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Jurgen Klopp's tactical innovation against Leeds suggests Thiago isn't a priority

Liverpool’s most-highly documented transfer saga this summer has unquestionably been the club’s reported pursuit of Thiago Alcantara.

There is no questioning that the Spanish international would improve Jurgen Klopp’s squad nor would it increase competitiveness among Liverpool’s already impressive array of midfield options.

However, Klopp’s tactical decisions at the weekend provided a timely reminder of why the midfield isn’t an area that the club are in need of a boost in.

Here we take a look at why the German manager’s recent tactical innovation could potentially add complications to the ‘dream signing‘ of Thiago – a move Klopp has reportedly been ‘pushing‘ for.

Leeds United’s Brazilian-born Spanish striker Rodrigo (L) fouls Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (R) is the area for a penalty during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 12, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Littered with options

Two of Liverpool’s three substitutions were directly in midfield as the manager’s tactical tweaks proved pivotal in the team reorganising their shape against Leeds at the weekend having conceded from all three of the opposition’s efforts on target.

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Both Fabinho and Curtis Jones were introduced just after the hour-mark and both substitutes made an encouraging impact from the bench.

It was Fabinho who injected much more assurance and composure into midfield upon his arrival and it was the Brazilian who forced the crucial penalty which saw Mohamed Salah claim his all-important hat-trick.

With this said, it questions why the player Liverpool have been most heavily linked with over this summer window is in a position where Klopp believes there is already sufficient depth.

Liverpool already have seven midfielders on the books at this time of writing – not including Marko Grujic or Harry Wilson who were both overlooked in Klopp’s squad against Leeds.

Also, given the manager is only allowed seven players as substitutes, if Thiago were to sign it would mean that one of his regularly rotated midfield members would have to be sacrificed from Klopp’s regular Premier League matchday squad.

This just isn’t likely especially in the aftermath that Georginio Wijnaldum is intent to remain at the club and fight for a contract extension amid links with Barcelona.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also wasn’t in the picture vs Leeds due to injury and his future return also raises complications to a potential Thiago deal as it gives Klopp another selection headache with spaces in the squad already limited.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp talks to the media after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Credit to Klopp

Under Klopp, Liverpool have evolved from a wildly attacking side with a soft underbelly into a relentless winning machine.

Much of this is largely due to the depth of Klopp’s squad as the battle for places among the squad is incredibly high. It should not be overlooked that Liverpool’s standout performer in pre-season, Takumi Minamino, was an unused substitute in the weekend victory – such is the competition for opportunities in this Premier League-winning squad.

The Reds have proven themselves the most consistent team in the most physically demanding league. They have adopted a formula which allows them to win convincingly as well as ugly.

Considering of the 32 league wins last season – a Premier League record – 14 were by a single goal. Such is the mentality of this carefully crafted Liverpool machine.

Even amidst the gathering threat of their challengers, Liverpool still look the team to beat.

Klopp has maintained the bulk of his championship-winning squad again for another season and judging by the array of options from the bench on Saturday, Liverpool’s threat on the league will not look to diminish anytime soon.

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