Jurgen Klopp deployed his Liverpool side in a 4-2-3-1 formation in Thursday night’s 1-0 win away to Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Sakho, Lovren, Moreno, Can (Skrtel ’90), Allen, Milner (Lallana ’60), Ibe, Firmino (Lucas ’81), Benteke.
With Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho suffering knocks in Saturday’s victory over Chelsea in the Premier League, Klopp changed his attacking lineup at the Kazan Arena.
The German has used a 4-3-2-1 shape predominantly in his opening five games in charge but went with a more offensive lineup to expose the weaker opposition out wide, having witnessed the space they left out wide in the corresponding fixture at Anfield a fortnight ago.
Behind striker Christian Benteke were Jordon Ibe, Roberto Firmino and James Milner. Ibe took up and right-wing position, with Milner on the opposite flank, while Firmino served as Liverpool’s No. 10.
Clearly tasked with stretching the Rubin defence on the flanks, Ibe and Milner both took up touchline-hugging positions, interchanging with overlapping full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno.
This gave Firmino considerable space as Liverpool’s playmaker, combining with Benteke — who dropped deep to influence play.
Supporting Firmino in the central area was Emre Can, Liverpool’s midfield general in Russia, with the German surging forward towards the edge of the box whenever possible.
This attacking system saw Liverpool dominate in the final third, creating 19 chances and hitting 23 shots on goal, though their profligacy in front of goal undermined this.
Ibe scored Liverpool’s only goal after cutting inside from the right flank, picking the ball up from Firmino to fire beyond Sergey Ryzhikov and into the far corner.
Klopp will be disappointed his side could not make their dominance count, but the success of Ibe and Clyne in the wide areas in particular saw the Reds to victory—and will have given the German food for thought as he plans for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.
RUBIN KAZAN 0-1 LIVERPOOL
- Match Report: Ibe strike earns Reds victory
- Player Ratings: Ibe and Sakho take the plaudits
- Talking Points: Ibe & Firmino impress as Reds produce composed Euro display
- Opinion: Jordon Ibe comes of age with match-winning performance
- Fan Reactions: “Classic European away display”
- Player Reactions: “Important win tonight”
- Klopp Presser: Praise for Ibe, comments on squad strength