Opinion: Liverpool could copy Solskjaer's 4-2-3-1 formation at Old Trafford
Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Opinion: Liverpool could copy Solskjaer's 4-2-3-1 formation at Old Trafford

Liverpool could copy Manchester United’s formation at Old Trafford on Sunday. There’s a case to match up with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s system.

In all likelihood, Liverpool play 4-3-3 on Sunday. That’s essentially how Jurgen Klopp sets his team up every week and it’s the formation that works best for the Reds.

United, though, are strange opposition. They typically play a 4-2-3-1 but badly struggle to find balance within it. Their front-four are very, very advanced while they lack the midfield to properly cover.

Though, there’s a case that no midfield could cover such an attacking forward line.

But that does present a problem to Liverpool. With Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford pushing so high – let alone with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line – the Reds can’t really afford to push up.

That might pin back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, depending on how brave Liverpool feel. And that seriously dents the 4-3-3.

Is there a case to go 4-2-3-1, too, then?

Could Liverpool change formation at Old Trafford?

We’ve seen Klopp change things up before. Against Manchester City last season, the boss went with a 4-2-3-1 – though, it was nearly a 4-2-4.

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Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota played as a front-three with Roberto Firmino slightly behind. It’s Liverpool’s version of an all-out attack but it comes with other benefits.

For one, there’s an obvious pass through midfield to Firmino, while still having three players trying to get in behind. Liverpool can really stretch teams like that and United are there to be stretched.

With those two holding players doing so much defensive work – covering the flanks, covering the forwards – they need to be truly elite. We’re not sure United have the right players to do that, as seen at Leicester City last weekend.

In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came out of that game asking if United ‘need more legs in there’ as the midfield struggled to cover all the necessary ground.

Liverpool, though, boast Fabinho and Jordan Henderson as a midfield pairing. Both are accomplished holding midfielders who can perform the role to a fantastic level. Not only that but their forwards are all players who trackback quickly and aggressively.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

If Liverpool do match United’s formation, then, we’re confident that the Reds will get the better of them.

Playing such a wide attack also lessens the need for the full-backs to push on. That might benefit Liverpool, who could struggle to push the full-backs on anyway.

Another bonus is that Liverpool are currently short in midfield as it is. Taking one midfielder out for another forward might mean a stronger XI – personnel-wise, anyway.

One last thing to consider – an aggressive formation could force United into a shoot-out. With Liverpool scoring at an unbelievable rate, deliberately stretching the game could work in their favour.

We still expect Liverpool to play 4-3-3 at Old Trafford but there’s a good case for a 4-2-3-1. With injuries and positional matchups to deal with, Klopp can afford to change.

At the very least, it makes for an interesting Plan B.

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