Tom Wyncoll takes a look at how Liverpool could lineup next season under Jürgen Klopp.
The formation in which Klopp decides to deploy his players is a topic of discussion which has many divided. However, there are only two main formations that could possibly be used by Klopp.
The first is a 4-3-3, used previously by Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. This formation would provide us with width and a compact midfield. However, Mané is our only naturally gifted wide player, who even sometimes plays in the centre, and Markovic is likely to be sold. This causes a problem of where to position Coutinho and Firmino. Often at times last season Coutinho would drift in and out of games, having not seen the ball. With this formation he may find himself more on the ball if he drops back into the midfield three. This is risky because he does not have the defensive capabilities that a normal central midfielder should have. Although as long as he plays with two central midfielders who can defend this should not be a problem.
Firmino is not naturally a wide player. His best position is just off the central striker as a centre forward. For this reason he would tend to drift in towards the striker, such as Sturridge, whilst Mané provides the natural width that any good attacking team needs.
Personally, I would use this against stronger opposition and use counter-pressing to win the ball back and score on the counter. I would suggest that in the centre three, Emre Can will the be the more defence-minded with Coutinho and one of Henderson, Wijnaldum or Milner providing more of an attacking threat.
The other formation is the 4-2-3-1, first used by Brendan Rodgers and now picked up by Klopp.
This would allow Coutinho, Firmino and Sadio Mané to interact freely behind the central striker.
This formation lacks the natural width and so the full backs will have to contribute to the wide play. This makes a case for Alberto Moreno starting at left back. Even though he is a defensive liability, he is a good attacker. However, when he pushes forward he often fails to get back, requiring a central midfielder to cover for him. Too many times last season this was not done because we don’t have a natural defensive midfielder who is good enough to start.
For these reasons, I would be inclined to use this formation only against the weaker teams in the Premier League and cup games. However, if a natural defensive midfielder is bought before the season starts this formation may be preferred by Klopp and his team.
Nathaniel Clyne is also a very good attacking fullback. The Englishman, despite making one start, was the most creative fullback at the tournament creating 7 chances for his teammates. His crossing is pinpoint and he doesn’t have a bad shot on him either. The difference between Clyne and Moreno, however, is the fact that the former is a tidy defender.
A good option for Jürgen Klopp is Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutchman is a typical Klopp-signing as he offers a wealth of options with regards to where he can be deployed. It is highly likely that we will see the former PSV Eindhoven captain played as the most advanced player in a midfield three in a 4-3-3 system.
Whichever way Klopp chooses to set out his players we are in for a treat. The squad is a new-look combination of pace, power and creativity. Buckle up and get ready for Klopp’s heavy metal tour of England.