Jürgen Klopp forged his managerial reputation at former club, Mainz, but it was a seven-year tenure at the helm of Borussia Dortmund that truly annouced his name on the world footballing stage.
After arriving in 2008, two consecutive Bundesliga titles in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons – underlined by his knack for player development – showcased his tactical nous in Germany.
It’s something he’s brought with him to Liverpool since arriving back in 2015.
A cursory glance at the two boards below shows the comparisons between Klopp’s tactical intentions at Dortmund, compared with their progressive development in his Anfield reign.
Jurgen Klopp’s tactics from Dortmund to Liverpool pic.twitter.com/pTJd8aO6jf
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) July 16, 2019
As James Nalton’s Tweet makes clear, it’s principally at full-back that Klopp has evolved his strategies, together with Pep Lijnders, Peter Krawietz, and the rest of his backroom staff
Four directional arrows at Dortmund become six at Liverpool, such is the insistence on full-backs not just overlapping their teammates in midfield, but joining in with the workings of the engine room.
As the sides split wide and push forward, the middle of the park drops down and presses out.
Much of this goes a long way to explaining the stratospheric success of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 2018/19 campaign just gone.
The long and the short of it is that stamina, unrelenting work rate, and quick, accurate, effective passing in liminal spaces (between midfield and defense, between midfield and attack) is the key reason for Klopp’s meteoric success with his full-back tactics in a 4-3-3.
The right-sided, Liverpool diagram shows exactly how each player fits together has part of a gestalt whole to ensure that the entire system moves as one.
Midfielders fill space vacated by full-backs, attackers drop in and make enterprising runs from Robertson-Trent balls forward – its a beautiful symmetry.
Of course, this diagram explicates what has been happening in pre-season so far, demonstrating that even Yasser Larouci and Nathaniel Clyne are being asked to perform the standout roles of Robbo and Trent.
Therefore, the players fit the system; it could explain why Klopp is always willing to wait for the perfect player. The cog needs the right teeth to mesh with those around it and produce the ideal torque to ensure the total tactical system works.