Author Topic: The Klopp Template  (Read 568781 times)

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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The Klopp Template
« on: January 7, 2018, 07:03:36 am »
Every coach worth their salt, at every level, has a temple for how they like the game to be played. The template will contain their favourite formation, the way they defend, the way they attack, how they deal with set pieces, and how they use set pieces to score. It can be as basic as simply the formation and whether they will play the ball on the ground or the air; or it can be as complex as what formation they will play depending on the opponent, conditions of the field, and whether they will attack centrally or down the wings; the speed of the attacks, the level of pressure, the restraining line and the line of confrontation.

Our Klopp is no different. The manager before him had a template, and the manager before him had a breakfast plate. The King had a template, Rafa had a template, and Houllier had a template. As did Evans, Joe, Bob and Shanks. Souness probably didn't have one per se, as he is of that culture of managers who think that the players should be able to sort it out on the pitch. But the template is more than the formation and the style of play. It is an “ideal team” that the manager is always aiming for – something that they believe is repeatable, that they can coach standing on their head, and allows them to buy players for that ideal team that informs their transfer business for probably the entirety of their careers. It's very rare for a manager to change the basic tenets of their template, even if certain aspects of it might change (such as the formation, the method of attack, etc).

Usually, the template is something that experiences a peak moment – either a defining game, or a defining season, or tournament, or something that validates all of their ideas on coaching, recruiting and training that tells them that their ideas were right, valid, and successful. For Shanks, it was probably the Cup in 65. For Bob, it was probably the 77-78 season. For Ged it was – oddly enough – probably the failed attempt to qualify for the World Cup with France, that saw him reinforce his ideas towards safety-first football. For Kenny, it was clearly the 88 team. For Brendan, it was the Swansea promotion team. And for Kloppo, it was almost certainly the Dortmund team that reached the Champions League final. Although they lost that game, everything he every believed in, tested on the training ground, and executed in games, led Dortmund to that moment where they were 90 minutes from being Champions of Europe. And it is probably this tactical template that he will follow for the rest of his career.

Clearly, all teams have personnel changes – season-to-season, game to game, half to half. So any talk of “tactical templates” will necessarily be general, even if specific instances are given. For the purpose of brevity, I'll be referring specifically to the line-up from the 2013 Champions League final. For the most part, it perfectly defines the roles of what Klopp probably looks for in a team. And that is what a “template team” is – it is a sum-total of all of the roles players have to play to fulfill a manager's vision. We can see it when we read the media referring to such things as “the Makelele Role”, or the “Busquets Role”, or the “Pirlo Position”, etc. We see these phrases, and we instantly understand what is being referred to, and we can usually get a picture in our head of how the team they played on operated around them.

So for Klopp, the team he had between 2012 and 2013 probably best epitomised every idea he had on the game, in terms of how to train a team, how to set them up on the field, how to recruit for success, and how to play the game on both sides of the ball. If we break the template down, we might get some insight into what the future for Liverpool looks like, especially with the departure of you-know-who.

The first thing to look at is how they set up, in that game at least. It was their typical 4-2-3-1 formation that Klopp used most regularly:



Wiedenfeller in goal, Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels and Schmelzer at the back, Bender and Gundogan in the middle, Blaszczykowski, Reus, Grosskreutz and Lewandowski in attack. There were other players who rotated in and out (Goetze and Perisic in attack, for example), but the line-up of that night pretty much fit the template, so those players will do for comparison's sake. It was a strong team, an excellent team, and a well-drilled team. Possibly unfortunate to lose that final, but every final has to have a losing team, unfortunately. And they might possibly have won it, if they were facing any other team than Heynckes' Bayern. But the result is immaterial.

We can see from the line-up an almost perfect representation of Klopp's ideas. Apart from the overall Gegenpressing philosophy (which is broad enough and relatively well-understood that it doesn't require repeating here), the roles of the players were well-defined at this point. And they were roles we've already seen forming at Liverpool, especially this season – alternating defensive and attacking fullbacks, a stopper/sweeper type central defence (not actual, because nobody plays with a sweeper anymore, but in terms of those traditional roles), a midfield sweeper and a runner, a defensive winger, an attacking winger, a #10, and a striker. This is not an unfamiliar template for us Liverpool supporters – we've seen it most recently with Rafa (with a minor variation in midfield), and with Kenny in the 87-88 team.

