Jurgen Klopp made a half-time tactical change vs Norwich City on Tuesday. It’s one that offers a glimpse into Liverpool’s exciting future.
Liverpool had a look at their future against Norwich City in the EFL Cup. We saw a young centre-back pairing in Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate. Conor Bradley and Kaide Gordon both started on the right flank, making their debuts.
Curtis Jones controlled the game from a holding midfield role, while Tyler Morton came off the bench to do the same in the second half.
And that latter change was particularly notable. It switched up Liverpool’s shape and, potentially, gave us all a glimpse of the future.
Tactical change vs Norwich
“We had Curtis in the half-space and Tyler in the six and it looked much [more] natural immediately so then the boys passed quicker, passed smarter and we changed [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain], a little bit higher on the pitch on the left-wing,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com after the game.
“And Taki [Minamino], who is obviously in really good shape, more in the centre and half-spaces so Ox could use his speed and Taki connected the game together with Tyler and Curtis.”
That change made Liverpool look like this from midfield onwards:
Minamino – Jones
Gordon – Origi – Oxlade-Chamberlain
As Klopp mentions, that made Liverpool take advantage of the ‘half spaces’ a little better. Those would be the tight gaps between the defensive lines, where the team hopes to do damage.
Minamino, in particular, drifts from midfield into those forward roles, typically on the wing. Oxlade-Chamberlain does the opposite when starting wide – he moves inwards and can drop quite deep.
Those movements then allow for Jones to push forward into the vacated space. Or as Minamino moves wide, Gordon could move across the line and get far more central – especially if Oxlade-Chamberlain drops deep to cover Minamino. We frequently saw Gordon the other side of Origi as the game wound down.
It was all incredibly fluid and almost certainly how Liverpool want to operate long-term. Swap out Minamino for Harvey Elliott and you’ve got the same system – a player who starts in midfield but naturally wants to drift wide and forward.
And for Oxlade-Chamberlain, we might see Jones there long-term. He’s played from the left frequently and his ability to play both there and in midfield allows for these fluid movements.
As Liverpool look to take advantage of ‘half spaces’, this kind of movement is vital. They’re near impossible to mark and as players shift about, someone will eventually find space to operate in.
Jones, Gordon and Elliott are likely key to that long-term. As is Trent Alexander-Arnold – he’s moved into midfield with regularity this season.
So we believe we got a look at Liverpool’s future system last night. We’ll see far more interchanging, far more fluidity and several players with multiple positions.
And that, to us, is very exciting.