It’s about time for Jurgen Klopp to consider a drastic formation change with Liverpool. The Reds just can’t get things together right now.
Liverpool are playing with a midfielder in defence and likely will for at least two more games. Big games, too.
The Telegraph claims that Fabinho, who missed the defeat at Leicester, may miss the upcoming games against RB Leipzig and Everton.
Well, that means Jordan Henderson probably isn’t moving from the back. Maybe Klopp risks Ben Davies alongside Ozan Kabak – but it feels unlikely to throw them in untested for such big games.
Liverpool could really use Henderson back in midfield, though. They remain undefeated with his starting there, after all.
It’s something that could really help Thiago. Jamie Carragher called him a ‘liability defensively’ against Leicester – but it’s not entirely his fault.
There’s no shielding midfielder in front of the defence, meaning Thiago has to try and protect a weak backline. That will expose him.
But how does Klopp make this work? How does he get everything he needs in a way that makes Liverpool stronger.
We think it might take a formation change.
Liverpool stick pretty rigidly to 4-3-3 but a 3-4-3 or 4-2-3-1 could work well.
3-4-3, for instance, would allow for three centre-backs. Suddenly, the backline is a little stronger, easing the pressure on midfield to protect it.
You can still have Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold wide but with a third covering defender, perhaps they’re more confident bombing forward.
Importantly, Klopp knows that new signing Davies can operate in a back three.
“I love a lot about his play,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “He’s a really good footballer, looks like a proper leader in this Preston team, good in challenges, looks football smart, can play different positions because he played in a back three and a back four and all these things.”
Henderson, too, would have a little more security in a three. He’s not a natural defender, after all, but with two alongside him, he could play with more freedom.
And then there’s a 4-2-3-1.
It creates a natural two-man shield in front of the defence – something that could benefit everyone. When there isn’t an obvious player who can do it on his own, sharing the responsibility between two players may work.
Then there’s a more attacking midfielder who can play without that responsibility. Perhaps Thiago behind Roberto Firmino?
It’s the simplest formation change but one that could really help the midfield and defence.
And with Liverpool struggling for form, a formation change could help Klopp bring stability.