With defined tactical roles, come defined tactical responsibilities. This is not a new idea – it has been ever thus since the change to the offside law in 1925, if not before. Even the basic positions of the game – Goalkeeper, Defender, Midfielder and Attacker – contain certain tasks that the players in those positions must perform more than others. These tasks haven't changed in over a century; the keeper still has to stop shots going in, before anything else; the defenders still have to tackle and mark; the midfielders still have to get up and down the field and create goals; and the attackers have to score them. And so with any manager's tactical template, each area of the field, each unit, and positions within the unit, will have basic tasks attached. The differences in emphasis on which tasks to perform in each position is probably what separates one manager from another, more than anything else.

So with Klopp, we saw some solid representation on how he sees his whole system in the 2013 Champions League final. Starting at the front, we had a mobile, strong, reasonably quick (but not overly so) striker who specialized in getting goals. We had a second striker (rather than a pure playmaker) behind him in Reus, capable of breaking the line as much as the striker and getting in on goal himself, as well as setting things up and sorting out the final ball. We saw one winger (on the left side) who was tasked with doubling up with their fullback as well as getting forward, leaving the winger on the opposite side free to attack. We saw a midfield runner who stepped into the press, leaving the other midfielder to sweep up behind him. And both midfielders were capable of delivering a ball or carrying the ball forward, although the stepping midfielder was usually the one who did this the most – in this case, Gundogan. In the back four, there was a defensive fullback and one who went forward on the overlap, and in the middle there was a free-roaming defender who got forward with the ball, and a sweeper-type who collected the through balls from the opposite team. And in goal was a basic keeper who kept it simple:



So we can see the basic jobs that the players were expected to perform at a minimum, either through design/instruction, or default. But there was a definite pattern to the whole thing. A winger who focused on passing rather than crossing, with another winger who focused on crossing; a sitting midfielder and a running midfielder; a fullback who stays and one who goes; a forward who pushes on and one who drops off; and a defender who attacks the ball and one who covers. There is nothing new to these ideas, because they've been the ideas of most managers who employed four-back systems since at least the mid-60s.

And we can relate these tasks, roles and positions to their old shirt-numbers (depending on whether you follow the Continental or English system). The #1 was the keeper, #2 and #3 were the fullbacks, #4 and #5 the centre halves, #6 the sitting.holding midfielder, #8 the running midfielder, #7 the defensive winger, #11 the attacking winger, #10 the second striker or playmaker, and #9 the striker. Vince Lombardi, the NFL coach, used to say something to the effect that he didn't do much more than the fundamentals – but it was up to the other team to stop his team from executing them well. This is the same case – Klopp is, at heart, a traditionalist, and his team-building reflects this. Innovation and creativity is less important than perfect execution of the fundamentals, which is why his pressing is so effective. It's not new (the Dutch were doing a version of it with total football, Jack Charlton's Ireland were doing it in the 80s and 90s, and of course, Guardiola with Barca) – but it does require a slavish devotion to getting the basics of the game right.

Unlike Brendan, whose template requires highly technical, multi-positional players to get right, Klopp's plan is built for – dare I say it – the average player. Where Brendan allows creative players to flourish by encouraging them to play to their natural talent, Klopp allows even the most basic of players to flourish by making the game incredibly simple for them – press when we don't have the ball, get forward when we do, and at all times, remember your basic task. And these basic tasks, rooted in football tradition as they are, give us a clear picture of the template that Klopp seems to favour:



So with that template to hand, how do we see the future shape of Klopp's Liverpool? For one, we know that we don't have Coutinho anymore, so we're lacking a pure playmaker in the midfield. But so did Dortmund. There was nobody like Coutinho in that Dortmund team. Gundogan possibly came the closest, but clearly he wasn't the same type of player. So in terms of the Klopp template, the loss of Coutinho isn't as damaging as it would be, for example, to Brendan's team (as much of a rationalization of recent transfer events as that might sound), where he was absolutely vital for getting ball into the final third (otherwise, as we all know, the ball could spend a lot of time going from side to side – see Celtic this season and last for how different Celtic's possession is when Tom Rogic is on the field versus when he isn't).

