Jurgen Klopp

The Impact of Jurgen Klopp’s Tactics on Liverpool

During his nine-year spell at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp introduced and utilised a variety of different tactics that ultimately brought about a sustained period of success to Anfield.

Whether embedding a range of plays into his defensive talents, midfield dynamos or attacking superstars, the German manager’s philosophies and innovations undeniably led 

the club to a host of honours including the Premier League and 2019 Champions League.

With Jurgen Klopp having left Liverpool at the end of last season and being replaced by Dutch manager, Arne Slot we will further get to see the impact that Klopp’s tactics had on the team.  Liverpool is currently the third favorite to win the Premier League trophy at odds of 15/2 with top betting sites in UK by Legalbet team.  As the season starts we will truly get to see Klopp’s impact, and how Liverpool will cope without him.

So what impact did Jurgen Klopp’s Tactics have on Liverpool?

Jurgen Klopp smile

1. Gegenpressing

Upon his arrival at Anfield, Klopp immediately introduced the Gegenpress concept he had perfected so effectively at Borussia Dortmund. The play involved aggressively pressing the ball and opponents near to the ball using several players at once. The aim of his Gegenpressing was to win possession back as quickly as possible before the opposing team could settle on the ball.

It combined intense counter-pressing, efficient regains and strong duelling which were all married with energetic offensive football. During Klopp’s debut campaign, his Liverpool side were ranked highest in terms of defensive duels throughout the Premier League. These pulsating duels were often seen in moments when Liverpool lost the ball. 

2. Threat In Transition

During the first two seasons under Klopp, Liverpool made substantial improvements as a threat during transition. When initially utilising Mané, Coutinho and Firmino as a trio in attacking situations, The Reds soon transformed into a dynamic offensive force, triggered once the ball was won high up the pitch with these three bursting into life. 

This tactic grew even more potent following the signing of Mohamed Salah in 2017 and coupled with the departure of Coutinho it saw the team’s threat on goal become even more devastatingly direct. Firmino soon dropped deeper to quickly feed his fellow forwards and throughout his debut season it was Salah who benefited as he bagged 32 Premier League goals!

3. Evolving Full-backs

By 2018, full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson had grown into key figures within Jurgen Klopp’s established tactical set-up. The pair pressed high up the field, aiding both Salah and Mané’s mazy runs and clever drifts into central attacking areas. Across five seasons from 2018 to 2023, Liverpool registered between the second-most and the most number of crosses in the Premier League. 

And it was no surprise that both Alexander-Arnold and Robertson were the ones to deliver the most crosses for The Reds. The former was joint-third for assists across the 2018/19 Premier League with his teammate Robertson in fifth. The wing-backs were crucial to Klopp’s style of play, providing endless crosses, intricate passes and cut-backs that produced a constant threat from wide areas. 

4. Front Three Pronged Attack

Mane Salah Firmino

At one point Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino were arguably the most devastating front three combination in world soccer. They were of course superb talents in their own right. Salah was among the finest dribblers on the planet, Firmino showing pure class in a deeper-lying attacking role and Mané incredible with direct driving runs at goal.

Yet it was Klopp’s planned combinations involving the terrific trio that were to be the most potent of all. When counter-attacking, all three teammates would expertly break through the opponent’s lines with sharp passing and lightning quick decision making. In fact, in the four seasons spanning 2018 to 2022, Mané, Salah and Firmino naturally featured as some of Liverpool’s top assist providers.

5. Rotations In Central Areas

Klopp subtly implemented combining sets of players in different areas of the pitch that were required to rotate in order to keep passing moves flowing and opponent’s constantly chasing shadows. The key to this tactic lay in shifting the ball between midfielders and wider players on the left or right flank with individuals fluidly drifting in-field or out wide.

There are two good examples of this in action during Klopp’s reign at Anfield. Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold would often rotate on the right-side of Liverpool’s attack. On the opposite wing, Andrew Robertson, Curtis Jones and either Firmino or Mane would often be seen doing the same to equally great effect.

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