Why 4-4-2 could be the key to Liverpool unlocking £64-million man Nunez.

The Reds' striker looked far more comfortable against Rangers as Jurgen Klopp searches for ways to get his team firing again.

As Jurgen Klopp looks for methods to get his club back on track, the Reds' attacker seemed much more at ease against Rangers.

Was there a glimpse of Liverpool's future on Tuesday night at Anfield? The Reds' routine victory over Rangers in the Champions League could be significant for Jurgen Klopp as he looks for answers to his team's current problems.
Undoubtedly a boost to confidence, but it may also serve as a kind of playbook for subsequent games.

 

The 2-0 victory, earned thanks to Mohamed Salah's penalty and Trent Alexander-free-kick, Arnold's was referred to by Klopp as "the game we wanted to play" on a night that served as a stark reminder of the disparity between the top clubs in Scottish and English football.

Although Klopp will have been thrilled to see his team play a little bit more like themselves, defending well, pressing with purpose, controlling the game, and generating chances, Liverpool could have — and should have — won by a larger margin. They would have scored six or seven goals on another night. Darwin Nunez might have had four by himself.

The Uruguayan striker was the most notable inclusion to Klopp's starting lineup, as the boss decided to switch things up after being unsatisfied with the team's draw with Brighton the previous weekend.

Klopp lined up with four forwards, Nunez joining Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, and Diogo Jota in a system that changed from a 4-4-2 without the ball to something resembling a 4-2-4 with it, replacing the 4-3-3 formation to which we have grown so accustomed but which this season has struggled to control games as it once did.

Whatever the semantics, the fact is that it mostly succeeded. Liverpool was able to open up far more of their game today than they have in recent weeks, despite the fact that Rangers may have been a docile and even ideal opponent. With a trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal coming up on Sunday, Klopp will be hoping they can build on the fact that they looked a lot more like themselves.

Klopp stated his decision, "We wanted to defend differently than what we typically do. To achieve that by adding an extra attacker may seem paradoxical, but front-footedness has long been a top priority at Anfield, and there was a satisfying intensity about the way his reorganized bunch went about their work.

Darwin Nunez Livepool GFX

The shift in emphasis appeared to be advantageous for Nunez in particular. The 23-year-old has had a difficult time adjusting to life on Merseyside, but he can learn a lot by making his debut Champions League appearance for his new team. He put in a lot of effort, ran well, and took advantage of his opportunities. several opportunities. He would have left with the match ball if it weren't for the seasoned Rangers goalie Allan McGregor.

Of course, it depends on Arsenal as to whether he will preserve his spot. While Jota's record against the Gunners makes him difficult to ignore, Roberto Firmino seems like a more obvious choice for that matchup and is also the Reds' leading scorer so far this year. The international player for Portugal has scored in each of his last five encounters with Mikel Arteta's team.

Nunez's performance, however, will undoubtedly have given Klopp something for thought. Although the sample size is limited, he appeared the most at ease since leaving Benfica, and Anfield undoubtedly appreciated his efforts. Ten minutes before the end, Harvey Elliott took his seat, and he received a standing ovation.

Darwin Nunez Liverpool GFX

Fans recognize his talent, no doubt. Although he isn't the most skilled player—not yet, at least—he is a virtual magnet for opportunities. In a Liverpool jersey, he averages one shot on goal every 12 minutes, and it is only a matter of time before goals start to pour.

Undoubtedly, the four-forward system seems to work for him because it gives him support when the ball is brought up to him and gives him room to dribble past defenders.

There are parallels between Nunez and Fernando Torres in that sense, and Klopp would have been thrilled to see Nunez's shrewd movement rewarded with effective early passes from Salah, Jota, and Jordan Henderson against Rangers, plays that on another day would have resulted in goal assists. It seems that the striker's runs were understood and valued, which can only be positive moving ahead.

After the game, Klopp observed, "I felt the way the boys moved up front today together was incredibly, extraordinarily good for only one session working on it." We only played recently, so we only had [one] low-intensity practice because we had never done it before.

"So, you simply see how excellent of a striker he is to be in these circumstances all the time. Everyone, I believe, saw tonight that this would happen, so everything is good.

The same is true for Jota, who surprisingly has gone 18 club games without scoring but provides so much in terms of pushing and off-the-ball activity. He was also denied by McGregor against Rangers, but he made good game connections that made sure Henderson and Thiago Alcantara, the two-man central midfield, were never left exposed.

Diogo Jota Liverpool GFX

It would be intriguing to see if Klopp keeps doing it against Arsenal, who will be a much bigger threat both during the build-up and throughout the transition. Although Fabinho, who has struggled this season, was able to sit out the match against Rangers, Liverpool may believe that his experience and physicality are essential against the in-form Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and company.

Ironically, Fabinho's adjustment to Klopp's team was aided by a change in formation, with Liverpool switching to a 4-2-3-1 in the fall of 2018. The Brazilian, who had a hesitant and cautious start at Merseyside, never looked back and played a crucial role as he and the Reds rose to the top of Europe.

Could Nunez have a similar situation in 2022? It's too soon to make a firm judgment. But if Liverpool lines up in this manner once more in the upcoming weeks, we shouldn't be shocked.

How many goals are you backing him to score this season? ⚽


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