also changed the system, however, using Thiago and Fabinho as false players and introducing Roberto Firmino as the No. 10. They went 4-2-3-1, in fact, in an effort to have the “best of both worlds”.
Liverpool’s success came with Firmino as a 9th foul, after all. He was the link man between midfield and attack, falling deep and creating space for others. Nunez don’t do that. He leads the line, forcing players out of his space and occupying the defenders.
With both on the field, Liverpool could occupy the defenders and allow Firmino to connect the lines. The sacrifice is in the midfield, while the wingers also get less space to drive into the middle.
We wonder if Klopp will try that a bit. Essentially, it will be a bridge system between the old and new Liverpool scheme with Nunez. It’s something he’s done before.
Fabinho was also not quite ready to scratch at 4-3-3 for Liverpool when he arrived. Klopp didn’t use him in this formation, in a big game, until March after his arrival. Until then, the score was 4-2-3-1 as Mohamed Salah was playing centrally.
As we mentioned in detail here, Salah played 13 games as a central striker in 18/19 as Fabinho made the speed. He scored 13 goals in that period, and carried the side on occasion.
Maybe Klopp can try the same, then, as Nunez finds his way at Liverpool. A temporary substitution allows him to come to terms with his teammates before returning to 4-3-3 for the final months of the campaign.
It will not depend on Salah playing centrally, of course. Instead, Liverpool will rely on Fabinho and Thiago to press their two-man midfield. If they can do that, Firmino could play as No. 10 and Nunez at the top. This appears to be something Klopp is considering, as his change of heart at Ajax indicates that way.
It would be a big change in the short term, but as with Fabinho, Liverpool could reap the rewards in May.
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