Should Klopp consider a back-three in 2021-22?

Embed from Getty Images

For much of Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield reign, Liverpool have favored a 4-3-3 shape. In this system, the Reds have enjoyed defensive solidity, offensive prowess and become one of the most dominant forces in world football. The results speak for themselves regarding the effectiveness of this shape, with the well-rounded formation taking Liverpool to Champions League and Premier League success. While the Reds weren’t always ruthless in their title-winning season, few can deny that they were efficient. But is it time for Klopp to freshen things up? Well, he may have the chance to try something new in 2021-22.   

The Players to Experiment 

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool wasted no time strengthening their defense after the injury crisis of 2020-21, signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig for £36 million. The Frenchman is a highly-talented young defender, and he possesses the pace to thrive in the Reds’ high defensive line. As per the official Bundesliga website, the 22-year-old has the speed to match the league’s fastest attackers, while he also has the strength to muscle them off the ball. As a result, Konate’s arrival on Merseyside isn’t only sensible from a depth standpoint, but it also opens the door to a potential new shape.   

With Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Virgil van Dijk all hopefully returning from injury in time for the start of the season, Klopp could go from having no options at the back, to several. It’s no secret that Gomez and Van Dijk thrive in Liverpool’s defensive line because of their recovery pace and positional awareness, and Konate could slot alongside them to form a formidable back three. While Konate played a the heart of the Leipzig back-three in his few matches last season, he could also play to the left of Van Dijk to allow the Dutchman to take control as the sweeper instead. The shape could also ease Andy Robertson’s and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive responsibility, giving them license to create further up the field. This transition would be straightforward for the Scotsman, who’s played several games as a wing-back for his national team.   

Would It Hinder Their Attacking Play? 

Embed from Getty Images

If Liverpool were to switch to a back three, it could serve them well from a defensive standpoint. Offensively, however, the transition may not be as seamless. It’s no secret that Klopp favors an attack of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, meaning that the German is unlikely to move away from a front three. As such, it somewhat limits the six-time European champions to a 3-4-3. That said, following Georginio Wijnaldum’s free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, it would potentially mean that the Reds wouldn’t need a replacement in the market as they’d need one fewer starting midfielder. 

By allowing Alexander-Arnold and Robertson to push further forward, a back-three shape would enhance Liverpool’s threat from wide areas. Not only that, but it would close the gap between the wing-backs and the offensive wingers, thus allowing Mane and Salah to take up more central positions. Crucially, this alteration could spark Mane back into life. If the Senegalese winger rediscovers his form, Liverpool could regain the title in 2021-22, and they are 11/2 in football betting to do so, as of June 18th.   

As touched on above, Liverpool’s success with 4-3-3 speaks for itself, and Klopp may feel that there’s no need to scrap his favored system after one below-par, injury-filled campaign. The Reds will be back with a vengeance in 2021-22, and Konate gives the club’s manager plenty of tactical food for thought.


you might also enjoy…

The Longball Preview Show – Derby Day in Merseyside

On this special midweek episode of the Longball podcast, John is over the moon with Rangnick’s announcement and United’s performance against Chelsea. Meanwhile, Declan is concerned about the Hammers’ recent run of form, and the boys try and get to the bottom of what’s gone wrong with Everton this season ahead of their clash with Liverpool. All of that and a whole lot more on this special episode of the Longball Premier League Preview Show. Submit any questions for the show to themastermindsite.com/contact.

The Longball Preview Show – He Rang in the Nick of time!

On this week’s Longball Preview Show, John is over the moon as United appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager. John is without Declan this week, but he’s joined by Bundesliga Weekly’s Brandon Wallis to discuss all things Crystal Palace and their transformation this season; the Newcastle-Arsenal clash and Chelsea vs Manchester United. Follow the show and beyond via @mastermindsite on social media.

The Longball Preview Show – Stevie G’s Back in the Prem!

This week John and Declan are joined by Gooner fanatic Brennan McCaffray to talk about Arsenal’s rise from the ashes under Arteta, set to face Liverpool this weekend in a fiery affair. The lads also give their takes on Steven Gerrard and Dean Smith’s arrivals back to the Prem with new clubs, and the battle of the tacticians this weekend as Bielsa and Conte face off. All of that and a whole lot more on this week’s episode!

The Longball – Premier League Preview Show – Liverpool

On this episode of The Longball Premier League Preview Show, John and Declan are joined by TheMastermindSite’s very own Kaustubh Kapoor to discuss all things Liverpool! The lads rave about how important Virgil Van Dijk is to this Liverpool team, and discuss whether or not Klopp will give more time to their young talents this season.

Premier League Tactics 2020-21 – Ebook

After analyzing each and every single Premier League team this year, we now share all of our insight on the 2020-21 season in the form of this book. But the book is far from just a copy and paste of what can already be found on the website. In fact, there are very few things in the entire 72 pages that you will find on our site. The book features a breakdown of each and every single club in the league, including their system and style of play, their personnel, their strengths, weaknesses, key players and more. It does not attempt to be an exhaustive list of every single thing about each and every Premier League team this season, rather an overview of the most crucial tactical features to their success or lack thereof in 2020-21.

Futbol Masterminds – Leicester’s “Bottle Job”, Liverpool’s Top Four Comeback, and What’s Next For Harry Kane?

This past weekend, the 2020-21 Premier League season came to an end, along with all of Europe’s top five leagues. In an exciting and dramatic final matchday, Leicester City crashed out of the top four, leaving the Futbol Masterminds to argue about whether or not they “bottled it”. The panel also discuss Liverpool’s subsequent top four comeback, Harry Kane’s impending, or rather unlikely, move away from Tottenham Hotspur, Lille’s Ligue 1 title win and Atletico’s La Liga title thanks to Luis Suarez. Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more of the show and subscribe via Itunes and Spotify!

Futbol Masterminds – FA Cup Final, Alisson Saves the Day, Barca Crash out of Title Race

It was a weekend of football like none other, with two domestic league cups to discuss, new developments in the title races in Spain and France, and a goalkeeper scoring a header in the Premier League. Kausty, Russell, Rhys and new guest Shomik get together to discuss Leicester’s stunning FA Cup final win, Dortmund’s resurgence in the DFB Pokal and Bundesliga top four race, and Alisson’s incredible headed goal. The panel then end off with a discussion about Barcelona crashing out of the La Liga title race, and whether or not Ronald Koeman is to blame. Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more of the show and subscribe via Itunes and Spotify!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s