The plus point – although not in the immediate future – is the arrival of Keita, who nicely slots into the Gundogan role. His combination of drive, dribbling, power, shots, and delivery will give us that forward impetus that we need for Klopp's plan to work. The winger jobs are adequately covered between Mane, Salah, Chamberlain, and – if it happens – Lemar. The fullback position is actually quite sorted, and we're solid – and possibly better – at central defence with the arrival of Van Dijk:



The three key positions that need to be looked at, then, are goalkeeper, the #6, and the two central attacker positions. In the diagram above, Keita has been added, and Lemar as a possibility. But the main fantasy football change is playing Firmino as the second striker, and Salah as the #9. At the moment, that's essentially how they are playing, as can be seen by the average positions of a number of games where they've played together. Even though Firmino starts nominally up front, and Salah nominally on the left, their natural movements usually take them into the #10 and #9 spots respectively. If those positions were to become definite, that would leave Mane to fill the right spot, where he seems to enjoy playing more. It would give us the speed up top, the second striker in “the hole” (which will keep Mick McCarthy happy, at least), speed on the wings, and defensive solidity on one flank (which has the effect of pushing the play to the other flank when we defend, which lends itself to making play predictable, a key principle of all defending).

That leaves two spots that we continually question – the keeper and the #6. The keeper question is the easiest to answer. It's quite possible that Klopp is entirely serious that he doesn't need any better than Mignolet and Karius there. Although Dortmund had good defensive seasons under Klopp, Weidenfeller was actually not the pinnacle of their defensive performance. In fact, if you compared relevant stats, side-by-side, with Mignolet, there is no real difference in numbers – you might as well be looking at the same player:



So it seems, on the face of it, that Klopp is quite believably happy with the goalkeeping situation, and maybe doesn't see it as important as the rest of us do. If he tolerated the patchiness of Weidenfeller - i.e. generally decent but not always consistent - then it's very plausible that he is quite tolerant of the performances of both Karius and Mignolet. Perhaps that's not a position that is going to be changed any time soon?

But that leaves the #6 position. Possibly the next most important position on the field after the keeper and striker, the #6 position has been cause for debate for Liverpool fans since the departure of Mascherano and the in-and-out nature of Lucas' latter time at the club. Henderson does a serviceable job, but he's injury-prone these days, and the quality of his long pass delivery is not exactly in the Alonso category. Klopp, again, seems happy to retain Henderson as his starting #6, but in the summer, is it possible that this could change? With Van Dijk marshalling the troops on the back four, will we see Henderson continue as the midfield stopper, or will we dip into the market for someone more akin to Bender (Sven, not the Futurama robot – although sometimes it seemed like he was made of as much metal as his cartoon namesake)?

If so, who would fit the bill of being a fighter with a deft touch who controls the space behind the press? But if not, then our transfer business gets a little easier – figure out what we're doing up front in the #10 and #9 positions. If Klopp doesn't move a few  existing pieces around as shown above, then which area of the field is most likely to see an upgrade – the striker, or the player in behind? With Firmino already playing a “false nine” position, it seems most suitable that he play the Reus/Gotze role to Salah's Lewandowski. That leaves Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlain, possibly Lemar or someone like that, and Lallana to cover the wing positions, with Lallana also capable of playing the second-striker spot. With the number of games we aim to play per season, there are plenty of options for rotation in the attack.

So the key question, it seems, is whether or not we finally buy the #6 the Liverpool support have been crying out for since 2010. And if we do that, and get it right, we should be very close to the perfect Klopp ideal. Most of the ingredients seem to be there. One single addition might be key to bringing it all together. And if we get the template right, will we also finally end the wait for a trophy? Time will tell. But the journey will be fun nonetheless. And at least we have a picture to reference every time a player comes in, or as we've seen, goes out – even if we believe them to be a key player.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 06:21:59 pm by PhaseOfPlay »
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Offline Geppvindh's

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #1 on: January 7, 2018, 07:58:53 am »
Great post, PoP! I agree with you that we are close. Klopp has made some adjustments to his Dortmund model to suit the Premier League but, as you said, his underlying philosophy has remained steadfast.

