James Pearce advocates one Liverpool tactical change; it’s already worked for Klopp v Man City

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James Pearce has called for Jurgen Klopp to implement a 4-2-3-1 formation during the final few weeks of Liverpool’s season.

With the March international break now concluded, the Reds begin a defining sequence of 12 matches in 57 days with a trip to Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.

They go into the final two months of the campaign seven points off the Champions League positions, albeit with two games in hand on fourth-placed Tottenham, as the race to secure their seat at Europe’s top table for 2023/24 enters the home stretch.

Given Liverpool’s need to claw back the deficit on their positional rivals, Pearce has urged Klopp to be bold with his team selections over the remaining dozen matches of the season.

He wrote in The Athletic: “With Diaz set to make his comeback on the left, I’d move Nunez back into a central attacking role and play 4-2-3-1. Cody Gakpo has shown he can play slightly deeper as the No 10 and Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota are options there.

“Liverpool need to be bold during the run-in and playing four attackers would tick that box.”

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The imminent return of Luis Diaz from an injury which has sidelined him since October would indeed give Klopp more scope when selecting the composition of his forward line, and there’s logic to Pearce’s suggestion of switching it up to a 4-2-3-1.

The German has rarely deviated from his usual 4-3-3 during the current campaign (Transfermarkt), although he’s had some success with the formation that The Athletic journalist recommended.

Liverpool defeated Rangers 2-0 at Anfield with that setup and, pointedly with Saturday’s fixture in mind, also deployed a 4-2-3-1 to victorious effect against Manchester City in the league earlier this season.

With Jota, Bobby Firmino and Harvey Elliott playing in a three behind the focal point of Mo Salah (Sofascore), the Reds defeated the champions 1-0 thanks to the Egyptian’s second half goal.

He’s since gone on to net 22 times for his club this term, while Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez were also enjoying some good form prior to the international break.

Saturday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium might come too soon for Diaz to be thrown back into the starting lineup, but if the Colombian picks up where he’d left off prior to his injury (seven goal contributions in 12 games), he’d surely be impossible to ignore.

Despite the 4-2-3-1 working against Man City in October, Klopp may be reluctant to go for an overly cavalier approach against a team who scored 13 goals in their previous two matches.

However, in matches where Liverpool will be fully expected to take the initiative, going for broke by starting four attackers could be worth considering.

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