After struggling in September and October, Liverpool may have found a sustainable route to success in the past few weeks. Or at least former Reds legend Jan Mølby thinks they have, and the former Liverpool midfielder is pointing to a more conservative approach as key to the recent turnaround.
“I thought Liverpool's approach—and we've seen this over the last few games—was to ease themselves into the game,” Mølby noted in The Liverpool Echo. “What they did against West Ham was get men behind the ball really quickly and then they pressed from a strong position and it worked a treat.
“The team pressed well and counter attacked well—we didn't have as much possession. It appears there has been a change from Klopp. Instead of always having two really attacking full backs we let Moreno go and then Gomez tucks in a little bit to give us a little bit of a more solid look.”
Having won their last three outings—against Huddersfield, Maribor, and West Ham—by a combined score of 10-1 does suggest this is a side more focused on defence than in the past, and in all of those games it has been notable that Liverpool have started out playing a cautious brand of football.
They have been unwilling to overcommit in the first half, keeping men back even when they have sustained spells of possession. This has meant a little less pressure and a little more time for the opponent when they do get the ball but has greatly cut down on chances against.
It’s also meant fewer chances for Liverpool in the early stages of matches, but in the end the superior quality of Jürgen Klopp’s side has shown through later on, when the opposition begins to tire. It might not be the approach to take on the very best sides, but against bottom half clubs it’s promising.
“I think your shape as a team is more about when you don't have the ball,” Mølby added. “Obviously against West Ham we had two number sixes with Wijnaldum and Emre Can in the middle and then the attacking four. and as a tactical exercise it worked almost to perfection.”