I personally believe we're one which on the turn, mobile, vertical passing #6 away from challenging. Will be an interesting summer transfer window.

A question for you. I remember watching Dortmund play a lot of 1-2s out wide in behind the full back, followed by the low cross into the box for the runners to tap in. We don't seem to do a lot of it though. Is that a league adjustment from Klopp or is it because we're still not there yet?

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #2 on: January 7, 2018, 08:03:04 am »
Great read Pop, thanks for sharing.

The balance of the attacking unit is the part which jumps out to me.  I think I've seen Mane used as the 10 at times already, I wonder if that might be a short term move, or if he'll go left while lallana plays the 10.

The other player I can't work out is Can.  Sometimes he looks like a midfield monster in the making.  He probably prefers the 8 position, but isn't he suited to being a 6?  Either way, it looks like he'll be off, but is that mainly because Klopp doesn't see him fit his ideal line-up?

Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #3 on: January 7, 2018, 08:07:35 am »
Great post, PoP! I agree with you that we are close. Klopp has made some adjustments to his Dortmund model to suit the Premier League but, as you said, his underlying philosophy has remained steadfast.

I personally believe we're one which on the turn, mobile, vertical passing #6 away from challenging. Will be an interesting summer transfer window.

A question for you. I remember watching Dortmund play a lot of 1-2s out wide in behind the full back, followed by the low cross into the box for the runners to tap in. We don't seem to do a lot of it though. Is that a league adjustment from Klopp or is it because we're still not there yet?

I couldn't tell you. But that pattern of play - give, go, send the next one, or short-short-long as it's called - is very German. I love that we do an altered version of it - we usually do it to precede a switch of play, with the two mids playing the give and go and then we send a wide ball in behind the fullback. But whether we don't do the 1-2 and then the low cross because our players aren't attuned to it, or because Klopp doesn't think it will work in English football, I wouldn't honestly know. But that short-short-long pattern is definitely in our play.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #4 on: January 7, 2018, 08:09:14 am »
I wonder then if the 4-3-3 we played last season was specifically designed to include Coutinho, the kind of player that wouldn't fit in Klopp's standard team.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #5 on: January 7, 2018, 08:22:44 am »
Good post and we’re certainly getting closer. I agree that perhaps Klopp doesn’t see gk as a major issue, all I would say is that he’s still deciding who his true number 1 is. Karius starting to get odd games in the league would suggest that he’s staking a claim. He’s generally done well.

Offline Cohiba

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #6 on: January 7, 2018, 08:29:55 am »
I really enjoyed that Pop. Thank you for writing such an informative, and also reassuring article. I  concur with your conclusion that the number 6 is the position we need to focus on and that the loss of Phil will be survivable however this is more based upon my thoughts from watching games rather than the excellently put hard data that you have spent the time so clearly conveying. 

I recall losing big players before, starting from Kevin Keegan and feeling the huge sense of loss that this can bring, but we always survive, and this time I actually think that we will improve for a change particularly with one of the top managers in the game at our helm. Klopp knows what he is doing  as Pop's article confirms to me.

We have just beaten the bitters (again  ;D), have signed the awesome Virgil and have money to invest in the squad.What a great time to be a fan!
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Offline Zeb

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #7 on: January 7, 2018, 08:32:55 am »
Keita at 6, Chamberlain at 8, wingery thing on wing?

(Nice read PoP. Thank you)
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Offline dirks digglers

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #8 on: January 7, 2018, 08:36:23 am »
Very good and timely post. :) Was thinking this week that although any team would want Phil’s Skills (TM) in the mix, the sale actually provides an opportunity to get closer to where we need to be, to improve the overall squad and play even better football. And even more effective football. It certainly feels like we’re getting close now and it’s darned exciting.

