Liverpool will contest the biggest game of this year’s Premier League season on Sunday afternoon. The Reds are scheduled to face Manchester City at the Etihad, who lead at the top of the table by a single point with just eight matches remaining.
Jurgen Klopp can gain a lead at the summit of England’s top-flight but at the same time, Pep Guardiola is toying with the prospect of going four points clear. The clash could decide the team who end the campaign champions.
In order to deliver victory away against City for just the second time in his managerial career, Klopp could switch things up. He enforced a tactical change last season and this time around, he could use it again.
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4-3-3 has been Klopp’s go-to system for most of his time on Merseyside. Aside from the occasion switch to 4-2-3-1, the German coach has demonstrated an obvious preference since his arrival in October 2015.
He also uses the formation against City but When Liverpool last faced Guardiola’s side at the Etihad, he made an unorthodox adjustment by employing 4-4-2.
It appeared more like a 4-2-4 whenever Liverpool initiated an attack. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah operated as a front two through the middle, with Sadio Mane on the left flank and Diogo Jota on the right.
Firmino and Salah blocked access to Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan in the middle of the park at the time, and Mane and Jota tucked inside to block the spaces in which City’s creators would typically operate, as shown below.
The Reds fell short of picking up a win with the scores ending 1-1, but the visiting side did take the lead and managed to outshoot City by nine attempts to six during the clash.
For the first 45 minutes, the Manchester outfit struggle to get to grips with proceedings by their usual standards and that stemmed from Liverpool’s tactical adjustment. Their first shot didn’t come until the 25th minute.
4-4-2 allows for an extra forward to be fielded at the expense of a central midfielder, with Jota having an impact on Klopp’s selection as a new signing at the time.
Luis Diaz could have a similar influence this time around. The Colombian forward has already scored against City in the past having faced them with FC Porto in the Champions League, and Klopp could be tempted to field him.
With five top attackers at his disposal, the Reds boss has the make-up to use 4-4-2 once again, purely as a means of causing issues for Guardiola’s plans.