For the past few years, we have been highly impressed with Jurgen Klopp’s tactical philosophy. However, we have quite formed the habit of redeveloping his tactic in football manager subsequently. And so far, his gegenpress style has never disappointed us in the previous FM versions. In real life, the German manager’s style is doing wonders for the Liverpool side, which gifted them their 4th UCL title in 2019. So for that, we wish to feature Jurgen Klopp 4-3-3 gegenpress tactic with Liverpool FC in FM20 in this post.
Klopp’s team has been in high spirits this season, especially in the Premier League. With 25 wins, 1 draw and zero loss so far, it sure proves that the gegenpress tactic has been reinvented or modified to be better. And in FM20, we are getting similar results showing off the power of this tactic. Let’s dive into this… shall we?
FM20 Tactic: Jurgen Klopp 4-3-3 Gegenpress Tactic
Liverpool’s build can come as a surprise sometimes. But oftentimes, they play out of defence. And sometimes, they might surprise the opposition by going direct, which can turn out to be an effective counter-attack if the opposition guards are down. The attacking sweeper keeper, Alisson, is now really good in his kicking distribution, which can find an attacking teammate in the final third.
Another thing about Klopp’s tactic this season is that the build-up doesn’t have any particular area of focus. Will they play through the middle or flanks? Will they go direct or maintain possession (which they use sometimes)? All these questions make the opposition find it difficult to counter Klopp’s game plan.
However, in FM20, because of the tactics features present, I couldn’t find a way to make this tactic more dynamic as Klopp’s real-life tactic. But I tried by not selecting any area of focus, not choosing to underlap or overlap, keeping the passing directness standard, and constantly moving the ball into open spaces. These instructions make the team adapt and respond quickly according to the match situation. And it influences the team not to stick with a particular strategy.
Liverpool attack in different setups – influenced by the fact that the German boss gives his players optimum creative freedom. But the fullbacks subsequently carry out most of the attacks. They have excellent fullbacks (Robertson and Arnold) who are highly effective, especially when it comes to crossing. Moreover, Klopp’s team usually attack with 5 players, changing the formation to 2-1-2-5 or 2-3-5.
Sometimes, as I said before, they can go direct. This is where the attacking sweeper keeper and ball playing defenders come in handy. Once they notice the opposition has left a dangerous space, the wingers will move into that space while the SK or defender will hit the ball directly into that space, which will result to a deadly counter-attack. This also makes Jurgen Klopp’s men very good in turning defence into attack.
As a gegenpress tactic, the aim in terms of defending is to keep pressuring the opposition. Liverpool’s pressing is very intense (just like in Lampard’s tactic at Chelsea). The front three always start the press. They will keep pressing until they win the ball and if they lose it, counter-pressing follows.
So far this season, Klopp’s team keeps on displaying a good defensive performance. Their defensive line seems a bit high but not too high as seen in Man City’s tactic (we will still share Pep’s current tactic at Man City). The position of Liverpool’s defensive line makes it difficult to punish them on the counter.
While their defensive line stays that way, their first-line is much higher, which gives the forwards an advantage in pressing the opposition back-line.
Jurgen Klopp Role Selections
Sweeper Keeper – attack
Alisson has now proven to be deadly in his distribution. Not only that he has the ability of a traditional sweeper, he now has the confidence and footwork to break opposition first press.
Ball Playing Defenders – defend
Just like the keeper, Liverpool’s current defenders have developed their skills in kitting good long-range passes to breaking teammates in the final third. In addition, they are good ball carrying defenders. Van dijk, being the chief commander in the back-line, has excellent anticipation needed. Other players who play as BPD are Gomez, Matip, and Lovren
Fullback (attack) and Complete Wingback (support)
Under Klopp, the fullbacks carry most of the attacks. Fortunately, they have overlapping fullbacks with excellent crossing ability.
In Liverpool games, Robertson usually acts as a traditional attacking fullback. Moreover, he has the stamina, work rate, and crossing required. On the other hand, Trent Alexander-Anorld is a complete wingback. That’s because he has good dribbling and flair. In terms of role duty, Anorld is mostly under support duty, because he balances both his defensive and attacking responsibilities perfectly.
Deep Lying Playmaker or Half-Back
Fabinho often features in this role. He’s kind of Klopp’s favourite DM. But which role does Fabinho play? Well, what I noticed is the Brazilian picks a role depending on the opposition tactic.
Sometimes, Klopp gives him the deep-lying playmaker role when controlling and dictating the game’s tempo is necessary. However, sometimes he picks up the aggressive half-back (kind of a sweeper) role. Klopp, in most cases, uses him as a half-back when the opposition is using 2 strikers. In this situation, Fabinho will often drop between the 2 CDs to offer a numerical advantage against the 2 pressing strikers.
However, in FM20, I prefer to use the DLP role. Well I don’t know why actually, but I just love the control it offers. You are free to test any of the two roles.
Mezzalas (support) or Box-to-Box Midfielder
Jurgen Klopp’s central midfielders are either Mezzalas or BBMs, depending on who’s playing. The Liverpool head coach tends to use Mezzala when he wants to overload and take advantage of the half-space. Chamberlain, Keita, and Wijnaldum usually play as mezzalas.
However, Milner and Henderson oftentimes play as BBMs; although Henderson has the ability to play as a mezzala. Klopp uses the BBM role when the central areas need more attention, but sometimes he combines the two roles.
Inside Forward or Raumdeuter
Mane is an inside forward under Klopp. The Senegalese international knows his job very well. On top of that, he’s a tenacious and spirited player who can do anything. Klopp gives him absolute freedom to roam. As a supporting IF, he subsequently drops to pick up passes or help in defending. While Salah, on the right, is an attacking inside forward. But these recent times, Mohammed Salah appears more as a Raumdeuter on some occasions. Klopp prefers him investigating spaces and exploiting them.
Moreover, Shaqiri and Origi usually play as supporting inside forwards.
Roberto Firmino is now a master in the false 9 role. His position in Klopp’s tactic is to deceive the opposition defence line, thereby opening spaces for Salah or Mane exploit. If you mark him tightly, you are in trouble. If you leave him, you are in trouble. The only way to render Firmino ineffective is to cut-off passing lanes getting to him.
In FM20, Firmino as F9 did more than we expected. Actually, he’s our highest goal scorer. Isn’t that kinda weird? Well, see the screenshot below.
Results and Statistics
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