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Jürgen Klopp has already made a move that could open the perfect farewell to ‘Red Bull’ Liverpool



Jürgen Klopp has already made a move that could open the perfect farewell to ‘Red Bull’ Liverpool

Liverpool have adopted a 4-2-2-2 formation in recent games, which could benefit Naby Keita as the Guinean midfielder shone in that formation for RB Leipzig.

When Naby Keita first arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 2018, he was seen as the answer to Jürgen Klopp’s relatively limited midfield division. The German’s engine room was full of diligence and determination, but Keita offered those extras and added some stardust as well.

The Guinea international has shined as part of the Red Bull network progressing through their renowned system. He originally emerged as a talent in Salzburg, joining from FC Istres in France, before moving to Germany to test his skills at a higher level. He continued to be in the spotlight when he joined RB Leipzig from Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg. Keïta showed all the typical strengths of a Red Bull player, showing candor, diligence, commitment and a desire to win possession.

During their most successful spell in the Bundesliga, Leipzig used a 4-2-2-2 system, with Keïta often forming a double hub alongside Diego Demme. Red Bull’s signature line-up has brought out his greatest assets and allowed him to flourish as the ultimate transition player.

The formation is often adopted by coaches who want to get up quickly with vertical passes, since it acts almost like a ladder on the pitch. Ralf Rangnick, Ralph Hasenhüttl and Jesse Marsch are just three examples of managers who like to counterattack and go for the go without throwing too many lateral passes – and they’ve all cleared the Red Bull goal

Since moving to Merseyside, Keita has been part of a 4-3-3 formation, often lining up as one of Klopp’s two number eights. The 28-year-old has generally contributed well but looks set to leave Anfield next summer once his contract expires.

It will be a sad end to his time on the English coast, with many fans wondering what his undeniable potential may be. Keita has always been a relatively stable performer, but he has never really managed the Liverpool engine room that he was signed to.

The Guinean national team captain appears poised to leave the club without showing his top level on a consistent basis, although a recent tactical shift enforced by Klopp could provide him with a platform to thrive in the coming months.

Perhaps he was first introduced to face Newcastle United in a crucial away match at Tyneside. When playing at home, the Magpies are proactive and assertive off the ball, which had to be taken into account when formulating a tactical plan for Klopp.

Instead of using their 4-3-3 system, Liverpool played in a way that changed when the team had possession. Gakpo refrained from leading the line himself by staying high up the pitch, instead dropping into midfield to play in the same midfield line as Jordan Henderson, with Fabinho and Stefan Bajčetić sinking even further as a duo.

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