Jurgen Klopp’s foreground should have made Philippe Coutinho even better in Liverpool


The current tactical configuration of Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp is well known.

In front of goalkeeper Alisson are Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, two central defenders who have the speed to play a very high defensive line, with Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold pushing forward on the flanks.

At the base of the midfielder is Fabinho, with two numbers eight on each side, and then there is the famous three before.

But that was not the original idea when Klopp arrived on Merseyside: his first plan was to replicate the training he was using at Borussia Dortmund.

In Germany it was Mario Gotze, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shinji Kagawa and sometimes Marco Reus, but there was always a traditional number 10.

Liverpool tried to sign Nabil Fekir while Philippe Coutinho was still at the club, just before the departure of the Brazilian, perhaps to replace the preparation.

Fekir is perhaps the most extroverted number 10 in world football, with his efficiency dramatically altered in any other role, so it would be fair to assume that was the position Klopp had in mind for the former Lyons star.

And then there was Julian Brandt, who wanted to stay in Germany and was not ready to move to another country at just 21 years old when Klopp was enthusiastic.

The 2018 World Cup was also a factor in not being convinced that a move to the Premier League was for the best – he thought it best to stay in Germany to give himself the best chance of joining the team. , where he knew he would be guaranteed playing time.

Brandt would have been a good signing for Liverpool, in all likelihood, but he’s less of a wide, outside player, and more of an inside player – maybe a perfect wide player for a 4-2-3 system. -1.

As David Hughes pointed out in the Analyzing Anfield podcast: “He can play on both sides but he tends to prefer to go right with an ability to run against defenders.

“The season before this summer [when he rebuffed Liverpool’s approach], he averaged 7.5 dribbles with a success rate of over 50%, which is quite impressive. ”

Liverpool signed Mohamed Salah this window, so everything was fine, while Brandt then moved from Bayer Leverkusen to Borussia Dortmund where he now most often plays as number eight.

Klopp had always played with a number 10 in Dortmund, and the first signs were that this would continue to be the case at Anfield.

When Coutinho left Anfield in January 2018, as well as the inflated fees Liverpool had earned for their assets, Klopp was not as unhappy at losing his man as he could have been if another of his stars had been caught .

Despite all his talent, Coutinho did not fit the 4-3-3 system that Klopp had set up before launching.

Coutinho’s ability dictated that he should be placed on the side, but this may have been at the expense of the team as a whole with events and trophies that have followed since his departure giving weight to this school of thought .

Now, the Barcelona switch has failed so far, Coutinho is struggling to find tailors before the summer window.

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Not only is his Camp Nou stall stalled because Barcelona aren’t playing with a good number 10, but most of the better clubs elsewhere either don’t have, or have other options, like Thomas Muller’s in the case of Bayern Munich, which they prefer.

Coutinho could have been even better in Liverpool if Klopp had chosen to play with a number 10 as he did at Borussia Dortmund, but just like in Barcelona, ​​the Brazilian simply did not adapt.


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