Jurgen Klopp made a brave decision against Arsenal on Saturday and it should worry everyone else in the Premier League. The Liverpool boss succeeded to perfection.
Jurgen Klopp will have raised a few eyebrows as Liverpool returned to Premier League action. He left Diogo Jota on the bench.
Jota has been electric since his return. He created the opener against RB Leipzig, scored the winner against Wolves and then shone for Portugal over the international break.
We had him down as a certainty to start this one. Instead, Klopp went with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as his front-three.
And it worked very well. Liverpool dominated for an hour with that system, pressing like mad and putting Arsenal under constant pressure.
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The Reds just couldn’t find a goal, though. Klopp then made a very brave change – he took off Andy Robertson for Jota.
James Milner moved to left-back and Klopp has all four of his star forwards on the pitch. Three minutes later, it was 1-0. Seven minutes after the sub, it was 2-0.
Liverpool eventually won the game 3-0 with Jota scoring twice. They were fantastic.
And this should terrify everyone in the Premier League. Klopp and Liverpool have an incredible weapon at their disposal here.
Klopp was able to rest one star forward and use him to change the game. It’s something he’s never had before but it was used to perfection against Arsenal.
The game was under control so the boss went all-out-attack, throwing on a fourth forward to put the Gunners to the sword. But he could have used Jota differently.
If Liverpool were already up, we could have seen a straight swap. Or maybe Klopp could have taken Firmino off for Jota, forming a more direct attack.
Perhaps he doesn’t bring him on at all, instead just resting his star.
Klopp used Jota for just 30 minutes against Arsenal – that was brave. Going 4-2-4 was even braver. Liverpool having those decisions in their locker, and winning 3-0 on the back of them, is a terrifying prospect for everyone else.
Liverpool don’t have to run their forwards into the ground anymore this season. Nor do opponents know which combination they’re up against – and it can change mid-game.
We’re simply not sure you can prepare for that.