Interesting points re the keeper too. Quite often Klopp makes reference to being perfectly happy with Migs and we have a tendency to think he’s just protecting his players. He is, clearly, but his sincerity seems to often go unnoticed or there’s a presumption that he is somehow masking his true feelings. But the beauty of Klopp is, in my opinion, that he seems a simple and genuinely likeable, warm character who really does see it and tell it straight up. And he really would, all things being equal, rather work with what he’s got. Personally I do think upgrading Migs is a crucial step (the Xhaka goal was the end of a long line of not quite good enough moments for me), but it feels more key to upgrade the 6, as many on here have understandably been obsessing about for a while. It’s a pleasing feeling to actually be able to narrow down one or two areas that are key. Not so long ago it felt like we needed a new plan/upgrades all over the pitch.

Ultimately though, the joy of it all, as always,  should be supporting the club and the manager. Watching the likes of Mourinho steadily dragging his club through the dirt, poor old Arsène watching his squad steadily crumble and Conte seemingly infuriated by most aspects of his situation and buzzing around like a demented wasp, we are clearly blessed and have to enjoy these moments. So it’s thanks Phil, it was a joy to watch you, but onwards and upwards for the club. Good times await (fingers crossed).
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Offline RogerTheRed

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #9 on: January 7, 2018, 08:38:07 am »
Really interesting thanks and shows that number 6 is key. One question for me in the team make up is where you seenLallana. It always seems him and Bobby are the most mobile and consistent press players and he seems important whenever he plays. Where would you add him and his role as trigger for the press!
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #10 on: January 7, 2018, 08:42:34 am »
Keita at 6, Chamberlain at 8, wingery thing on wing?

(Nice read PoP. Thank you)
Would be limiting keita hugely.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #11 on: January 7, 2018, 08:50:58 am »
Great post POP. If I had to suggest Klopp's ideal no.6 I think it'd have the following characteristics:
- Elite athleticism and recovery pace for the position
- Elite endurance
- A minimum 180cm, ideally more like 188cm.

There's obviously also a requirement of them to be able to play football and he surely values the ability to distribute the ball as we've seen guys like Sahin operate at a high level in his teams even if not as a pure no.6. But it seems to me that for the most part he's had a guy like Bender or Henderson who's key attributes are their athleticism and endurance. With regards to GK, I think he's less rigid about what he has, he just wants them to be good. I think he settled with Weiderfeller and I think he's currently settling with Mignolet rather than them being his ideal type. I suspect with how his teams operate that his ideal type would be a sweeper more like Karius, that makes sense to me in theory, but I don't think it's enough importance to him, that he would take a lesser keeper. Mignolet at the moment has been our better keeper, I reckon Klopp will look to replace him, he already has tried with Karius, it just didn't work.

With regards to the team itself. I think Lallana is a key piece it's just that he hasn't been fit the last four months. I see him as a key player to trigger the press and float forward as an advance support point. We haven't really seen that this season because of injuries but I suspect we'll continue with a 4-3-3 without replacing Coutinho and playing Keita/Oxlade as a midfield runner with Can/Henderson as a no.6 and Lallana as the most advanced midfielder that occasionally drifts wide with Salah cutting inside.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #12 on: January 7, 2018, 08:52:37 am »
Excellent opening post and a really exciting thread too. I actually think the point you have made about the goal keeper is an interesting point. I think I am right in saying that in one of Klopp league winning seasons, Dortmund conceded less goals then any other German team in history. Was Weidenfeller in goal then, or did he go on and buy another keeper later? I also think the no 6 is going to be key to how he will ultimately set up next season.

What does excite me about this season whether we buy players this month or not, there is a huge opportunity for certain players to put themselves into the limelight. I think for someone like Oxlade-Chamberlain this is a really key moment for him to step up. When someone leaves invariably someone else steps in and it will be fascinating to see who that will be.

 
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #13 on: January 7, 2018, 08:53:08 am »
Would be limiting keita hugely.

Against some teams, perhaps? Not those where Van Dijk is going to be sat on the half way line looking for a diagonal though.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #14 on: January 7, 2018, 08:53:23 am »
Great post, PoP! I agree with you that we are close. Klopp has made some adjustments to his Dortmund model to suit the Premier League but, as you said, his underlying philosophy has remained steadfast.

