Premier League • England

Key difference between Liverpool and Man Utd attackers revealed as Jurgen Klopp given major advantage

Jurgen Klopp and Erik ten Hag

John Barnes has given his verdict on Liverpool’s new 4-2-3-1 system and drawn comparisons with the Manchester United attack, revealing why Jurgen Klopp has the advantage.

Klopp has three centre-forwards at his disposal following the summer arrival of Darwin Nunez. The 23-year-old is aiming to become the club’s main striker ahead of Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.

Nunez had a slow start to life in the Premier League. This led some pundits to criticise Liverpool’s decision to spend so much on him.

Firmino is in the best form out of the three attackers. But Klopp needs to play Nunez to help his development and ensure Liverpool don’t waste the massive sum they paid on him.

As such, the manager has recently moved away from his favoured 4-3-3 formation and gone for a 4-2-3-1. This allows either Jota or Firmino to operate behind Nunez as part of a more attacking system.

Jota was selected behind Nunez for the trip to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, and the decision worked. Nunez scored in the 34th minute to make it 1-1. Ahead of the match, Liverpool legend Barnes was asked why Jota and Nunez were starting.

He explained the situation Klopp is in and also revealed why Liverpool’s system is more effective than Manchester United’s.

“Nunez hasn’t been doing particularly well because the team hasn’t been doing well. He’s got great potential,” Barnes said on Sky Sports (09/10, at 16:09).

John Barnes analyses Liverpool, Man Utd systems

“They played the same team against Rangers but it was an easier game. So I’m a bit surprised that Fabinho didn’t come in to make it a 4-3-3.

“The difference between the 4-2-4 if you like and Man Utd’s 4-2-4 with [Scott] McTominay and Fred is that the front four all work hard. Salah, Jota, Nunez, they will all work hard.”

Barnes continued: “Jota’s playing because he has a great record against Arsenal. Nunez is playing because he is the future of the club and if Klopp leaves him out his confidence could suffer even more.

“Though I may argue that I’d always play Firmino, he’s gonna play Nunez.

“You’re thinking about being outnumbered in midfield, but you won’t be as all four front players – Salah included – will work back defensively. So I’m not worried about Liverpool getting outnumbered or outfought.”

The Manchester United forwards have picked up plenty of criticism in recent seasons for not working hard enough.

Erik ten Hag is trying to rectify the problem, and this is why Marcus Rashford tends to play ahead of veteran goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

While Liverpool are going through a tough start to the season, their attackers are still working as hard as ever.

This is definitely something Ten Hag and United can learn from as they look to catch up with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool in the long run.

Meanwhile, a report claims Liverpool went after a Premier League star before he went on to join Tottenham instead.