Liverpool have been one strong team and a formidable force in the whole of Europe and it is because of the squad and how they line up to play. Over time, whenever the Reds come out to play, their formation has always caused debates on which formation they use, most fans and observers unsure which they play with as the team have always switched in the middle of games, most times leaving people confused.
When Liverpool set out to play, the standard formation we see from them is usually the 4-3-3 formation but as soon as matches start, we see the formation changing and adjusting to fit into whatever tactic they have in play.
Guess one can’t expect less when the manager is a master tactician. Jurgen Klopp will remain one of the best in his time.
For someone just watching their club play, it might be hard deciding which formation Liverpool plays with but on closer observation, one can easily pick out three different formations that is dominant in Liverpool’s gameplay that is at least present in every match they play.
When Liverpool push the full-backs high
We will all be in agreement that it has become a trend from this present Liverpool to build an attack from the back using the full strength of the full-back. When doing this, it is easy to see the team change into a 2-1-4-3 shape.
With the Reds pushing the full-backs high, it leaves them with an option of playing two against two or three against three and as dangerous as that may seem, Liverpool is always happy to play it and ready for the task.
In defensive areas, it gives them the power to smother the opposition in their final third, not allowing them to play out or cover more grounds.
This one often builds from the defensive triangle of the centre-backs and Fabinho.
When Liverpool progress with the ball
It is no more a secret that Liverpool’s build-up play is from the back, using the wing. It is a different outlook when they are progressing with the ball, however.
This is the time we see the full-backs join Gini, Wijnaldum, and Henderson in the middle after breaking the opponents’ press. In the same vein, Roberto Firminho then drops into the fabled half-space, where he loves to occupy, letting Mo Salah and Sadio Mane come narrow.
This 2-1-4-1-2 leaves Andy Robertson out of the show but also provides Liverpool with a wealth of attacking options.
When Liverpool dominates
Anyone who pays close attention would have seen this in play more than once. It is when Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson continue making the switch they usually do to wear the opposition out.
This is when they assume the 2-2-5-1 shape, constantly moving the ball across the line of five to mentally and physically exhaust the opposition.
A good example of this in play is the recent win over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield. Truly, Spurs were resolute and stubborn for a long period in the game, only to eventually wilt to Liverpool’s attacking weight of numbers and possession.
What we saw was game where instead of a midfielder taking the same line of Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold used him as a marker.
Believing that the 4-3-3 formation is what Liverpool uses all the time is a far stretch and might be why Liverpool remains unbeaten but then again, other teams might have known but haven’t found the mental capacity to play against such beautiful technicality.