Liverpool drew with Chelsea 1-1 in their opening Premier League match last Sunday at Stamford Bridge. Jürgen Klopp’s team took the lead, but the home side equalized to earn a point.
However, the Liverpool players came up with a pretty decent performance in the match. Still, there were some areas of concern for Klopp, which he should address soon.
Diogo Jota might not be the perfect choice for a No. 9
Liverpool played with Jota as the striker in their 4-3-3, but the experiment was not much of a success. Jota is more comfortable playing on the left, and did not look very inspiring in his new role before being substituted in the second half.
Jota playing as a centre-forward meant that Cody Gakpo had to play as an attacking midfielder. It remains to be seen whether Klopp retains the same set-up in the Reds’ next match against Bournemouth next Saturday.
Jota’s aerial prowess is good, but Liverpool gave more emphasis on building their game around ground passes in their last match. This means that they will need someone like Gakpo upfront, who is more comfortable exchanging short passes.
Luis Diaz had a good game against Chelsea and also scored Liverpool’s goal. Hence, he should retain his position in their line-up. However, one might not be surprised to find Jota replaced by Gakpo in their starting 11.
Liverpool needs another enforcer in the midfielder
Gakpo kept dropping back repeatedly against Chelera to win the ball back, and Klopp seems happy with his performance. Yet, the Reds are clearly missing a player regularly capable of winning the ball in the midfield. With players like Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and James Milner departing, Klopp is not left with too many choices in the midfield. The Reds lost out to Chelsea in their race to sign Moises Caicedo, and now seem poised for the same fate regarding the signing of Romeo Lavia.
Alexis Mac Allister played as a deep-lying playmaker, pinging the ball to the forwards repeatedly. However, Dominic Szoboszlai looked better when he shifted to the left wing in the second half.
Liverpool seemed to have more authority with Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott in the midfield, with either one of them possibly starting in their next match, pushing Gakpo to the centre-forward’s role.
Switching to a 3-2-2-3
One solution to Liverpool’s conundrum could be to shift to a 3-2-2-3 like Manchester City did last season, with Trent Alexander-Arnold playing in a hybrid midfield role along with Mac Allister. However, playing Andrew Robertson in a back-three throughout 90 minutes does not seem to be a feasible option. If Liverpool is to stick to the above formation, they will need to play someone like Joel Matip alongside Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté.
Matip’s inclusion will further reinforce their defense and will allow Alexander-Arnold to partner Mac Allister as a holding midfielder. Alexander-Arnold did play in the midfield against Chelsea for a brief period of time. However, for him to do that over the course of an entire match, the Reds need a better defensive option than Robertson in their back-three. With that said, it will also mean that Klopp’s team will have to do without the overlaps of the Scottish full-back.
Hence, Klopp has quite a few decisions to make ahead of Liverpool’s next match. It will be interesting to watch their line-up and formation in their upcoming matches.