Editor’s Column: €70m Szoboszlai transfer hints it’s the end for Liverpool’s famous 4-3-3

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We were all beginning to get a bit tetchy on the transfer front, right?

Watching Arsenal bring in Declan Rice and Manchester United sign Mason Mount, while Liverpool seemingly waited in the shadows, frustrated many…

But sporting director Jörg Schmadtke has taken advantage of his Bundesliga connections to wrap up a deal for Rb Leipzig attacking midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai.

Liverpool will pay the Hungarian captain’s €70m release-clause and with personal terms already agreed, the deal is now a formality, says Fabrizio Romano. 

So who is Dominik Szoboszlai?

He’s a real talent, actually. At 6ft.1′, Szoboszlai (a name we’ll all now have to learn to spell) is not your standard playmaker. He’s tall and rangy. More Kai Havertz than a traditional no.10, like the man we just loaned Rb Leipzig, Fabio Carvalho, who struggled with the physicality of the Premier League and was deemed surplus to requirements by Jurgen Klopp. Havertz was a brilliant no.10 in Germany though and failed to find his true position for Chelsea before Arsenal decided to give him another chance this window, so hopefully Szoboszlai’s transition will be smoother.

For Rb Leipzig, he played almost entirely in the no.10 role last season, although he’s also versatile, spending time on both flanks at certain points in his career and even in central midfield.

WhoScored suggests his strengths lie in crossing, passing, dribbling, long-shots, set-pieces, and crucially for any player in a Klopp side, defensive contribution. The only weakness labeled is discipline, but there’s nothing wrong with a Premier League player being unafraid of getting stuck in, so for now, I like this – provided he doesn’t get sent off for a Darwin Nunez-style headbutt on home debut…

Szoboszlai already captains his country and has 62 goals in 216 career club appearances – which is a real plethora given the fact he’s still only 22-years-old.

Where will he play for Liverpool? 

Liverpool have signed two midfielders this summer in Alexis Mac Allister and Szoboszlai, players with attributes that were not necessarily on the required lists of many fans. Based on last season’s midfield shambles, the Reds visibly needed defensively-minded, physical battlers. Players who can track runners.

After all, our biggest disappointments were Fabinho and perhaps Jordan Henderson, one player always at the base of midfield and another occasionally in the deep-lying role.

But it appears Klopp will trust Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago and wildcard Stefan Bajcetic as the options for the holding role, with Trent Alexander-Arnold joining the double-pivot from right-back.

The ‘two no-10s’ will likely be Mac Allister and Szoboszlai, with Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott fighting for minutes in these positions, too.

Interestingly, both Mac Allister and Szoboszlai are more obviously suited to the more left-sided no.10 spot, although the smart money would suggest the more versatile Szoboszlai will be the candidate to play on the right, with Cody Gakpo dropping deep as the false-9 and providing link-up options.


3-2-2-3 - Football tactics and formations

What does it mean for the 4-3-3?

At the end of last season, Klopp abandoned his famous 4-3-3 and went for an exciting formation which saw Trent given a hybrid role as a right-back when defending but a central midfielder in possession.

The other holder, Fabinho, plays next to him, but the other midfielders are no longer involved in the build-up. They stay in advanced roles and look to pass and provide for the forwards rather than come back for the ball. Often, the pass to get the ball up to them is a long one.

Szoboszlai and Mac Allister are transition players. They can carry the ball, play through-passes and keep possession in tight areas. They are different kinds of midfielders than the ones we’ve traditionally done well with. All-energy pressers like Gini Wijnaldum, Henderson at his best, or James Milner.

It looks like Klopp is going for technical players with more of an eye for goal, but as we experienced last term, this doesn’t work in the 4-3-3 as it leaves the defence too exposed, given we always used to leave the fullbacks up. Now, Andy Robertson will stay deeper and there’ll be two players in central areas to protect the back-three on the turnover.

What do we need next?

Szoboszlai is a fun signing, no doubt. But it doesn’t fix all our issues. We badly need a right-back, as we surely can’t expect Trent to play two positions all season. Buying a right-back enables us to use four at the back with Trent in midfield still.

We also need a long-term anchorman, someone who is an upgrade on Fabinho and Henderson. Perhaps Klopp sees Kephren Thuram as this player, but time will tell if he’s next on this list.

More Stories Dominik Szoboszlai


  1. Hopefully our next signing will be Pavard. Ideally, we need 3 more signings ( LCB, RW, RCB/RB) for this formation. Left Centre back is a must.

    Plus, another DM, i will be delighted for

    Great buy so far.

  2. It is music in our ears as LFC are determined to strengthen the midfield. However the puzzle to be complete will be acquisition of Thuram. LFC should sign Pavard or Walters from Southampton and Collins from Wolves and become a force to be reckoned with again.

    1. Agree…. Pavard is the one I want now. Cover for Trent when he pushes infield. Just wondering what happens if we go to a 3-2-2-3. What happens to robbo, what happens to Konate?
      Obviously Virg will be at the heart of the 3… but then either side of him? Also we’re looking at Left sided CB. Good to have depth in the squad, but I can’t imagine Konate, Robbo, a new LCB or Pavard wanting to warm the bench. It’s actually quite complicated if we move to a 3-2-2-3 if we bring in Pavard and a new LCB.

  3. Well, if Liverpool signs Kephren then we can’t sign Pavard. Kephren will be the 17 non home grown player in the first team. And I will prefer Livo to KWP, Levi to Collins.

  4. It’s actually 2-3-5 not 4-3-3. They say Attack win you matches but Defence win you titles, instead of sighing a RB, Liverpool should play Robbo as a 3rd CB, sign a young LCB and sell Tsimikas, so you have a base of KONATE, VVD, ROBBO/ NEW LCB, then TAA & FABINHO/ THURAM in midfield then you can play 2 10s and the front 3 in front of such set up and not get too expose to transitions.

  5. is finally true about fucking fsg dickhead john williams henry put up to sell of LFC a 500 millions pound because he lose interest of British football team online newspaper report source in now today? or not to I don’t know that true believe about it now today

  6. Liverpool should resign Mane.

    Since he left the team were never the same. Instead of giving Salah that enormous contract last time, some of the money should have gone to him.

    The team will suffer again this season due this injustice. THATS KARMA FOR YOU!!

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