One thing that we have hardly ever seen is Jurgen Klopp using a back three at Liverpool.
The German boss uses 4-3-3 almost religiously.
We have seen him revert to a 4-2-3-1, a favourite of his Borussia Dortmund days, here and there, but 4-3-3 is his Plan A.
And we cannot fault him for it. The formation has helped the Reds to fantastic success during Klopp’s period as manager.
Yet last season, we saw that it can be useful to have a strong Plan B.
Liverpool had a season to forget, despite it ending on a strong point with a third-place finish.
We must remember how bad things looked for a while.
It was not the fault of the manager. It was injuries and fatigue paired with a lack of crowd. That much is obvious.
Yet there was a stage where we thought that some form of change could have been carried out.
The Reds couldn’t buy a goal, never mind a win, for a large spell.
But nothing changed. There was clearly no Plan B in place.
Granted, it worked out in the finish. There was a fair bit of luck involved, though, and Liverpool may not have had to rely on it had they come up with a solution earlier.
So, could trialling a back three this pre-season be an option?
Liverpool have the players to suit a back three
First things first, we are by no means suggesting that Liverpool abandon the 4-3-3.
That should, of course, continue to be the go-to formation going forward.
What we are advocating is for Jurgen Klopp to have a 3-4-3 system prepared for if it is needed.
Trial it now and make sure that the players know what to do if they ever have to revert to it.
We know that the boss says that he would rather his players know one system inside-out rather than half-know numerous systems.
We have the players to do it.
In Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Ibou Konate, we have four top-class centre-backs. Any combination of those in a back three would be brilliant.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are perfectly suited to playing as wingbacks.
Any pair of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Thiago and Naby Keita would form a world-class double-pivot,
And finally, the front three would work exactly how it does in a 4-3-3.
There could come a stage in the season where 4-3-3 just isn’t working. Rather than flogging a dead horse, Liverpool could surprise the opposition by bringing out a new shape.
If there is an injury crisis in midfield then this would be a great way of playing with just two in there, rather than three.
Now is the perfect time to try it.
Use one of the three remaining pre-season games as a trial run. Train it for a few days beforehand then use it in the game so the players have an idea of what to do if they ever have to use it.