Liverpool have a chance to try something very brave after Raphael Varane was ruled out for Real Madrid. The Spaniards are without two key defenders.
Well that’s levelled the playing field a little. Raphael Varane will not face Liverpool today, meaning Real Madrid don’t have the Frenchman or Sergio Ramos.
And that balances things. Liverpool, of course, won’t have Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez. Or Joel Matip, for that matter.
But the Reds do have a slight advantage – they knew before hand. Real initially planned for this game with both Varane and Ramos in mind. Liverpool built a new defence to cover their injuries.
Real won’t have that ‘luxury’, if you can call it that. Zinedine Zidane must come up with a defensive plan on short notice.
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But we think Jurgen Klopp probably should, too. He and Liverpool have a chance to do something very brave here.
Real will have a weak defence that isn’t used to playing with one another. Liverpool, then, know where to put the pressure.
They’ll want to attack Real’s backline and the best way to do that is undoubtedly with a front-four. Get Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota all out on the pitch, running and causing havoc.
It means a 4-2-4 formation – a very old-school idea, made famous by Brazil in 1970. You don’t usually see it these days, such is the lack of control.
It’s a hyper-aggressive system that effectively bypasses midfield to allow the forwards complete freedom. The result is direct football that can prove relentless.
Klopp has already teased the idea.
“You will have to wait [to see what I do]!” he said, per the Mirror.
“Did Zinedine say anything about lineups? We will see. But [the 4-2-4] looked good huh at Arsenal? Looked good at Man City too.”
It looked great against Arsenal and we saw it as a message to the Premier League. Now, perhaps, Klopp has a chance to send a similar message to the Champions League.
Liverpool have the players and the system to attack a team’s weakness. If Klopp feels brave, he has a chance to do just that this evening.