Klopp’s Game-Changing Formation: Back to His Dortmund Days

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Liverpool’s Journey to the Pinnacle

In securing the services of our current manager, it allowed Liverpool FC to make giant strides back to the pinnacle of world football. Three decades went steadily by, before once again winning the coveted English League title, which for a club of Liverpool’s standing was unacceptable. FSG were able to adjust and rectify their varying mistakes (after their purchase from the cowboys), as they learned on the job what it would take to make us great again. Greatness in coaching was perhaps the last vital piece in the Anfield puzzle, as the recruitment and development within the academy had already been attended to. A spearhead in leadership was needed to make that final push towards ultimate success, which was undoubtedly achieved after the appointment of Jürgen Klopp.

Klopp’s Legacy: From Dortmund to Anfield

The above words are perhaps ideally suited to what is unfolding for the Reds right now. The era of Klopp and Liverpool was once a relentless force of power and control. The coordinated effort of all parts made the opposition unable to break through, instead opting to defend deep and hope for the best. In arriving as the new boss of Liverpool in 2015, the former Mainz manager replaced Brendan Rodgers an admired and progressive coach who had achieved brilliant success with a 4-2-3-1 system.

The Shift from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3

The pieces within that glorious Borussia Dortmund team were carefully selected, meticulously trained, and utilized in such a manner that two Bundesliga titles were attained against the odds. All LFC related pundits assumed that the charismatic German would alter his new team into a gegenpressing machine, one that replicated the formation he had previously perfected. What happened, was a migration towards 4-3-3, with more license given to his fullbacks and goals stemming more from wider positions, than centrally. The yellow cauldron of Westfalenstadion was replaced by the Red Sea of Anfield, yet the love and silverware soon flowed.

Until it did not, of course.

The Challenges of Last Season

When the wheels eventually came off his German title-winning machine, a short sabbatical was required, before charging full-blooded into the Premier League. In failing to bounce back from his previous employment blip, many have since wondered whether the world-class tactician has surpassed his elite level shelf life. What we witnessed last season was an unmitigated disaster, yet hope was restored with a final flurry of promising games in which a new formation was unearthed. Without the control of the injured magician, Thiago Alcântara, or the departing Naby Keïta, there was a painfully evident lack of control in the Reds’ midfield. The whole fanbase watched on as Jordan Henderson, James Milner, and Fabinho, all struggled to find their form, until Trent Alexander Arnold was ushered into a hybrid role, thereby breathing new life into a fallen giant.

A Summer of Change and New Signings

It is very clear that controlling technicians were required in this summer of change. The superb signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have finally allowed our on-ball patterns of play to evolve, which have created the question as to whether our celebrated number 66 is still needed in that area of the pitch.

The Potential of a Balanced Side

The rise of the world’s greatest attacking fullback came about due to the domination and elite parts around him. Something happened at the weekend which has made many supporters question whether the change in personnel is enough to revert to a more balanced side. In losing our Argentina World Cup winner to a harsh red card, it forced the team to relinquish the hybrid initiative due to having only ten red men on the pitch. Despite the drop in numbers, both Trent and Robbo looked far more comfortable on their respective flanks, whilst our Hungarian import was able to dominate and play-make his way through the game. Imagine this with Cheick Doucouré holding in that middle ground…

Suddenly, the above looks sensational, if of course, that elite potential destroyer is secured. The control, dynamism, coverage, width, and basic nature of the formation, would stop the over complication that is becoming exploited. The failing parts have now been replaced, therefore, surely it is prudent to enforce a system that allows every player to excel in their best positions…?

For me, the question is easily answered, as I want to see our homegrown right back integrating with these new assets from his true position. In becoming that rampaging fullback once more, he would soon start offering the ammunition we adore from wider positions. His race to make a double six pivot will continue to be countered on, which is why I think his movement around the right hand and centre (of the pitch) should be less frequent and not continuously forced. We have almost all the tools to make this system a success, we just must make that one last move in the window to become what we may be destined to be.

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