Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has four games to make his midfield choice ahead of the return leg against Atletico Madrid. The Reds lost in Madrid and will need to change things at home.
Liverpool never truly got going against Atletico. They conceded very early, for starters, and then failed to create anything clear-cut over the following 90 minutes.
That will clearly have to change when the teams play at Anfield on March 11th. The easiest way to do that is to shake up the midfield.
Atletico sat back in a low block against Liverpool, happy to defend their one goal. That wasn’t something Klopp planned for, as he’d gone with Fabinho in midfield.
Liverpool were supposed to be the ones keeping it tight, drawing Atletico out in search of their goal. Diego Simeone’s side ruined that by scoring early.
And given that they successfully defended their lead for so long, you can guarantee they’ll try the same in a few weeks. Liverpool, then, can’t afford to keep things tight.
Klopp has little choice but to attack in search of goals – and switching the midfield is the easiest way to do that.
That means leaving Fabinho out and going with Jordan Henderson in the sitting role and Gini Wijnaldum retaining his position. That third place, though, is between Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita.
Do you go with the more creative Keita? He plays with more patience than Oxlade-Chamberlain and is better in tight spaces. Given the deep, compact defence of Atletico, that could work wonderfully.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is different. He’s faster and far more direct – if Liverpool want to rock Atletico, he’s the choice.
Klopp has four games before this clash, which is the biggest of the season so far. He’ll certainly try things out over that period then – here’s hoping he learns exactly what he needs.