Liverpool experimented with a new formation on Tuesday night against Rangers in the Champions League, and it worked a treat as they ran out comprehensive 2-0 victors.
Jurgen Klopp has become almost synonymous with his famed 4-3-3 formation over the years, but against Rangers he altered the balance to accommodate an attacking quartet of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.
It was an unfamiliar set-up that saw Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara form a two-man midfield, something Klopp rarely, if ever embraces. But, Liverpool looked completely at ease with the system tweak and largely dictated the tempo of play.
Liverpool news: Klopp going back to basics?
- Liverpool deployed an experimental formation against Rangers, confirmed by Klopp to have been a 4-4-2 (click here for full quotes).
- The formation worked a treat as the Reds recorded a 2-0 victory, with Darwin Nunez looking lively.
- The Uruguayan has struggled at Anfield, and even recently revealed that he doesn’t always understand Klopp’s team talks.
- Klopp could use the formation against Arsenal on Sunday, and Sky Bet are offering odds of 4/1 for Nunez to score & Liverpool to win.
There was discussion about which formation Liverpool ultimately settled on, whether a 4-2-3-1 or a variation of a 4-2-4, but Klopp has since ended the conversation by confirming he deployed a standard 4-4-2.
Talking to BT Sport after the match, Klopp explained: “We went back to a little bit more of a basic 4-4-2 and played it really well.
“We shifted across the pitch really well, made it compact, they couldn’t play through us, they were playing a lot of long balls and we were picking up the second balls.
“The change of tactic definitely helped us today, so we’ll see what happens going forward.”
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The tactical recalibration was a result of Liverpool’s stagnating campaign, in which they’ve really struggled to get going both in the Premier League and Europe (prior to Tuesday night). That sentiment was echoed by Klopp before kick-off, who emphasised the need for a “change” in order to freshen things up.
There were positive performances across the pitch as Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a trademark free-kick and Mohamed Salah converted from the spot. Darwin Nunez, who has so far struggled to hit the ground running, put in an improved performance as he found openings, despite just lacking that bit of precision to open his Champions League account for the Reds.
Those shoots of positivity should give fans a lift heading into Sunday’s Premier League showdown against the early-leaders Arsenal. What won’t give them encouragement, though, is that Nunez doesn’t actually have a clue what’s going on in Klopp’s team talks, as he recently revealed.
“The truth is, I honestly don’t understand anything when he talks in lectures,” Nunez told TNT Sports.
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“Of course, I ask my teammates to see what he said, but I think he is very clear about his style of play. He asks us to do the simple things, not to be afraid to play games, to have confidence.
”Sometimes I feel a little indecisive, I don’t feel completely confident. But as time goes on, it gets better. The coach always gives me confidence. The goals will come. It’s like ketchup, when it comes out a little, it all comes out.”