Dave Davis assesses Jürgen Klopp’s options from a tactical point of view as far as Liverpool’s crucial trip to the Hawthorns is concerned.
After its introduction late on in the Derby and application away at Stoke, it’s difficult to say whether we might see a 3-5-2 formation on Sunday.
It’s produced mixed results and played a part in one of our worst halves this season, however, it wouldn’t be any surprise to see it rolled out at The Hawthorns this weekend.
Last weekend’s incredible victory at Stoke will have given Jürgen Klopp plenty of food for thought.
It really was a tale of two halves, as despite the number of absentees and youth players starting Liverpool were abject in the first 45 minutes, the introduction of the boys from Brazil proved the game-changer overall, but if Mingolet hadn’t been on top-notch form that day it could have been very different. Even with three at the back, we didn’t look the most secure.
That being said, Bobby and Phil certainly seemed to enjoy their roles in that system. Both seemed to enjoy the freedom that it brought as Gini and Can were sitting deeper, giving them the ability to roam and play close to Origi and then later Sturridge.
Stoke found it difficult to pick them up and, indeed, Sturridge appeared to enjoy their movement around him. The striker seems unable to match the demands of his manager in a 4-3-3 and may well prefer this option.
The continued absence of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson increases the chances of the continued change. If the England internationals were available they may have gone straight back into the tried and tested. However, the likes of Origi, Lucas and Sturridge will fight it out for starting berths and may suit the recent formational change.
Away at West Brom also means facing a Tony Pulis team and they’ll always be well-organised and a threat from set-pieces. The likes of McAuley, Olson, Evans and Dawson are a threat from any delivery into the box, which might mean Klopp starts all three centre-backs to combat this. Liverpool are the shortest team on average in the league and every inch will be crucial.
Klopp may still revert to his tried and tested 4-3-3 as with Firmino and Coutinho back in-form, we should have enough to take all three points.
The way it’s gone in recent games though, don’t be surprised if you see both formations in-play come Sunday. The result is all that matters at this stage of the season and at least there’s a Plan B.