Former Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri has admitted that he’s baffled by his old club’s form this season.
Shaqiri, who now plays for Chicago Fire, was speaking to the press via the Liverpool Echo ahead of the beginning of the MLS season. Questioned about his former team’s struggles, Shaqiri suggested that Jurgen Klopp may need to try a new formation.
“This is a normal process in football that can happen. Especially this season, you can see that Liverpool is maybe not in their best form. They are struggling a bit with performances,” said the 31-year-old. “I’m a bit far now from what’s going on there so it’s a bit difficult. I see just maybe they are playing the same football many years, and the other teams are getting better, too.
“So they analyse the team and probably they need, maybe, to change their formation sometimes, because I think Liverpool didn’t play many, many formations, and they played a long time with the same formation.
“Maybe they (opposing teams) now know how to play against Liverpool, and this was the same with Barcelona with the tiki-taka. Every football at one time, you know, they (learned) how to play against it.
“So maybe they have to change a bit. But I am too far, like I said before, to say my opinion because I am now gone from there and I don’t know what really happens there at the moment. But I’m pretty sure Jurgen is going to turn this around, and they know what they are doing and I’m pretty sure as soon as possible they are going to be back at the top.”
Klopp still sticking with the 4-3-3
Shaqiri makes a point that Liverpool supporters have been screaming from the hilltops all season long. With the team badly out of form, Klopp has barely deviated from his tried and tested 4-3-3. It would have been nice to see a little bit of tactical fluency at times.
To be fair to Jurgen, there was a period where he experimented with a 4-2-4 system. But sticking four of Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah on the pitch at the same time become impossible, thanks to injuries.
With only Diaz now missing and Cody Gakpo added to the squad, it would be good to see that experiment return at some point. For now though, Klopp is sticking with what he knows.
You can certainly see the benefits of that. Liverpool have been successful in the formation and the players are well versed in what’s expected of them.
But with some new faces joining over the last 18 months, and more to follow in the summer, maybe it’s time to switch things up.
Ironically, Shaqiri himself was one of the players to have really been hurt by Klopp’s tactical stubbornness. The Switzerland international never seemed to find his place in the 4-3-3 and faded out of the team as a result. Perhaps this is his way of subtly advising his old manager that it’s time for a change.
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