Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur showed that Jurgen Klopp may return to his previous tactics.
The win at Anfield had plenty of takeaways. Liverpool’s late winner was the most notable, of course, both in what it was and how it came about. How Klopp tried to inspire it caught the eye, too, however.
Now, we can all admit that the winner was a fluke. Mo Salah has headed it vaguely towards goal and it took a combination of two Spurs players to find the net.
But while Klopp didn’t try to score the goal that way, he did make moves to find something.
That involved Liverpool reverting to a 4-2-3-1 formation – something we haven’t seen in a little while.
Liverpool did use the system earlier in the season, primarily while Fabinho got used to playing for Klopp. The new year saw Liverpool play 4-3-3, though.
The 4-3-3 is a safer formation that brought success last year but hasn’t quite hit the mark this term. The most notable changes in the 4-2-3-1 are Salah playing centrally and the midfield having a ‘double six’, as Klopp puts it.
The two in midfield brings more risk, of course, as Liverpool are a little flatter and susceptible to counters.
Salah in the 4-2-3-1 tactics
Salah has suited it, though. According to Whoscored.com, 15 of his goals this year have come in his 14 games as a striker. Conversely, he’s managed just five in his 24 games from the wing.
We saw both sides of it against Spurs. Klopp turned to it with a double substitution to try and find a goal. Spurs were more threatening afterwards, however, finding it easier to break past a flat two in midfield.
And Liverpool did get the winner with Salah in the middle.
Could this be the way Klopp goes in the run-in? It’s quite telling that, when the cards were down, this is where he turned. This is how he saw his team getting the win and, no matter how fortunate, they did just that.
It’s a system that got goals out of Salah and with Liverpool only facing one more ‘big six’ side, perhaps it’s well worth the risk defensively.
Klopp may have a given himself a real decision to make with his return to the tactics.