Liverpool may have to change their playing style this season

Liverpool FC endured an underwhelming 2022-23 season, finishing fifth in the Premier League. As a result, they missed out on the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League this season. However, the fifth-place finish was a saving grace of sorts for them, as they had looked almost certain of finishing below the top six at one point. They had to rally during the last one month of the season to improve their position.

In such a scenario, Jürgen Klopp will be eager to prove the doubters wrong in the upcoming season with an improved showing in the Premier League. During the last few seasons, his team has been the one that troubled Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City the most. Furthermore, they might fancy their chances of seriously fighting for the title again.

There have been a few arrivals and departures at Liverpool

There have been a quite a few changes in the personnel of late as far as Liverpool is concerned. Seasoned campaigners like Roberto Firmino and James Milner have left the club and Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara are also on the verge of doing so. Captain Jordan Henderson left the club, joining Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq.

Meanwhile, the club has signed World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Dominic Sbosozslai to bolster their midfield. Klopp’s team is undergoing a rebuilding phase with the likes of Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott providing exciting options to their German manager. The Reds are battling Manchester United to sign defensive midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, who shone in the last World Cup. They are also contemplating replacing Fabinho with Marco Veratti from PSG, who is a brilliant passer.

However, experienced players like Mohamed Salah and Joel Matip are also there to provide a solid back-up to the team that has been the second most successful English club in the recent past.

A paradigm shift in terms of the playing style cannot be ruled out

Klopp’s Liverpool has been known for their direct style, breaching the opposition defense with long passes and crosses from the flanks. However, as new players arrive to the club, one might expect to see a considerable shift in their approach.

Mac Allister is quite adept at playing box-to-box and Cody Gakpo, who should be Liverpool’s No. 9 for the majority of the upcoming season, also likes to play with the ball on his feet. The likes of Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz are also able dribblers. Szoboszlai should also be comfortable playing short passes and thereby keeping possession for longer duration.

Not to forget the talismanic Salah, who is one of the best dribblers that the Premier League has to offer. Hence, one should get to see the Liverpool midfielders and forwards stringing passes together in the middle and final third.

However, this might mean that the crossing and long passes of the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson might become somewhat redundant, as Liverpool might move towards a possession-based approach.

However, Klopp might have to change his approach as per the demands of the situation as well. Switching to a 4-4-2 with Gakpo and Salah upfront and then playing more directly cannot be ruled out if Liverpool find themselves chasing a game.

Using the veterans judiciously will be the key

Klopp will have to use the services of the likes of Salah and Matip judiciously and will have to also find the perfect balance of youth and experience in his team. Salah is still among the best in his position in the league and Matip can still be reliable at the back.

It will be up to Klopp to extract the best out of them, as Guardiola has done so well with Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero in the recent past.

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