Liverpool will have to make at least one change against Watford today. It might be time for Jurgen Klopp to turn to a rarely-seen tactic.
No Curtis Jones, then. The 20-year-old won’t face Watford today after picking up an issue with England Under 21s. He joins Thiago and Harvey Elliott as injured midfielders.
But they, of course, are Liverpool’s three best options as progressive, ball-playing midfielders. The Reds just won’t really have one at Vicarage Road.
Throw in absences for Alisson and Fabinho, too – they won’t be back in time after Brazil’s late fixture against Uruguay. Liverpool are going to be short here.
So with that in mind, we think Jurgen Klopp should turn to a rarely-seen tactic against Watford.
Liverpool to change vs Watford
Essentially, Klopp can rely on his defence and his attack here. He has a full repertoire of options in both, in fact.
And so perhaps it’s best to bypass midfield a little. We’ve seen the boss do it before with a 4-2-4 formation, leaning into his world-class attack and limiting the effect of sort midfield numbers.
Klopp could use whatever back-four he wants, followed by a midfield pairing who can simply sit in front of defence and shield things. It makes some sense, given those progressive midfielders are all missing.
Jordan Henderson could play a traditional two-man midfield role with Naby Keita, for instance. The two can focus on linking defence with attack, leaving the attacking complexity to an in-form front-four.
Because if Klopp did pick all of his strikers, we can’t see Watford keeping up. Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane have popped up with important goals this season. Roberto Firmino has been electric from the bench at times.
And Mohamed Salah, of course, has arguably been the world’s best player.
Leaning into those four to do the creating and the scoring makes sense to us. Liverpool shouldn’t feel too many of the effects from missing midfielders and can rely on firepower to get through this one.
Is it ideal? No – but nothing will be today. This, though, could at least see Liverpool lean where they’re strong.