Liverpool might have got Champions League via Pep Guardiola plan if Jürgen Klopp realized sooner

Liverpool might have got Champions League via Pep Guardiola plan if Jürgen Klopp realized sooner

Liverpool has experienced a pretty shocking campaign on Merseyside. On Thursday night, it was confirmed that Jürgen Klopp’s men will finish fifth in the Premier League table this season, meaning the Reds will compete in the Europa League rather than the Champions League next term.

Mohamed Salah reacted on social media after the news was confirmed, with the Egyptian understandably deflated. “I’m totally devastated,” he tweeted. “There’s absolutely no excuse for this. We had everything we needed to make it to next year’s Champions League and we failed. We are Liverpool and qualifying to the competition is the bare minimum. I am sorry but it’s too soon for an uplifting or optimistic post. We let you and ourselves down.”

Klopp attempted to turn the tide on a number of occasions throughout the season, exploring a whole host of different tactical experiments as a means of transforming Liverpool’s fortunes. He tried lots of different solutions, but the one that finally worked simply came too late, with the Reds boss suffering from a rare poor season by his own lofty standard.

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His first switch happened in October, with the German coach adopting 4-4-2 as a means of helping Trent Alexander-Arnold in particular. “The way we defended usually suits Trent but when we are not well tuned, we are exposed in these positions because we usually want him to press high,” said Klopp at the time. “For that, we found a different solution so he could defend in a different space. We had a different defensive structure.”

Little changed in terms of results, though, and not long after, Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz both got injured, which forced Klopp to test 4-4-2 with a narrow diamond shape in midfield. Again performances did not improve, with the go-to 4-3-3 returning to Anfield after the World Cup.

Klopp continued to toy with different ideas. New signing Darwin Núñez was deployed on the flanks, Cody Gakpo arrived as a mid-season transfer solution and the Liverpool boss even ditched his signature high press in favor of a more conservative mid-block of sorts, with the Reds intent on remaining compact as a unit when defending.

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