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Klopp Talk: Tactical Tweaks With Joe Gomez Key To Fulham Win

The Liverpool defender was given praise by Jürgen Klopp after he came on as the fullback to allow Trent Alexander-Arnold to slide into midfield.

Liverpool FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

When Liverpool were chasing the win against Fulham on Sunday, manager Jürgen Klopp made an interesting tactical tweak. Rather than bring on an attacking midfielder like Harvey Elliott, Klopp decided to move Trent Alexander-Arnold into a holding midfield role while bringing on Joe Gomez in the 65th minute to take over as the fullback. After the match, the Liverpool manager spoke about the move as a way to provide additional stability in both defense and midfield.

Again, this game for the six when we were not that compact, I didn’t like. I didn’t like how we defended with the frontline, to be honest, going back. Our defensive press was not outstanding in the first half – that makes it really intense for all midfielders but especially for the six. So we changed position in that moment as well, so we needed the width as well, we needed a wing finally again because that didn’t work out too well. It worked out very often very well but there are days where it’s not happening. When you see that Mo gets on the ball and in the first half it was really good. Then Dom could unlap and then we arrive there in a very important area. But now we had Joey out there, which really helped, and then we had then obviously two midfielders, the double six – we played with Ryan and Trent next to each other. But Joey in possession first going inside and then with the next change staying wide.

The flexibility of Gomez to play both as an inverted fullback, as well as to get into wide positions high upfield depending on the situation was a big part of creating difficult situations for Fulham according to Klopp. The manager said they were keyed into if Fulham midfielder Tom Ciarney followed Trent Alexander-Arnold inside as to when Gomez pushed high and wide.

So with all the things you try to do in these moments, if it works out it’s because it’s tricky for the opponent as well – they get used to different things. Tom Cairney played pretty much man-marking against Trent in moments. So when he was then just in the middle, that’s why it was really helpful that we had the wing. I’m not sure how many crosses Joey fired in in the end, a few really good balls, and all of sudden they had to adapt again and that didn’t work out for them and that’s why we could win the game. In these moments, not that we played like that, it becomes a bit of chess. You just try to change something to improve yourself but to make it a bit more tricky for the opponent as well, and today it worked out.

The positional and tactical flexibility of Gomez has been a huge asset to Liverpool this season. Gomez has featured in 17 of the 21 matches the squad has played this season, spending time at both center back and right back.

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