With Jurgen Klopp about to receive keys to Brendan Rodgers’ old office, thoughts turn to how the German’s football philosophy will influence the Liverpool team he selects when the Premier League returns.
Using clues from his past, here at Ladbrokes News we are pre-empting how Klopp fits the pieces of the jigsaw he inherits into a more coherent system, reminiscent of his best Borussia Dortmund side.
In restoring the sleeping giants of German football from the lower reaches of the Bundesliga to multiple champions, Klopp’s success is attributed in large part to his ‘gegenpress’ philosophy. .
Loosely translated this means ‘counter-press’, involving the harassing of opponents high up the pitch in an effort to win the ball back in attacking areas where teams can then be caught out of shape.
Déjà vu? It is not dissimilar to the brand of football which took Rodgers to the cusp of greatness, but having lost some key members of that side, the Northern Irishman compromised this philosophy and Liverpool lost their identity.
Klopp will be hoping he can pipe this pumped-up approach back into the squad and going by his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation at Dortmund, this is not far off the team we expect to see deployed at White Hart Lane, injuries allowing.
The only significant inclusion in the defence could well be teenage centre-half Joe Gomez.
Like his Liverpool predecessor Klopp has a reputation for developing young talent and given the question marks that hang over big-money signings Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho, the former Mainz coach may throw Gomez into the mix.
At the Iduna Signal Park it was long-term Manchester United target Ilkay Gundogen in partnership with Sven Bender who were the preferred central cogs in the team – providing tons of energy and proficiency in possession.
When Jordan Henderson is back fit he’ll surely be vying for one of these spots, but while he is still recovering from injury it will be no surprise to see Klopp opt for compatriot Emre Can to provide assistance to experienced head James Milner.
Lucas is the big loser here, but the Brazilian does not quite bring the same zeal to the table. Manchester City and Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho is a shoo-in for the playmaker role in front of the pair, until January at least.
Going forward is where the conundrums really begin, with Christian Benteke the most comparable to Robert Lewandowski in terms of his efficiency with back to goal, rather than in terms of mobility.
When Liverpool were at their best under Rodgers it was a spot on the right of the three-pronged attack that Daniel Sturridge occupied and that’s where the Reds best striker should start.
At Dortmund, Klopp was lucky to have Marco Reus and Jakub Błaszczykowski as natural wide-forwards but it’s a case of making do at Liverpool.
Potential wide-forwards Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Ibe and Divock Origi all miss out because of Danny Ings’ dynamism and impressive performances early in his Anfield career.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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