Liverpool tried a new tactic against Atalanta. It’s one that Diogo Jota can take to the next level if the Reds stick with it.
Jurgen Klopp went with Divock Origi, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah against Atalanta on Wednesday. That meant a couple of rests for Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.
It’s not surprising. Salah missed the Leicester City game, after all, while Origi has barely played this season. It’s tough on Mane, though, who did face Leicester and will likely play Brighton on Saturday.
But it wasn’t just the players who were slightly different. Liverpool tried a subtle new tactic against Atalanta that could prove every interesting.
We saw an unusual amount of switching in this game. It started with Mane left, Origi central, and Salah right – but didn’t stay that way.
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Yes, these were their ‘primary’ positions, but the trio swapped with one another far more frequently than usual.
On 23 minutes, for instance, we had Salah down the middle, Origi on the left, and Mane floated all the way to the right. We’d frequently see Origi swap with either of the other two throughout the first-half, too.
Liverpool do usually switch throughout games, of course, but this was done consistently over 45 minutes. We saw both Mane and Origi drift to three positions each – that’s certainly not usual in just one half.
It’s an interesting strategy that makes Liverpool very difficult to predict. Not to mention that you could quickly test to see if any defenders struggle against a particular forward.
Does the left-back struggle staying wide? Can the centre-back deal with pace? Can the defence handle cutting runs?
It’s not something every team can do. You need to have three forwards who are all capable of playing every attacking position. The Reds had that with a versatile front-three on Wednesday.
But we think this system could get even better. Liverpool spent £41m on an Origi upgrade in the summer, after all.
Jota seems like a perfect fit for such a tactic. He’s wonderfully adept at playing and scoring from every position in the front-three – exactly what Liverpool need to pull it off.
So while we liked what we saw against Atalanta, we think it could get even better.