Premier League • England

Ferdinand cuts through failing Liverpool formation, explaining why Klopp has made Reds ‘like Atletico Madrid’

Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, October 2022

Rio Ferdinand claims that Arsenal made Liverpool play in Atletico Madrid’s deep-defending fashion in a fresh blueprint on how to hurt the Reds.

The Anfield club came into Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Rangers looking to put right their recent wrongs. They had stuttered to four wins in 10 games, but the defeats stood out a lot more.

And last Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Arsenal provoked the strongest questions yet about where Liverpool are headed.

Boss Jurgen Klopp has got into a war of words with ex-Red Dietmar Hamann about a lifeless look to the Reds. Hamann also insisted his fellow German’s future is not absolutely secure.

Former Man Utd defender Ferdinand has now had his say on where Liverpool are going wrong. Indeed, the pundit pointed to Klopp’s change of formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1.

“When have you ever seen an Arsenal team be on the front foot and go and press a Liverpool team in recent years?” Ferdinand told BT Sport before the clash with Rangers.

“But the way this Arsenal team are set up, you have to give them great credit, they were brave. They smelt something and you look at it and you think about the central midfielders in this team.

“They [Liverpool] can’t get out and there’s a good reason for that. There’s [Granit] Xhaka and there’s [Martin] Odegaard and then you can see the two midfielders for Liverpool there.

“All they’re concerned about is, ‘Where is he going?’ And all of a sudden you get this man [Odegaard] starts to recycle things and control the game. This happened so often in the game.”

Liverpool looking like Atletico Madrid – Ferdinand

Ferdinand concluded that Arsenal forced their visitors to look like Atletico, in a worrying sign of how to get at Liverpool in their new formation.

“The two [Liverpool] central midfielders drop back into the top four, almost, and all of a sudden Arsenal are controlling things continuously,” he said.

“You look at Liverpool and you go, ‘Wow’. This Liverpool team are looking like Atletico Madrid under Simeone.

“This is very different to what we see, so it will be very interesting to see if they continue like this going forward and against City.”

Reds now battling fresh injury blows

The pressure mounted further on Liverpool heading into Tuesday’s clash with Rangers.

Klopp lost Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz and Joel Matip to injuries. The former two are only out for a brief period, although it will seem like a long time given the busy pre-World Cup schedule.

And Colombia winger Diaz faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines with a knee problem.

In better news, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones were back in training before the match.

What’s more, Ibrahima Konate has recovered and will be a boost to Klopp given Matip’s injury.