How Liverpool should line out until the World Cup after Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz injuries 3 months ago

How Liverpool should line out until the World Cup after Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz injuries

4-3-3 is no longer the way to go.

Liverpool pulled off a fantastic win against Manchester City, but with Luis Diaz and now Diogo Jota out until after the World Cup, we look at how the Reds should line out.

Advertisement

Jurgen Klopp's tried and trusted 4-3-3 formation has seen his side win every trophy available to him, and even when their form dipped, they always persevered with it, and eventually, it would pay dividends again.

However, with Liverpool enduring their worst start to the Premier League in over 10 years, it became a case of drastic measures for a drastic situation.

Against Rangers in the Champions League, the German tactician went for what he describes as a 4-4-2 but is really more of a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Advertisement

Jordan Henderson and Thiago sat deep, providing cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas to bomb forward, while Mohammad Salah, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez all started in a four-man attack.

Defensively they looked much more solid, winning the game 2-0 thanks to a classic Trent free kick and a Mo Salah penalty.

The fact that they relied on set pieces however, may have been a slight cause of concern, seeing as their next game was against league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates.

Advertisement

This time, the problems were reversed, as the away side were shambolic in defence, over-complicating every move, and struggling to play basic balls out from the back.

Going forward, however, they looked much more dangerous and a wonderful attack from Diaz on the right flank set up Nunez with a brilliant goal, and an equally terrific move saw them get a second through the rejuvenated Roberto Firmino.

Defensive errors cost them the game, however, as Arsenal won 3-2, so Klopp had some huge decisions to make going into the Rangers away tie in mid-week.

Advertisement

The big call was dropping Salah, who has been out of sorts, but more importantly, was the decision to keep with this new 4-3-2-1 formation, or 4-2-4, depending on how you see it.

Harvey Elliot was introduced as one of the wide attackers now that Diaz was out injured, and was a revelation, playing some of his best football yet in a Liverpool shirt, even bagging his first goal in Europe.

Firmino remained the man on form grabbing a brace, while Nunez chipped in with a tidy goal set up by Joe Gomez who started in right back for the injured Trent.

Salah then came off the bench to net the quickest hat trick in Champions League history, taking just six minutes and 12 seconds to do so, and suddenly the doom and gloom surrounding Anfield started to lift.

Advertisement

Heading into the weekend against Manchester City, arguably the best team in world football, and possessing the most lethal striker in the game right now, Erling Halaand, we were about to see if Liverpool truly have found their groove again.

More complications arose when Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate were ruled out through injury, so Gomez had to shift into centre-back alongside Virgil van Dijk, and James Milner took the position of right-back.

At 36 years old, and up against a flying Phil Foden, fans in red were fearing the worst, but it was as though everything had clicked into place.

Elliot kept his spot out wide, while Firmino, Jota, and Salah filled the rest of the attacking spots, and Henderson was replaced by the more industrial Fabinho in midfield.

Despite all of the personnel changes, Liverpool's new formation and attitude made them look like the Liverpool of old, as they pressed with a high line, defended from the front, and countered Manchester City with rapid intent.

In the second half, Elliot played a little deeper, allowing Firmino to take up his usual role in the false nine position and it almost paid off immediately as the two combined to release Salah through on goal, only for Ederson to produce a wonder save.

Despite the miss, the important thing was that the Egyptian King was getting opportunities again, especially from his favoured right wing position, and when the golden chance came from an Alison kick, he was never going to miss it, and sealed the win for his team.

The bad news was that Jota was stretchered off injured, and all fears were confirmed as it has been revealed that the Portugal star will miss the upcoming World Cup.

With the injury list piling up, but the good times seemingly on the brink of returning, Liverpool need to make it to the World Cup so their players can get a break, and be in a good position to attack the league table after the tournament.

Gomez put in a man-of-the-match performance and looks set to keep his place at centre-back, and although Milner was brilliant at the weekend, it is likely that Trent will take that right-back position again.

The holding midfield will be a rotation of Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho, while the front four will be laid out as Elliot, Firmino, Nunez and Salah.

Fábio Carvalho is probably just behind Elliot at the moment, but both are young players who will share game time fairly equally.

This position as a wide attacker will suit them both more than the traditional 4-3-3 that Klopp would have normally gone with.

Liverpool injuries

In that midfield three, you have so much responsibility covering the full-backs who are ordered to bomb forward, while in this front-four formation, the only defensive responsibility they really have is the opposition's full-back.

Both are creative players, so they will have opportunities to strut their stuff out wide, go forward, and get on the end of some attacks, particularly as Trent and Roberston like to switch the play in a single move.

However, they don't have the same burden to score as they would if they were a part of a front three, so it's nice middle ground for the two players to find their feet and play a part in helping Liverpool rack up as many points as possible before the World Cup break.