Why Jurgen Klopp will change formation next season

Why Jurgen Klopp will change formation next season

Here is why I think Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will change from his synonymous 4-3-3 formation to an old favourite 4-2-3-1.

Klopp is one of the godfathers of the 'Gegenpressing' style. Whilst he was managing Mainz between 2001-08, he started to show a lot of promise with the system.

However, it wasn't until he joined Borussia Dortmund in 2008 where he started to see the fruits of his labour.

The German cemented Dortmund as a team to be feared, not just in the Bundesliga, but in the Champions League too.

In what is considered one of the most one-sided leagues in the world, Klopp dethroned the dominant Bayern Munich, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles.

Since he left Dortmund back in 2015, Bayern have won every league title.

During his time in Germany, Klopp would utilise a formation which Liverpool fans have rarely seen the German play.

It was his 4-2-3-1 and it caused havoc in Germany. This formation helped Klopp become the face behind the tactic 'gegenpressing'.

The German would usually play a flat-back four, but his full-backs had a bit more freedom, something which Klopp still employs today.

However, the midfield shaped up a lot differently from what we're used to. Instead of playing a sole defensive midfielder, Klopp would usually play Sebastian Kehl and Nuri Sahin in a midfield two.

In Klopp's Liverpool side, our more advanced midfielders are there to cover full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson when they go on their marauding runs.

Sahin and Kehl did cover the full-backs, but they were also there to help the two defenders on counter-attacks and also recycle the ball to the front four as much as possible.

Now for the fun part. Instead of having three people up front, Klopp practically had a front four during his time at Dortmund.

Marco Reus or Henrikh Mkhitaryan would usually be behind the sole striker or on the wing with Jonas Hofmann or sometimes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang occupying the other flank.

To help Klopp up top, the German possessed one of the best strikers to ever play the game, Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish forward has previously described Klopp as a "father figure" to him and has always mentioned the German as to why he is the player he has become.

Lewandowski was the focal point of Borussia Dortmund's attack and he is the main reason why they won two league titles and reached a Champions League final, something that should've been impossible due to what they were up against.

When Dortmund sold all of Klopp's key players and basically left him without a functioning team, the German eventually left and started his new career at Liverpool back in 2015.

As soon as he joined Liverpool, Klopp realised that he couldn't play the 4-2-3-1 formation he has become so familiar with. Instead, he went for a 4-3-3 and he's never looked back.

Instead of playing a goal-scoring forward, Klopp utilised Roberto Firmino as a false nine, which would create space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who would essentially become wide strikers.

This tactic has worked wonders. Liverpool won the two biggest trophies with the aforementioned front three - the Champions League and Premier League title.

But, Klopp has experimented with a 4-2-3-1 at times during his Liverpool career.

He usually does it when we need goals, but he has tried to start with the formation in a few games, most notably during Jose Mourinho's last match in charge of Manchester United. Liverpool won the game 3-1.

Now, here is why I believe Klopp is going to go back to his old system of 4-2-3-1.

Even though Liverpool are not short of players in midfield, the quality is very limited. Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are by far the club's two best midfielders. Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson are good back-ups but, nowhere near the other two's standards.

With it being widely reported Liverpool are not signing a midfielder this summer, I think that's the first reason Klopp will change the formation.

The other reason why I think a change is coming is down to the signing of Darwin Nunez.

Nunez is not your Firmino-type player, he is a 6'2, extremely agile, pacy and strong forward, something Liverpool haven't had since Klopp joined.

Instead of having 5'8 wingers to aim at now, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will have a tall forward to get on the end of their crosses.

With the addition of Fabio Carvalho too, who played most of last season behind the striker for Fulham, it seems like this transfer window has been focused around finding players to fit the 4-2-3-1 system.

If Carvalho has a slow start to his Liverpool career, we also have Firmino who can play the 10 role.

I would be very surprised if Klopp didn't at least test this formation out in pre-season, especially considering that he will have a full squad available for the training camp, something which is a rarity nowadays.

That pre-season training camp will give all the players enough time to fully adapt to a 4-2-3-1 system and start the campaign with something Premier League clubs will not be expecting.

Time will only tell if I'm right or wrong, but, whatever formation Klopp plays next season, it's bound to be very exciting to watch.

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