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Klopp Talk: Formation Change for “Stability”

The manager makes it clear that tactical changes have worked as planned — so far.

Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on October 20, 2022 in Kirkby, England.   
Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on October 20, 2022 in Kirkby, England.  
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Nottingham Forest, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp spoke on how the formation changes of late have assisted Liverpool’s return to form. The Reds go to Nottinghamshire this weekend after keeping two straight clean sheets (with one against title challengers Manchester City).

Klopp’s side shifted toward more of a 4-4-2 rather than the tried and trusted 4-3-3 that has defined his tenure at Liverpool. On this change, Klopp emphasized how the formation has assisted in recent good performances and improved results by adding

Stability, closing gaps we left open the weeks before — not on purpose, it just happened, we played for quite a time a specific system a specific way. And when you get used to things you lose a little bit the desire for the detail. And because it was so well-tuned, let me say it like this, how we defended, how we pressed or how we did different things, little things can change a lot.

That’s why we had to change a big thing and to start thinking new about it as a group, and not telling him and telling him, ‘You do differently’. Because it’s always a row of different things that happened then.

That’s why we had to do it slightly differently. It’s actually not a big difference. It’s a change of responsibility slightly, it gave us so far more stability in different moments. Will we always play like this? In the last game now, to get stability again we changed to a 4-5-1 in the last few minutes, so that’s possible still.

It all depends to who is available, who is fit. When we started the 4-4-2 we had two more strikers available, it feels like long ago but it’s only like 10 days ago that we had two more. So we have to stay open for all different possibilities what we can do and then we make decisions about that. It’s about what is best for us and what is the worst for the opponent. That’s pretty much how you try to set up, that’s what we always did and will do.

In this explanation, Klopp focuses on how a role-based system might shift to address problems as a whole based both on personnel available and apparent issues rather than trying to address these issues by focusing on individuals.

Of course, he also notes that this is not necessarily a permanent change, and, as always, Liverpool are not rigid in their formation. The side always looks differently depending on phase of play or game state, and this has not changed.

As always, the manager urges us to not over-simplify what we’re seeing, and instead to consider how tactical choices work to address apparent issues — and make it harder to play this Liverpool side.

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