Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in 2015 after guiding Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title in 2010-11, a domestic-double the next season, and a Champions League final in 2013, where they lost 2-1 to their German rivals Bayern Munich. Klopp always had a reputation of being experimental with his tactics that leaned toward high-pressing attacking style of gameplay. And to that end, he’s put together the best attacking trio of Europe in the past few years.
Since Salah joined Liverpool in 2018 from Roma to complete the trio with Sadio Mane and Robert Firmino, and all three of them fit perfectly to the roles Klopp expects them to perform. In one way or the other, they complement each other’s gameplay, which is of ultimate importance to the team’s goal scoring abilities. All three of them have a defined role in the team in how they form up to create more spaces and more chances in front of the goal.
Firmino is more of a number nine in this attack as he is not much in a goal-scoring position but his movement on and off the ball always allows others to run into the empty spaces created by the defenders that follow the Brazilian.
Sadio Mane takes full advantage of what Firmino does by moving off the ball. He usually plays on the left-wing, but his role is to cut into the central space and use his natural right foot to take his chances on the goal. So rapid is his acceleration that he often leaves defenders behind by a big margin to where he finds himself in a one-on-one position with the keeper.
Salah’s role is somewhat similar to that of Mane, but it differs slightly because of the natural abilities of the Egyptian. He finds himself more in those one-on-one situations and tap-in opportunities, which means he can also act as the center forward for his team. He is always found dancing around the opposition’s box to convert those crosses and surprising through balls. Even when he is on the wing, Salah has his magical left foot curl in shots on the far post.
Liverpool’s first-choice front three have scored more than 150 goals in all competitions in the 2018-19 season and been a nightmare for every defending unit. The team is no longer dependent on a single player, but a combined effort in all the departments have led to their recent success. Even though they just missed out on the Premier League title by a few titles, the trio’s consistent performances have helped their team reach the UEFA Champions League finals on back-to-back occasions and eventually win the most prestigious club competition.
Feature Image Courtesy: AFP / Oli Scarff