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Jurgen Klopp’s Team Selection Headache Solved

Jurgen Klopp's Team Selection Headache Solved

Our soccer writer analyses how Liverpool should line up next season with Jurgen Klopp having a lot of midfielders and forwards at his disposal. 

The arrival of Mohamed Salah has made things even more difficult for Jurgen Klopp in terms of team selection for the upcoming season. The current squad is full of world-class attackers like Philippe Coutinho (who could well be on his way to Barcelona if reports are to be believed), Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Divock Origi, as well as midfielder dynamos like Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can (another one who may leave the club, with Juventus reportedly submitting a £30.7m bid) fighting for spots in the Reds’ set-up.

So who gets in into the side and has to suffer the ignominy of warming the bench, or worse yet, being left out of the match-day squad altogether? We take a look:

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Let me start by saying that this new-found depth is vital as Liverpool will be fighting on the European and domestic fronts next season. The biggest issue that the charismatic German will have, is satisfying every player. ‘Superstars’ are known for getting frustrated when they’re starved of game time and I doubt it’ll be any different at Liverpool.

Firstly, let’s look at who should be in the starting lineup and why. Sadio Mane has to play – he won the team’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season Awards last season, and we all saw how they suffered while he was away at the African Cup of Nations. As the captain, Henderson has to start, he also has the best passing range in the team. Lallana won the Vauxhall Player of the Year last season – the best England international. The former Southampton man is arguably one of the most important cogs in Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ machine, putting the opposition defenders under massive pressure with his almost endless endeavour.

Salah is the club’s record signing so he wasn’t bought to warm the bench. Coutinho was the club’s top goalscorer last season, if he stays at the club, he will be among the first names on the team sheet. In the recent friendly against Leicester City, Salah and Coutinho showed signs that they could well develop into a ridiculously good combination should the little Brazilian wizard stay in Merseyside.

The above three absolutely have to start in the advanced positions. Klopp can then start looking at balancing it out by choosing on the defensive minded players to help Henderson in the middle. I would choose Wijnaldum ahead of Can. The German has had his head turned by Juventus in recent weeks and doesn’t provide the goal threat that you get with Wijnaldum.

So, 4-3-3 is the way to go with Henderson playing as a holding midfielder and Wijnaldum and Lallana either side of him. Up front, I’d play Coutinho in front of them as a false nine or half 10 depending on what you want to call it then have Mane and Salah on the flanks in more higher positions instructing them to go wide and cut in depending on the situation like Pedro and David Villa used to do at Barcelona.

This 4-3-3 would look more like 4-3-1-2 due to Coutinho’s position between the lines where he can find space and dribble, pass or unleash those trademark shots of his.

The back four is easy to choose because of the lack of depth in that department. I think Klopp should work things out with Mamadou Sakho because every team needs a no-nonsense defender like that or else buy a new one. Based on what he currently has at his disposal, he should play Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip with Dejan Lovren playing the backup role.

Liverpool must buy a quality left-back because Alberto Moreno makes costly mistakes, and James Milner might be better than him, but he’s only a makeshift defender and a permanent solution is needed. On the right, Nathaniel Clyne is doing a great job. So, the preferred back four should be Milner, Matip, Klavan and Clyne.

The battle between goalkeepers is one sided in my view, Klopp has shown us that he prefers Simon Mignolet to Loris Karius and he’s quite right. Mignolet has had a lot to deal with since the defenders leave him exposed at the time, but unfortunately, fans don’t realise that.

Written by Benedict Ngwenya for

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