With Liverpool’s £110 million infusion, Jurgen Klopp can unleash a new formation.
Inside the Etihad, the gasps were almost audible.
When the two team sheets were digitally released at around 3.30 p.m. on Sunday, November 8, it was revealed that Jurgen Klopp was taking a risk.
The Reds’ general manager threw caution to the wind when he picked an experimental lineup that comprised all four of his major frontmen.
The usual suspects in Liverpool’s front three, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, all started, but Diogo Jota, who had arrived at Anfield only a few weeks before, was also included.
Pep Guardiola appeared to be caught off guard by the tactical change, as the Reds started brilliantly, grabbing the lead thanks to a Salah penalty and creating a number of good opportunities.
As the visiting Reds wore out in the second half, they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils, but Klopp’s aggressive squad demonstrated that he was not hesitant to mix things up.
Klopp has the opportunity to deepen his tactical evolution at Anfield this season, following an injury-plagued campaign that saw him pounding square pegs into round holes for the majority of the season.
Klopp now has a strong backline to select from, with Ibrahima Konate joining a backline that has already been bolstered by the expected returns of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez.
Many may believe that a replacement for Gini Wijnaldum is required in midfield, but Thiago Alcantara could be set to take off once he is able to play more in a midfield alongside regulars Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson.
Last season, the Spain international made just one appearance with those two in the engine room, in a 2-2 tie with Everton in October.
In other news, after a 13-goal debut season with the Reds, Portugal international Jota will be trying to push his way into the first-team equation at Anfield.
Liverpool will spend the next four weeks in Austria on a pre-season tour, and Klopp may have a lot to think about in terms of his tactical plans as he and his staff look for more unpredictability.
At Anfield, Klopp’s usual setup is in place.
The team is hoping to return to the field with a completely fit roster. The summary comes to a close.