Jurgen Klopp has a chance to repeat a tactical masterstroke against Everton on Sunday. The Reds finally return to Premier League action in the Merseyside Derby.
The last time the two teams met in the Premier League, Liverpool ran riot. They beat their neighbours 5-2 in the end but the game was honestly won in half an hour.
How? Because Klopp pulled a tactical tweak that devastated Everton. We called it a ‘genius’ tweak at the time and it led to one of Liverpool’s best performances of the season.
Essentially, Klopp used the element of surprise. He left Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench, played Divock Origi up top, Xherdan Shaqiri on the right and Adam Lallana as a no.10.
To show how unusual that is, Origi has only started five Premier League games. And that’s two more than Lallana and three more than Shaqiri. Safe to say that Everton didn’t see that one coming.
The change meant Liverpool went from their predicted 4-3-3 and instead played 4-2-3-1. Origi was running in behind and Everton’s high line couldn’t cope after expecting to play against Firmino. Liverpool were 3-1 up in half an hour but it could have been more before then-manager Marco Silva changed the Toffee’s system.
Seven months later, Klopp has the chance to repeat that system. Salah is a doubt, according to the Liverpool Echo, and that hands the boss an opportunity to tinker.
Now, it can’t be the same team as Klopp says Shaqiri is out. But with Salah maybe sitting out, Origi is the obvious replacement. His brace back in December improved a great record against Everton.
It mostly depends on who plays from the right. If it’s Salah then things will likely stay the same and if it’s Sadio Mane then Origi will probably just play from the left.
But the opportunity is there to put in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Takumi Minamino. One of them offering a bit of width could allow Firmino to play behind Origi. That seems like the most obvious way to play 4-2-3-1.
We’ve seen Everton struggle with that system already this season and, after that success, we do hope to see it again on Sunday if Salah doesn’t play.