I personally believe we're one which on the turn, mobile, vertical passing #6 away from challenging. Will be an interesting summer transfer window.

A question for you. I remember watching Dortmund play a lot of 1-2s out wide in behind the full back, followed by the low cross into the box for the runners to tap in. We don't seem to do a lot of it though. Is that a league adjustment from Klopp or is it because we're still not there yet?

I think we did a lot of that last year with Mane but playing inverted wingers and a lot of park the bus teams has killed that a little this season. It seems like we now have Coutinho/Salah drift inside and pepper the goal which for the most part has been really effective.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #15 on: January 7, 2018, 08:57:14 am »
I think we did a lot of that last year with Mane but playing inverted wingers and a lot of park the bus teams has killed that a little this season. It seems like we now have Coutinho/Salah drift inside and pepper the goal which for the most part has been really effective.

I believe this would work a lot even now with inverted wingers, with our full backs overlapping and delivering the final ball. Moreno has been supplying a few of those, but I think the numbers seem down because of Klopp having made his full backs a bit more conservative to help with the defence.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #16 on: January 7, 2018, 08:57:47 am »
Against some teams, perhaps? Not those where Van Dijk is going to be sat on the half way line looking for a diagonal though.

I think pushing our no.6 forward too much leaves us vulnerable to counter attacks and having Keita sit is a waste. I wouldn't want Keita playing as a no.6 even against a Championship team. I'd rather keep a guy like Henderson in the role or bring in a Sahin type distributor for those games.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #17 on: January 7, 2018, 09:02:54 am »
I believe this would work a lot even now with inverted wingers, with our full backs overlapping and delivering the final ball. Moreno has been supplying a few of those, but I think the numbers seem down because of Klopp having made his full backs a bit more conservative to help with the defence.

That's a good point. I'd probably say to a varying extent it's a combination of the following:
- Predominantly inverted wingers
- More conservative fullbacks than last season
- Park the bus teams
- English league better at dealing with crosses
- Short team in attack
- Quality options shooting from the edge of the box instead of looking to go outside

I think these all combine to minimise the number of crosses we use and score from. Mane back at LW I think will see a few more of these cross types as it's more in tune with his style of play. He's less likely to cut inside and shoot from distance than either Coutinho or Salah IMO.
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Offline zero zero

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #18 on: January 7, 2018, 09:14:16 am »
Keita at 6, Chamberlain at 8, wingery thing on wing?

(Nice read PoP. Thank you)
I get the impression that Klopp prefers a bit of height for the no.6 position.

Offline Zeb

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #19 on: January 7, 2018, 09:19:38 am »
I think pushing our no.6 forward too much leaves us vulnerable to counter attacks and having Keita sit is a waste. I wouldn't want Keita playing as a no.6 even against a Championship team. I'd rather keep a guy like Henderson in the role or bring in a Sahin type distributor for those games.

I don't really agree there. Keita at Leipzig is often the deepest lying midfielder who recycles possession before moving forward himself. That would seem ideal for the bulk of our matches in a season. Giving him room to run into would seem the most suitable way to utilise his talents. I can certainly see why some would prefer a Sahin or Alonso to sit in between the central defenders though.
« Last Edit: January 7, 2018, 09:21:33 am by Zeb »
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Offline Zeb

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #20 on: January 7, 2018, 09:21:05 am »
I get the impression that Klopp prefers a bit of height for the no.6 position.

Yeah, that's the point Dan A made too which kind of nudges it a bit away from it really being a possibility.
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Offline Gnurglan

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #21 on: January 7, 2018, 09:25:52 am »
Thanks POP for this one. I needed something optimstic after I read Coutinho is off. It is hard to replace a world class player like him. I can only hope that we become stronger, that our system gets more optimized. Right now I have doubts, but it's good to read something that puts the focus on the team and the possibilities.

With Coutinho and possibly Can off too, I reckon we will go after that #6 next. Ever since Mascherano left, I feel we have had a gap there. We have tried to solve it in different ways, but that clearly defined defensive midfielder has been missing. Mascherano is often thought of as a pure tackler/ballwinner, but he knows how to play the ball too. And that bit of speed he had (compared to fo example Lucas) would be welcome in any defensive midfielder.

