Earlier within the season Liverpool’s attacking quartet of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho have been dubbed “the Fab 4” by the Merseyside press. Poor Adam Lallana, in the meantime, appeared to be forged within the “Pete Finest” function, because the forgotten, fifth Beatle.
Lallana hasn’t performed in 2017-18 after choosing up a thigh damage in preseason, however he is again in full coaching and could be accessible for choice subsequent week when his former membership Southampton go to Anfield.
The return of the energetic England worldwide strengthens Liverpool considerably as he brings qualities that nobody else within the squad possesses. Not solely is Lallana the chief of the urgent sport, he’s additionally probably the most adept midfielder at making runs forward of the entrance males; each have been missing at instances this season.
Ideally, Coutinho would have taken Lallana’s midfield spot, however the Brazilian himself has missed video games too and, when he has been accessible, he is usually needed to play within the entrance three as a result of Mane lacking time by means of damage and suspension.
If Mane can keep on the pitch then Liverpool’s entrance three just about picks itself, which means Coutinho and Lallana could possibly be vying for the one midfield spot. It is a good state of affairs however the problem is discovering a technique to get Lallana and Coutinho into his beginning lineup with out having to maneuver the Brazilian into the entrance three.
There seems to be no simple method of doing it with out leaving the workforce trying considerably high heavy, however there ought to actually be events — particularly at residence — the place it’s potential to play all 5 in the identical workforce. Simply having all of them accessible for the primary time immediately makes Liverpool stronger, regardless whether or not they all begin or not.
To this point this season Klopp has not rotated an excessive amount of, however that may absolutely change over the approaching weeks because the video games come thick and quick. The return to health of a few of his injured stars will give him extra choices, each by way of ways and personnel.
Klopp surprisingly switched to a Four-Four-2 formation final weekend at West Ham and the change labored as Liverpool regarded typically strong for a lot of the sport whereas all the time carrying a risk on the counterattack as they comfortably recorded a Four-1 win.
Salah was used as a central striker for the primary time, with Mane and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the flanks. This tactical swap allowed Klopp to solidify his defence by reigning in his full-backs in a bit of and likewise having his two central midfielders sit deeper than typical.
It was a considerably totally different strategy to what we normally see from Klopp and it was encouraging to see him combine issues up a bit of, as Liverpool had grow to be slightly predictable.
Nonetheless, whereas it labored effectively that day and is actually value making an attempt once more sooner or later, it is troublesome to see the place both of Coutinho or Lallana would match, not to mention each of them. In Klopp’s common Four-Three-Three, although, it’s potential to incorporate each within the midfield three alongside Jordan Henderson or Emre Can.
Whereas that does look a bit of light-weight defensively, is that actually so essential, particularly at Anfield? Most of Liverpool’s opponents have to this point been too scared to even cross the midway line, therefore the Reds having solely conceded one purpose at residence in comparison with 16 on their travels.
And, if groups wish to sit again and defend, then having each Lallana and Coutinho within the midfield three will certainly assist Liverpool break that down.
After all, away from residence or in opposition to the higher sides it is a totally different story and Klopp will certainly be a bit of extra pragmatic, notably after the success his workforce loved on the counterattack at West Ham.
Liverpool have shipped targets — 16 in six video games — at an alarming fee away from residence, regardless of principally fielding a workmanlike midfield trio of Henderson, Can and Georginio Wijnaldum. Including Coutinho and / or Lallana to that’s unlikely so as to add a lot solidity, however it might considerably add to an already potent attacking risk.
The more than likely state of affairs is that some star gamers would possibly discover themselves taking turns to take a seat it out away from residence as Klopp seems to be rather less “gung ho” on his travels and he can rotate with out having to weaken his lineup an excessive amount of, notably given the current contributions of the bettering Oxlade-Chamberlain.
However there should even be a temptation get the quintet on the market on the identical and attempt to blow groups away in comparable trend to Manchester Metropolis. Their workforce is filled with attacking gamers but their targets in opposition to column has not suffered an excessive amount of.
Whereas Mane and Salah are actually out on their very own of their significance to the workforce, Lallana is each bit as influential as Firmino and Coutinho. It is time for him to remind those who Liverpool have a “Well-known 5,” not a “Fab 4”.
Dave Usher is one in all ESPN’s Liverpool bloggers and the founding father of LFC fanzine and web site The Liverpool Means. Observe him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.