If rumours are to be believed, Liverpool are close to completing the signing of Roma winger Mohammed Salah, Egypt international and former Chelsea impact sub under Jose Mourinho. The addition of another winger with pace to burn will take the burden of work off of last season’s saviour Sadio Mane, who was so dearly missed during his spells on the sidelines.
Liverpool’s inability to break down teams that defended deep against them was only heightened when they lacked pace to get in and around the back of a defence, and signing Salah will not only add strength in depth but also another option in the first XI.
But with Coutinho, Firmino, and Mane the trio of choice in attack when all were available last season, where will Salah fit in to the Reds’ squad should Jurgen Klopp start him? Here’s three systems Liverpool could line-up with next season:
A favourite of Liverpool’s German manager, 4-3-3 has become a staple of modern football in offering control in the midfield as well as considerable attacking threat. With his wingers acting as inside forwards, and full-backs overlapping, Klopp would likely field a front three of Mane – Firmino – Salah under current circumstances, producing a back line pressing powerhouse. The energy and sharpness these three forwards posses would provide Liverpool with their traditional attacking flair, working hard and capable of countering at any moment.
This would likely see Phil Coutinho drop back into an attacking midfield role, either at the expense of Adam Lallana or Emre Can alongside the integral workhorse Jordan Henderson, if he can regain his fitness.
Klopp has shown throughout his managerial career that he is very tactically astute and well educated in current methods of the game. That being said, it would be naive to ignore the return the 3-4-3 to the helm of the game. Originating in Italy in the 1960s, used by Roberto Martinez at Wigan and now by Conte at Chelsea, this formation is often deployed to help a team cover its own faults – cover the wing-backs with an extra centre-back, pack the midfield and have a narrow front line.
With Liverpool’s shaky defensive record switching to this may not be such a bad idea should the Reds manage to bring in another top centre-back, and it would allow Klopp to worry less about signing a new left-back. Salah could play as something of an attacking wing back on the left side of the midfield four, with Clyne on the right, Henderson and Coutinho in the centre. This could see Firmino on the inside left of the front three, Daniel Sturridge through the centre, and Mane on the right, with Klopp utilising as much attacking power as one side can stomach.
Another favourite of the big German boss, 4-2-3-1 was used extensively by Klopp at Dortmund. With two deep lying midfielders, there is more support to the defence, and a more structured system provides stability often in big games – something Liverpool will be facing more of now they are back in Europe’s elite competition.
With Henderson and Can sat in front of the back four, breaking up attacks and starting their own, Liverpool could field an attacking midfield trio of Mane – Coutinho – Salah, behind the less frequently used Divock Origi. The Belgian forward is by far Liverpool’s biggest physical presence in their front line, and with wide players capable of hitting the bylines with ease, he could be a force to be reckoned with inside the opposition penalty area.
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