Liverpool have a new trio that could prove game-changing this season. The Reds need something like this.
Liverpool built their success over the last few years on one trio – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. They might have a new one.
Mane is again involved but this time he’s working with Curtis Jones and Andy Robertson. The three of them can form an interesting triangle.
That imagine, from right to left, is Liverpool’s average positions against Sheffield United on Sunday. The most notable thing about it? Jones is the furthest-forward central player.
Mane has drifted so far inwards than Jones has the left-wing space. Between them, they moved inside and out to create some havoc.
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And then you’ve got Robertson. He works with both, attacking the byline when neither is wide. Alternatively, the Scot has two players moving out there to work moves with.
Liverpool haven’t had something like this before as they’ve lacked a player like Jones. Their midfielders have been far more pragmatic, rather than actively trying to find attacking space.
But that’s Jones’s strength. He can do the defensive work but thrives when pushing forward. His history as a left-winger at youth-level helps massively here.
He’s comfortable drifting into the space that Mane vacates – wherever that is. Jones got his goal from a central spot but frequently played wide-left, too. It’s a perfect dove-tail with Mane, who also wants the freedom to move inside.
Robertson is the ‘safety’ here, then. He’s a player Liverpool can rely on to consistently attack down the line whenever space is there. That’s important.
There will be times when both Jones and Mane are inside – that’s just going to happen in games. But with Robertson being so reliable, Liverpool always have width.
For us, this is a trio that teams will struggle to stop. There is so much movement, energy and ability on the ball that we don’t see how to mark them.
You certainly can’t man-mark Mane or Jones. And it creates a nightmare if your plan is to man-mark Robertson, as Everton did with Seamus Coleman.
Liverpool have three players who naturally overload the area. If Robertson stayed back, it creates a two-on-one vs the opposition full-back. They can all drag players around to create space for one another, too.
At the very least, it’s three creative players who can interchange and ask major tactical questions. That kind of strength and cohesion is exactly what Liverpool need in a season ravaged by injuries.