Here’s how Jurgen Klopp could adapt his 4-4-2 after Liverpool lose Diogo Jota to injury. The Reds will have to shift things about.
Liverpool confirmed on Tuesday that Diogo Jota will be out for months. He’s the second forward to face a long spell out, with Luis Diaz already on the sidelines.
So what does that mean for Liverpool? The Reds have a lot of football to play and a new formation that they’re still figuring out. Jurgen Klopp already has a tough time trying to fit players in his 4-4-2 and now they keep dropping out.
We think he has a couple of options, though. Here’s how we think the 4-4-2 could look without Jota.
Liverpool’s 4-4-2 after Diogo Jota injury
This is how Liverpool shaped up at Ibrox last week. Klopp moved away from traditional wingers and instead played two playmakers – Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho.
Both played very well, too. It’s a system that makes Liverpool more compact, with wide players who are looking to drift in between the lines, rather than stretch play. Possession is a little easier, too, as both of them want to drop in and find the ball.
We also think it opens up more possibilities with the front two. With wingers, Liverpool have to play a support-striker just behind their main goalscorer. That’s usually Roberto Firmino, but Jota played the role, too.
But with playmakers drifting in for the ball, there’s less of a need for a deep forward. Klopp could instead play two goalscorers looking to get in behind and threaten. That might be both Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez, then.
The alternative is to play either Elliott or Carvalho in a wide role and then a direct striker/winger in the other wide role. That might mean Carvalho lining up on the left, Nunez central with Firmino and then Salah back wide on the right.
Or Salah could keep his central role – one that he’s thriving in – and Elliott could play on the right. It would mean Nunez pulls left and we think there’s a lot of potential.
Klopp did try that against City and while Nunez wasn’t perfect, he showed enough for real optimism as a wide player. This is perhaps the ‘safer’ option – allowing Liverpool pace out wide and a more traditional front-two.