Liverpool have three forwards currently in breathtaking form this season.
One way to address this is to pick them all together to shake up the dynamic of Jurgen Klopp’s pedigreed front-three combining together Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.
This would involve Liverpool reverting back to Klopp’s tried-and-tested 4-3-3 system, and selecting Salah as a central striker.
This would also see Roberto Firmino sacrificed from Liverpool’s starting XI.
Firmino has been integral to Liverpool’s forward-thinking approach in recent years and has successfully clocked up 58 goals and 37 assists during five successful seasons in the Premier League.
However, it is worth noting that his numbers have taken a steady decline and he has hit a wall early on this season. After scoring a career-best 15 league goals during the 2017/18 campaign, his numbers have slowly dropped off.
The following season saw him bag 12 goals before Liverpool’s title-winning campaign saw Firmino’s total drop to nine. He currently has just two goals in his previous 26 matches.
The reality for Liverpool is that right now, Salah, Mane and Jota have begun the season much more prolifically than the Brazilian. If the manager wanted to revert to a three, the aforementioned trio would certainly be most deserving of a start.
Leaving out Firmino would create a narrative of its own, however, and leave the No.9 worried that he is slowly being integrated out of the team. After all, he has just turned 29 and cannot be expected to lead the line forever at Anfield.
Jota’s immediate impact is good news for Klopp as it means both Firmino and the Portugal international are directly fighting for places in the team, a proposition that both Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri have failed to do in recent years.
Dependent on formation
This is an exciting three-man strike force, especially if Klopp wants an added player in the middle of the park to provide further stability and balance to Liverpool’s midfield triumvirate.
The imminent return of Thiago Alcantara could see Klopp revert to a 4-3-3 system with the Spaniard partnered alongside Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.
This system inspired two of Liverpool’s best performances this season against Arsenal and Everton and it could be something we see Klopp revert back to against West Ham on Saturday.
David Moyes’ team are particularly dangerous on the counter-attack which they showcased against Manchester City last week, so adding an extra body in midfield could allow Liverpool to dictate the tempo of play more effectively to reduce the risk of giving away chances.
Klopp could still look to maintain the 4-2-3-1 formation that he has utilised in both of Liverpool’s previous two matches. The formation took time to adapt to against Sheffield United but the Reds certainly functioned a lot better in the second half and, given the options at Klopp’s disposal, the tactical tweak made perfect sense.
However, Liverpool cannot become overly reliant on such an attacking system as Klopp risks the team becoming too predictable for opponents to work out.
With that said, it is likely that Klopp will continuously switch between formations to maintain that element of surprise and keep opponents guessing.
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