I mentioned this in more of an attacking sense but i'm a huge fan of this system, especially with the players we have at our disposal.
I like the 4-2-3-1 system too, it's perfect for pressing as shown in the video and he used it at Dortmund all the time. I however don't fully agree that it's the best system for us to use offensively. Who would you play as the #9 and who would you play as the #10 in that system? You'd need two players that can interchange well. A traditional #10 in that system would occupy the space that Firmino likes to operate in. So unless the #10 is comfortable switching positions and running in behind the opposition defence, I think it would limit our attacking play and Firmino's strong points too much. I could see that work with a combination of Lallana and Firmino though, could be interesting.
I don't think we've used that formation often when Firmino started up top? So far, from what I remember, we've only used it this season when Solanke was starting and Firmino wasn't. In terms of player profile Solanke is closest to what he had in Lewandowski for his 4-2-3-1.
What I do like and what we've only started seeing this season, is the 4-4-2 / 4-2-4 or whatever formation you want to call it. We've got good wide players for that system in Mane and Chamberlain and with Firmino and Salah we've got two incredibly intelligent players who combine really well, can play of eachother and can drop deep / run in behind the defence.
This is so well done. It also has me thinking of what goes on in the last 5-10 minutes of some of these games. James Milner talked about being boring and killing games, but that usually is translated sitting back, putting in another center back and or another holding mid. You look at the City game, against the most talented team in the league, and you see just how the defending truly does start at the front. Then at the end, with subbing on Milner and Lallana, you don't see that kind of organization, and of course they enjoyed more success and made it a tight game. I wonder if the emphasis at the end should be more about pressing than about "being boring." I understand there will be fatigue issues toward the end, but shouldn't the emphasis on subs be on players who can keep the press going. And maybe it is, I don't know but I look at that video (and I've watched the match 4 times now) and I see they were mainly contained because they couldn't build out of the back.
I think the emphasis is
on subs who can keep the press going. How often this season have we seen fans questioning Klopp's subs and in game management because we are still pressing late on in games rather than sitting back and closing out games the way the chavs and the mancs would for example?
The issue is not what Klopp wants to do, the issue is the lack of depth in terms of players who can execute the press to the level our starting eleven can. Fatigue will always be a factor of course.
If you look at the City game as an example. Due to illness Can was taken off and replaced by Milner and later on Salah by Lallana. All the tactical analysis shows how important Can was to our shape and pressing throughout the game. Klopp clearly wanted to keep it going, but Milner has neither the legs or the pace (plus he's also a poor tackler) to execute it like Can did and that was a major issue.
Look at how we conceded the second goal and who was easily beaten while trying to press
. It's Milner. So the emphasis was still on pressing and the gameplan was still the same, that wasn't the issue. The issue was / is Milner not being good enough to execute the press. Had Can still been on the pitch in that situation, I'm fairly sure we wouldn't have conceded that goal.
Going over our squad and our starting eleven, let's say this is our strongest starting eleven (when everyone is fit):
Karius, Clyne, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson (or Moreno), Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mane, Salah and Firmino.
Then you look at the bench, when fatigue starts to kick in. Who do you sub on when you want to keep the emphasis on pressing? Other than our starting eleven, we have only got two or three other players who can execute the press: Henderson and Chamberlain. The rest are good players (Milner, Sturridge, ...), but they're not what we need in a pressing side. You'll always have injuries and both Henderson and Lallana are out injured quite frequently, so our options there are pretty thin. Once Klopp is able to bring in more players (Keita will certainly help) who can execute the press too, we'll be a lot better later on in games. Our starting eleven is getting as close to a "Full Klopp side" as it gets, now it's time to improve the squad and for that the signing of Chamberlain for example was very important.
The other problem is the kind of side you're facing. You can only press a side that allows themselves to be pressed. When bottom / midtable league teams are chasing goals, they don't play football like City did, they bypass the press and play long diagonal balls into our FB areas or into the box and try to win the second ball (we've conceded quite a few in this manner). In that situation pressing is pointless so the only solution is bringing on the extra CB / midfielder.
We did to City what other teams regularly do to us, we bypassed the press by playing longballs in behind their midfield.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onj-oYpYlac
Here you see how important Wijnaldum and Chamberlain were in limiting Gündogan and more importantly De Bruyne. Wijnaldum was amazing and was tasked with man marking De Bruyne for spells during the game while also cutting off the supply to De Bruyne. It was only once Wijnaldum started to get tired, that De Bruyne managed to get into the game and get things going for City.