Other than the #6 the goalie is another position to strengthen. We have three 2nd picks now. We need a better option. A top five goalie.

The next thing that we need to think about is who else? Who do we have behind that first eleven? We will find a place for Lallana, Henderson and a few more. But if we see Salah as our main goalscorer with Firmino as the second striker, who else do we have there? We could easily see that both Salah and Mane could play the winger role, but I feel we lack a bit of edge up front as soon as we remove Salah or Firmino from those positions.

        * * * * * *


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Offline Grand Chilli

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #22 on: January 7, 2018, 09:30:11 am »
Loads of interesting stuff here - the only bit I can't really work out is whether I can see Salah as the 9. Current goalscoring record makes that sound a bit daft, and I know we don't play in a way that means you want an old-fashioned target man, but still doesn't feel quite the right fit. Might be interesting to see him get a bit of time there though! (I think he's played the last few minutes up top against a couple of teams this season?)

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #23 on: January 7, 2018, 09:31:29 am »
Good post and good to see tactics broken down like this.

One question i would ask is about the evoution of Klopp. So Dortmund fans said that Klopp’s side started to become more found out, so sitting deep and avoiding counter attacks. Surely then the quality of the player is what makes the difference when a team sits so deep?

Klopp has changed whilst here including his attitude to rotation so he could think that in England, he cannot win like he did in Germany. As for keeper, i dont believe he is happy with it.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #24 on: January 7, 2018, 09:36:31 am »
Great read.

I like the idea of Firmino as a number 10 positionally. He's excellent defensively and in the press and he can also pick a pass better than the other options. I'm a bit concerned that the two midfielders behind him will get isolated and swamped if his position is too advanced as I think they did on occasion with Coutinho playing that role.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Klopp sets up the team now he has Lallana and doesn't have Coutinho.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #25 on: January 7, 2018, 09:39:56 am »
Loads of interesting stuff here - the only bit I can't really work out is whether I can see Salah as the 9. Current goalscoring record makes that sound a bit daft, and I know we don't play in a way that means you want an old-fashioned target man, but still doesn't feel quite the right fit. Might be interesting to see him get a bit of time there though! (I think he's played the last few minutes up top against a couple of teams this season?)

I think the implication is that in the current formation Salah is already operating as a no.9 and Firmino as a no.10. On paper, it's listed as Salah on the right but he's been rolling the CB, sitting on the shoulder and get in behind the defense constantly all season while Firmino is dropping deep and setting up the play a lot more. It's a fluid setup but you could argue Salah is the number 9 right now and I think that's in fact what POP is doing in that particular formation.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #26 on: January 7, 2018, 09:44:55 am »
I think the implication is that in the current formation Salah is already operating as a no.9 and Firmino as a no.10. On paper, it's listed as Salah on the right but he's been rolling the CB, sitting on the shoulder and get in behind the defense constantly all season while Firmino is dropping deep and setting up the play a lot more. It's a fluid setup but you could argue Salah is the number 9 right now and I think that's in fact what POP is doing in that particular formation.
Agreed - I was a bit hesitant about what I wrote because of the fluidity up front. I wonder if we might actually miss Bobby's role as the starting point of the press more than any "focal point" of the attack?

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #27 on: January 7, 2018, 09:46:08 am »
Hopefully he'll spend all the Coutinho money on a proper world class goalie.
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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #28 on: January 7, 2018, 10:28:43 am »
Great post PoP, if you are correct regarding Mignolet does it concern you much?  It worries the hell out of me because the Premier League isn't the Bundesliga (I confess I've seen bugger all German football recently but I certainly believe keepers over here face far more pressure) and I find this a glaring weakness and for me Mignolet is, arguably, significantly weaker than any of our "top six" rivals.

So I think Klopp is effectively tying one hand behind his back.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #29 on: January 7, 2018, 10:30:28 am »
Excellent excellent piece POP. I guess most managers inherit players that don't fit their exact style and are usually sacked before they get a squad full of players that do fit, so it's rare to see a manager's vision fully implemented. Hopefully we'll start 18/19 in that position - 11 round pegs in 11 round holes each game.

