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    Saturday, 21 November 2020

    Liverpool v Leicester: Jurgen Klopp can use Man City trick to confuse Brendan Rodgers

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a number of key decision to make ahead of Premier League visit of Leicester City on Sunday

    Liverpool v Leicester City: Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp.

    Pep Guardiola and Manchester City simply hadn't seen it coming.

    When Liverpool kicked off their last Premier League game at the Etihad almost two weeks ago, they lined up in a formation that few had truly anticipated.

    And that, according to Jurgen Klopp, was the entire point.

    With Diogo Jota fresh from his hat-trick at Atalanta in midweek, the Reds boss chose to keep faith in the in-form Portuguese.

    No surprise there. But what was an eye-opener was the new signing being joined by the regular front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in a formation that while 4-4-2 on paper, smacked somewhat of an all-out 4-2-4 in practice.

    "It is not something we use all the time but there are games we can use it and that is good," said Klopp.

    "We wanted to use the skills and the power of the four up front in specific moments to cause City problems, that’s one thing.

    "The other thing is that we all like to prepare a game in the way that we know exactly what the opponent is doing.


    "Pep, I don't think he knew we would play that. It’s not important but it needed a while for City to adapt to it, that was the plan."

    In the time City were adjusting, Mane won a penalty Salah converted that ultimately earned injury-hit Liverpool a point from a 1-1 draw at a venue where they'd lost on their last three Premier League visits, conceding 11 goals in the process.

    The Reds' absentee list hasn't eased in the meantime. Indeed, with Trent Alexander-Arnold limping off at the Etihad, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez crocked on international duty and Salah contracting coronavirus , Klopp and his coaching staff are going to have to thumb through their playbook once again and conjure up a way to best deal with the threat of Premier League leaders Leicester City on Sunday at Anfield.

    And the latest return of former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers could see Liverpool repeat the trick they used to befuddle City.

    Not in terms of the formation. But rather the shock and awe approach that put Guardiola's side on the backfoot and allowed the Reds to gain a solid foothold in the match.

    If Liverpool fans are scratching their heads over the composition of the line-up for Sunday, Rodgers and his analytics team will surely be doing the same.

    Do Liverpool go with a three-man midfield? Will they go with two in midfield? Or could it be 4-4-2? Or even a back three? And that's before determining which players are actually available to start.

    The tactical flexibility the Reds sought to introduce this season has become necessity rather than design far quicker than anyone at the Premier League and world champions would have wanted.

    But having caught out Guardiola, Klopp may decide to do the same with his predecessor. In what is likely to a tight tussle, taking advantage of such small details can often prove decisive.

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