LIVERPOOL have switched to a 4-2-3-1 against the ‘smaller’ teams — and it’s got Mo Salah back in the groove.
Last year they rarely, if ever, deviated from the tried and tested 4-3-3.
But they have switched it up against Southampton, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff now, and it’s given them a new way to break these sides down.
The likes of Cardiff will sit really deep, petrified of leaving space in behind for the pace of Salah and Sadio Mane to exploit.
So with Salah as the one up front, the Egyptian is able to occupy the defenders, creating huge gaps in between the opposition’s backline and their midfield.
It’s a role he plays very unselfishly, stretching the game and driving the defence back, knowing he won’t often get in behind himself.
His tireless running allows the three behind — Adam Lallana or Xherdan Shaqiri alongside Mane and Roberto Firmino — to get on the ball in far more space than they would usually have.
Liverpool still have their two sitters, but because the opposition don’t want them to dictate, their midfield will often be too detached from their back four.
Jurgen Klopp knows that he can still go with 4-3-3 against the ‘bigger’ teams, playing on the counter and able to get in behind.
But the Reds boss has clearly adapted for other games, knowing that the space behind won’t be there.
It also allows them to give an extra man license to create going forward compared to when playing a 4-3-3.
It’s worked out perfectly in their last two games and stands them in really good stead to mount a serious title challenge.
Paul Pogba was nonchalant with the ball in the lead up to Everton’s penalty.
But his understanding with Anthony Martial on United’s left is working a treat.
Martial keeps his width out on the flank, giving two huge benefits to United.
It gives him the space to drag the opposition right-back across so he can line him up one on one and use his pace, power and skill to take him on.
The other massive plus is that it frees up room in between the right-back and centre-back for Pogba to move into.
Alexis Sanchez has played on the left a lot but it just doesn’t work as well.
The Chilean tries to come inside, playing deep and narrow looking to get on the ball.
But instead of creating space for Pogba, the two invariably end up on top of each other, near enough holding hands at times.
I love seeing Pogba running forward from deep positions.
When he bursts into those spaces not many can keep up with him and he is one of the best around.
It’s clear the two can get the best out of each other when playing on that left-hand side, showcased with how Pogba found Martial for his clinching goal against Everton yesterday.
Consistency is the key with Martial.
He has found that in the last few weeks and looks like the magnificent player I’ve always thought he is.