Would it be fair to say the ultimate example of this would be Leicester in 15/16? 1 world class player, 2 good players and 8 average/below average players who just so happened to fit exactly into Ranieri's template?


Oh, and I think you got your timeline of our managers slightly wrong btw:

Our Klopp is no different. The manager before him had a template, and the manager before him had a breakfast plate. The King had a template, Rafa had a template, and Houllier had a template.

(Unless you mean that Dalglish had a breakfast plate and you refer to Hodgson as 'The King' ;D)

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #30 on: January 7, 2018, 11:38:06 am »
Fascinating PoP, absolutely brilliant mate. Thank you.


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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #31 on: January 7, 2018, 11:48:11 am »
Great post and demonstrates clearly the template is almost complete.. That no.6 position is the tricky one for sure.

When Kante was at Leicester I was screaming for him to be our number 1 target in that summer but sadly Chelsea nipped in there. He would have been the perfect fit for that position for me. Another one for me that will probably be met with cries of derision is Jack Wilshere. He is injury prone and Arsenal through and through but he has that ability to break up play and distribute a good ball.

From leftfield.. Joe Gomez has versatility and seems capable of playing most defensive positions. I also believe he has the right attributes to be moulded into that number 6 position. He has strength, pace, distribution. He is still very raw and prone to switching off during a match but I do believe he could be moved into that position with some good coaching.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #32 on: January 7, 2018, 12:36:42 pm »
From leftfield.. Joe Gomez has versatility and seems capable of playing most defensive positions. I also believe he has the right attributes to be moulded into that number 6 position. He has strength, pace, distribution. He is still very raw and prone to switching off during a match but I do believe he could be moved into that position with some good coaching.

Did I imagine it or when TAA was breaking through was he considered to be a future midfielder? Not suggesting he should be our #6, but this bit on Gomez reminded me of it. Maybe one day it could be him.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #33 on: January 7, 2018, 12:42:07 pm »
Great read, thanks. Rather better than 150 odd pages of cry arsing about Couthinho
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There is another option. Mr Ferguson organises the fixtures in his office and sends it to us and everyone will know and cannot complain. That is simple.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #34 on: January 7, 2018, 12:48:13 pm »
Good post and good to see tactics broken down like this.

One question i would ask is about the evoution of Klopp. So Dortmund fans said that Klopp’s side started to become more found out, so sitting deep and avoiding counter attacks. Surely then the quality of the player is what makes the difference when a team sits so deep?

Klopp has changed whilst here including his attitude to rotation so he could think that in England, he cannot win like he did in Germany. As for keeper, i dont believe he is happy with it.

Guadiola has got it right at city by adding players all over the pitch who can dribble and are great in 1v1 situations. We have a front 3 who excel at that but lack players with this ability from deeper positions. Coutinho offered it and Keita will do, those 2 together would have taken us to another level. We'll need that replacement for Coutinho and as POP says and I've said for years that #6 will be the key, nobody in our midfield anticipates the counter attack, they don't have the defensive awareness.

If we could combine the awareness and anticipation of Lucas with someone who has the passing range of an Alonso then we would take some beating.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #35 on: January 7, 2018, 12:52:12 pm »
VVD will help with that, he’s a defender that stays on his feet and anticipates passes
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #36 on: January 7, 2018, 12:57:51 pm »
Great read, thanks. Rather better than 150 odd pages of cry arsing about Couthinho
Yep, far more interesting.

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #37 on: January 7, 2018, 01:10:34 pm »
Great post yet again Pop!

Where does Wijandlum fit in the template?

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #38 on: January 7, 2018, 01:10:43 pm »
Could Gini play the number six role well?

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Re: The Klopp Template - Are we getting closer?
« Reply #39 on: January 7, 2018, 01:17:44 pm »
Hats off, great write up and and excellent upper in the wake of Coutinho departure.

Looking at that Dortmund side is also encouraging. An example of how far a side can go if there is a clear plan, regardless of losing key players.