Jurgen Klopp prioritizes energy over artistry in his midfield setup, which was just one of a number of interesting subplots bubbling under ahead of the Reds’ trip to face Paris Saint Germain last night.
The French champions’ model is perhaps the polar opposite of Liverpool’s and that was evident in last night’s midfield battle as PSG ran out 2-1 winners in a match which kept both sides’ European hopes in the balance.
Marco Verratti was fielded at the heart of the hosts’ midfield which set up in something resembling a 4-4-2 at times; in theory, Klopp’s energetic 4-3-3 system should have been able to overwhelm the Italian and stop him playing.
It didn’t quite work like that. Despite Liverpool’s numerical superiority and Klopp’s preference for a high-pressing game, Verratti was able to boss proceedings for much of last night’s game.
It’s important to point out that Verratti was very lucky indeed to escape a red card for his tackle on Joe Gomez and the way he continued to commit fouls thereafter.
But that doesn’t change the fact that he possesses an ability to dictate a game with his passing that none of Klopp’s midfield can match.
Klopp knows that, so the onus falls on him to create a tactical approach that uses his shuttlers to shut down midfield playmakers, but he failed on that score last night.