Liverpool must change their formation if they want Jude Bellingham ‘at his best’. Jamie Carragher explained why.
There are now consistently reports suggesting that Liverpool want Jude Bellingham. The latest is from The Times, though it’s not good news. They say Borussia Dortmund’s £100m asking price could prevent the Reds from signing him.
But Cadena SER journalist Pacojo suggested in recent weeks that Bellingham would prefer a move to Anfield. In other words, no one really knows what’s going on and this story will run and run well into 2023.
Liverpool, though, do have a few things to consider with Bellingham. The price is a significant factor in that – for instance, should they pay a massive fee for Bellingham if they need more than one midfielder next summer? Splitting that £100m+ over two or three players may be the more intelligent thing to do.
We prefer Liverpool just sign Bellingham, admittedly. He’s a sensational talent and already one of the best midfielders around at 19. Let Jurgen Klopp work with him for a bit and you’ll get a talent up there with the best we’ve seen at Anfield. Or at least, that’s how it feels on paper.
But as we say, there’s more to consider. One of those is Liverpool’s playing style and comments from Jamie Carragher this week highlight that.
Liverpool’s formation for Jude Bellingham
Carragher talked to Sky Sports about England’s plans for he World Cup and how Gareth Southgate should use Bellingham. The former Liverpool defender believes a 4-3-3 is the way to go, not the 3-at-the-back systems that the England boss tends to move towards.
“He’s more of an attacking midfield player than a sitting midfield player,” says Carragher. “Could he play central midfield? Of course he could. And if you’re playing that back three, Bellingham can go forward and you’ve still got the back-three defence, plus Declan Rice – four players behind the ball – and maybe one of the wing-backs as well.
“But in an ideal world, how he plays for Borussia Dortmund is in a 4-3-3 and he’s one of the attacking No8s. That’s him at his best.”
And that’s something for Liverpool to consider, too. Bellingham undoubtedly looks superior in a midfield three where he’s allowed a bit more freedom going forward. Carragher compares him to Steven Gerrard in the article and we think he’s right – the former captain was always more dangerous in a team with two other midfielders. Attempts to use him in a two always fell flat.
We think it would be the same with Bellingham, which creates a problem. Klopp switched to 4-4-2 this season as the 4-3-3 just wasn’t working. In particular, it appears that Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah struggle to play together with the Egyptian out wide. A partnership in a 4-4-2 may be the best way to use them together.
But if Liverpool do want to spend £100m on Bellingham, they want him at his best and that means changing back to the 4-3-3. There’s little sense paying all that money to use him in a system he doesn’t necessarily fit into.
Signing Bellingham, then, means changing back to 4-3-3 and finding a way to make it work up top. Is one player worth that change? We think so. He’s a special talent and one Liverpool should go all-out for.