Jota’s ability to toggle between positions will allow JÃ¼rgen Klopp to use him, and the rest of Liverpool’s frontline starters, in a variety of ways.
Adding Diogo Jota to Liverpoolâs front line will give JÃ¼rgen Klopp the stylistic and tactical flexibility that he has craved right back to his time in Dortmund.
learned a valuable lesson from the back-end of his Dortmund days — something that ties the recruitment room to his coachâs room. As the magical run was winding down, he knew his side had to evolve. Opponents had adapted to his go-go style; by the end — the peak — Dortmund were veering dangerously close to one-dimensional.
Klopp worked hard to bring stylistic divergence to his Dortmund side, though he was often undercut by losing his stars (Gotze, Lewandowski, Kagawa). His end goal, as noted in the seminal book âBuilding the Wallâ, was to establish a side that could attack with patience or pace, with skill or muscle, depending on the situation.
Liverpool have already adapted under Klopp. Theyâre more of a possession-oriented side these days than the quick-transition, heavy-metal team they were in Kloppâs early years; the creative burden has shifted out to the flanks; the press is less intensive and more targeted; there are have been year-to-year tweaks to the overall formation and philosophy.
Adding Thiago Alcantara and Jota marks the next stage of evolution. Both bring formational and positional flexibility that will allow Klopp to adapt game-to-game and within a game, which has been the sideâs only weakness over the last two seasons.
It will be interesting to see how Klopp navigates his forward line this season. In Mohamed Salah, Sadio ManÃ©, and Roberto Firmino, he has the most efficient and destructive front-three in Europe. Theyâre settled. The pieces fit.
Jota will add another dimension. Or, rather, allow Klopp to apply new dimensions. As Dan Morgan noted yesterday, Jotaâs statistical output it almost a carbon-copy of Sadio ManÃ©âs final year at Southampton before he moved to Liverpool.
As both ManÃ© and Salah have shown, what they do in their final year at their club before Liverpool doesnât mean a whole lot about what they will do with Klopp. The player profile — including that output — is what attracts him, but he will have his own vision for the player.
What Jota showed, both with the eye-test and the numbers, is a willingness to run, lethal speed, smart pressing, and nous to know when and where to move in the final third. Other than that, his game is a set of skills that Klopp can look to mold: He doesnât profile as a false 9, but could creativity become a stronger feature of his game? Will he rotate with ManÃ© and Salah? Could he lead the line?
All of those options are open. At Wolves, Jota split time between playing through the middle and lining up on the left — 38 percent of his minutes were as a central striker; 32 percent as a wide-forward on the left; 8 percent as a number 10.
The old classic and still the go-to. Jota will provide quality depth — an outstanding option off the bench and someone who can spell either of the front-three in stretches.
There are few, if any, like for like replacements for ManÃ© but Jota’s underlying numbers place him closer to ManÃ© on the Salah-ManÃ© spectrum. Jota should slot in comfortably on the left side of Liverpool’s traditional front-three.
It will be interesting to see if Klopp tries Jota on the right in a bid to get Salah some rest. Most likely, he will. Jota’s willingness to run in-behind would help keep a Salah-like threat, the one that often forces defensive lines to sink deeper and thus freeing up room for Firmino and ManÃ© to do damage.
This could easily read or line-up as Jota-Salah-ManÃ© or Jota-ManÃ©-Salah. A free-roaming, position-switching, all-out-pace, Nascar attack. Would Klopp roll out this trio rather than sliding Takumi Minamino into the false 9 spot?
You could format this in different ways, too: A shift to 4-2-3-1 with ManÃ© back over to the right hand side and Firmino tucked in-behind Salah. When Klopp has switched to a 4-2-3-1 in recent years, it’s been with Salah at the tip of the spear and Firmino in the hole. Ordinarily, Klopp finds someone to play on the right (Xherdan Shaqiri, Minamino, Divock Origi et al.) with ManÃ© still on the left. If Jota profiles as someone who can play on the right, Klopp would be able to maintain the fruitful Robertson-ManÃ© relationship. This, as much as any, feels like one that could switch on a possession-by-possession basis: How about Salah and ManÃ© on the wings with Jota leading the line and Firmino in-behind against uber-defensive teams? Fun.
More or less a free-for-all. And more or less what the 4-2-3-1 would look like in actuality: Four smart, technically gifted players capable of taking up space here, there and everywhere. Klopp toggled to what was, in essence, a 4-2-2-2 against Arsenal in the Community Shield. It was tantamount to the old Brazilian model: We will have two players to sit and shield the defence, the rest of you, go create!
Liverpool F.C., Mohamed Salah, Jürgen Klopp, Anfield, Sadio Mané, Chelsea F.C.
Actu monde – US – Adding Diogo Jota gives JÃ¼rgen Klopp all manner of tactical flexibility