Jurgen Klopp showed off Liverpool’s most dangerous weapon this season in the win over Norwich. A 61st-minute sub did the damage.
Jurgen Klopp had a decision to make up top for this one. Was he to stick with the ‘traditional’ front-three of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane?
The alternative was Diogo Jota, of course, and Klopp did go with the Portuguese forward, leaving out Firmino. Perhaps that was tactical, perhaps it was fitness-based – either way, it changed how Liverpool operate.
Jota is a much more direct forward than Firmino. He tries to play on the defender’s shoulder, running in behind and stretching teams.
That led to Liverpool’s opener, too. Trent Alexander-Arnold sent a ball into the box from deep, where both Jota and Salah were waiting.
Their joint presence led to rushed decisions at the back from Norwich, Salah poked it forward, and Jota finished. It was a direct, crazy kind of goal.
In the second half, Klopp shook things up, though. He took Jota off for Firmino on 61 minutes, again changing how the Reds played.
The Brazilian looks to drop deep and link with midfield. He’ll move around, pull defenders and create space for wingers to run into.
And that’s exactly how the second goal came about. Firmino drifted wide to collect the ball, with Mane moving inside. He found his teammate with a pass, whose deflected shot fell to Salah. The Egyptian fired one across goal for Firmino to tap in.
It was a goal of movement and cohesion – Liverpool at their best.
Klopp shows off options in Norwich win
Klopp really showed off something special with this sub. He made one simple change and it completely shook up how to defend Liverpool.
With Jota there, you must drop deep and try to crowd him out. With Firmino, teams will push up to try and deny him space on the ball.
One is a more hectic, direct Liverpool. The other a more controlled, fluid side. Being able to defend both is very, very difficult.
And that should worry opponents. They won’t know exactly what they’re facing when up against the Reds, nor do they know if or when Klopp will change it.
That can be a dangerous weapon this season. On top of all the other positives, Liverpool look more difficult to stop than ever.
For 5 things we learned from the game, click here.