Paul Merson recommends Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp makes formation change

Sam Preston March 9, 2021
Paul Merson recommends Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp makes formation change
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool’s centre-back issue has no clear solution for Jurgen Klopp.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both out long-term, leaving Klopp to come up with makeshift solutions as he chases the Champions League and a place in the top four.

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has suggested that the Reds change formation to deal with it – switching to a back three.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“Klopp has been a bit blinkered. When you look at their situation, you’ve got Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, up there as two of the best in the world. You only have to look at their assists and their crossing.

“If Van Dijk and Gomez aren’t there, Liverpool’s centre-backs aren’t good enough. That screams at me that they needed to switch to a back three. That would give you bit more protection

He stuck with 4-3-3 time and time again, and they’ve been exposed. He’s just stuck with the same old thing and they’ve been found out. The manager needs to take a look at himself and ask if he should’ve made a change?

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in three at the back or never used it throughout your career because that’s not the point. He needed to protect the players and try and get results. I just can’t see why he hasn’t.”


Liverpool have hardly been able to find four fit defenders at times, let alone five.

The argument has weight in terms of stability in numbers – but having three fit central defensive options is not something Klopp has had much of this season.

But Klopp would be wise to drop his side’s defensive line back, whichever formation he uses.

He’s getting his makeshift backline to defend on the halfway line, with no pressure on the ball.

That exposes his defenders as much as any formation does – and RB Leipzig will be looking to take advantage in the Champions League tomorrow night.

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Sam Preston a senior football writer for the Boot Room and United in Focus. He is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist with five years of professional experience writing digital content. He studied with the Press Association and also has a 2:1 Law with French Law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Burnley, Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.