Jurgen Klopp stuck with his new plan v Blackpool and it’s one that gets the best out of Takumi Minamino. The Japanese international could be a key figure.
We’ve written about the 4-2-3-1 system a lot recently but it certainly appears that Klopp likes it right now. He started the team’s final pre-season friendly with the system and it’s safe to say it worked – even after a slow start.
The Reds were 2-0 down but ended up winning 7-2 on Saturday. That was largely down to having four attackers on the pitch, as well as the performance of Minamino.
Minamino scored one and set up another against Blackpool, while his work helped create at least two others. Much like the Community Shield, he stole the show.
His free role with the usual front-three adds something a little extra. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah aren’t exactly predictable players but teams know what they’re up against. They’re consistently played together for three years, after all.
Minamino, though, adds extra movement that prevents opponents from setting up properly. There are sudden two-on-ones as he gets about the pitch to link up with teammates, while his energy makes them happen everywhere.
He’s effectively fixing the one ‘problem’ with the usual front-three – that teams know what’s coming.
The fact that Klopp used the system again suggests we’ll see it against Leeds United in a week. And it’s easy to see why.
Liverpool were sluggish against Arsenal all through the first half. The worry, then, is that the Reds can’t simply use the same plan for a fourth year and expect the same results. At least not right from the start.
But changing the formation in the Community Shield evoked an immediate positive reaction. Klopp may want to carry that reaction over into the Premier League opener and keeping the front-four together v Blackpool was the best way to do that.