Reds find their feet with new-look 4-3-3 at Arsenal – Liverpool Tactical Overview

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Jurgen Klopp‘s remoulded 4-3-3 formation helped Liverpool to a 4-3 victory at Arsenal in their season opener, but improvements are still required.

The Reds spent much of 2015/16 operating in a 4-2-3-1, but a host of summer signings has allowed Klopp to alter his approach.

As with much of pre-season, Liverpool lined up with a three-man midfield at the Emirates Stadium, and while it took time to get the wheels moving, it ultimately fuelled an impressive win.

Simon Mignolet started in goal, with Loris Karius injured, behind a back four of Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno.

New signing Georginio Wijnaldum joined Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana in the middle of the park.

Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino formed a fluid forward line.

Liverpool 4-3-3 vs. Arsenal

Throughout the Reds’ pre-match warmup, Moreno, Clyne, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mane, Coutinho and Firmino could be seen working on their combination play moving forward, and this was evident from the first whistle.

With Henderson sitting deepest of Klopp’s three midfielders, Lallana and Wijnaldum pushed forward in box-to-box roles, pressing high off the ball and driving into the box in attack.

Mane’s pace allowed him to drift off the shoulder of the Arsenal defence, giving Liverpool an added dimension, while Coutinho and Firmino intertwined drifting into pockets of space but all three playing close together, centrally.

But despite this impressive setup, Klopp’s side failed to make an impact until the second half.

Though Coutinho’s excellent free-kick had already cancelled out Theo Walcott’s opener before the break, Klopp’s half-time intervention was much-needed.

In the second half, Liverpool were a different beast, and the flecks of quality shown in the opening 45 were magnified and built on.

Liverpool’s second goal showcased this, with Lallana making a fine third-man run into the penalty area to power home Wijnaldum’s cross—as Klopp’s rejigged midfield paid dividends.

Coutinho added a second shortly after with a similar movement, running across the face of the defender to slam Clyne’s cross past Petr Cech.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Arsenal's Rob Holding during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Finally, Mane’s pace and skill allowed the Senegalese the space to notch his first goal for the club, dancing through the Arsenal defence before hammering the ball beyond Cech and into the top corner.

Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers ensured a nail-biting finale, but the Reds managed to hold firm, and as impressive Klopp’s 4-3-3 was in attack, its compact midfield proved hugely influential in defence, too.

With key midfielder Emre Can left out of Klopp’s starting lineup after a late return to pre-season, and Daniel Sturridge also absent with a hip injury, the German was without some of his most prominent players.

But that Liverpool were able to produce this clinical second-half display is a testament to his work alongside the likes of Zeljko Buvac and Andreas Kornmayer over the summer.

Moving from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 is a bold move by the 49-year-old, but it looks set to pay off.



To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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