In recent years the modern game has been solely defined by the evolution of positional play & tactics. It seems as though when one manager alters his formation, others follow suit or adjust to counter it. Now it’s Jürgen Klopp’s time to act as an innovator, not a follower, to inspire the next catalyst for change.
Last season Liverpool achieved what they’ve only done twice in the past eight years, finish in the top 4. Jürgen Klopp’s gegenpressing team pipped Arsenal to the Champions League spots, and they’ll be facing Europe’s elite next season.
If the Reds are to survive with the extra game load and increased quality of opposition, Klopp will have to make a few tactical tweaks to his starting XI.
Here are three tactical tweaks Liverpool can make for the 2017/18 season.
Play a defensive full-back
So often last season, the Reds were criticised for prioritising attack and neglecting defence. They were accused of committing too many men forward thus leaving themselves exposed on the counter. Klopp’s men attack with a front five, aided by the ever-present fullbacks providing width. This only leaves them with three men behind at all times to defend, and it’s not enough in the Premier League.
In order to retain defensive solidity, going into next season, Liverpool must instruct one of their full-backs to tuck in next to his centre back. This may leave the team unbalanced in the attack, but it’d certainly leave them less exposed on the break.
Switch to a 4-4-2 diamond
With the signing of the £40m Mohammed Salah, Jürgen Klopp has a conundrum in how he’s to fit all his attacking talents on one pitch. A 4-4-2 diamond makes Klopp’s job easier as he has the perfect amount of players suited to the system. Liverpool could deploy two wide forwards up front in the form of Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah. They would then drift out wide, thus stretching the opposition’s defensive line.
Their runs would be fed by Phillipe Coutinho who’d act as the free roaming No. 10 in the formation. Behind the Brazilian would be the two CMs in Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, CMs who would execute the B2B role up and down the pitch. Their tireless work rate in both attack & defence would be covered by the disciplined positioning of Jordan Henderson.
This formation gives Liverpool the option of penetrating centrally or causing damage down the flanks. It offers flexibility, versatility and an unpredictable way of breaking down low blocks.
Start Daniel Sturridge
Versatile, quick and lethal, Daniel Sturridge is one of the most underrated strikers in the Premier League today. Constant injuries haven’t allowed the Englishman to show his true potential, but 2017/18 is the season of new beginnings and fresh starts.
With unrivalled pace, Jürgen Klopp could deploy Daniel Sturridge as a striker instructed to drift out wide. This would create an interchangeable front three that attack in a fluid manner. An attack of Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Daniel Sturridge all making diagonal runs in non-set positions presents a frightening proposition for any defence in the league.