A deep dive into tactical changes Klopp can make to save the season

Jurgen Klopp might need to think outside the box to salvage his final few weeks at the helm.
Liverpool FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League / Michael Steele/GettyImages

The past few weeks have been nothing short of embarrassing for Liverpool FC. From a 2-2 draw at Manchester United to a shocking pair of home defeats to Atalanta and Crystal Palace, both of which were clean sheet losses, there hasn't been a pleasant moment for fans of the club.

After hopes of a quadruple or at least treble were quite realistic just days ago, it's looking like it will be an uphill climb for Liverpool to earn any more silverware at all this year- so what exactly needs to change in order to beat the odds?

The first order of business is Atalanta. Of course, Liverpool are coming into Bergamo already down 3-0, so the approach to this match doesn't exactly apply as a blanket solution to the rest of the season.

The Reds need to absolutely sell out to maximize the attack to erase that deficit, even at the expense of solid defending, which could take a few different forms.

The first is something between a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-4 formation as seen above, either of which includes four forwards, the only distinction between the two being the general depth of the wingers.

Liverpool already creates chances like few sides in the World, but playing a pair of strikers might allow them to finish more of them, while also keeping the ball up the pitch.

We're putting Mo Salah up top with Diogo Jota; while the Egyptian King's playmaking will be missed on the right, it's simply the only choice, as Darwin Nunez has proven incapable of consistently finishing reasonable chances, but his explosiveness is still valuable on the outside.

The other way to approach this match would be to move to a formation with three, or technically five, at the back. This seems like it would be more defensive, but a back three would allow the unique fullback duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to be truly free to adventure up the pitch and create passes like only they can.

In both of these options, a some bold choices are made. Yes, we're sitting out Ibrahima Konaté; he struggles with playing fixtures in rapid succession, and after playing 90 minutes against both Atalanta and Palace, he's visibly weary and needs a rest.

The same can be said of Wataru Endõ, who has been vital in recent weeks but looked ragged against Palace.

Even if he were fully ready to go, the argument could easily be made that Szoboszlai is the best fit for this scoring-centric scenario, as his attacking acumen is simply greater.

Nunez has also lost his place. He should be leveraged as a super sub, as his athletic ability will provide even more advantage when he comes in fresh against weary legs, but with a clinical finisher in Jota returning, and the advanced dribbling ability of Díaz on the left wing, there's simply nowhere to put the Uruguayan given his shocking lack of chance conversion.

Yes, Díaz has sometimes struggled in the same regard, but the scope is not the same. The Colombian winger converts about 40% of his big chances, compared to 20% for Darwin, and over 50% for Salah and Jota.

Now we can dig into what needs to change across the entire rest of the season, as there is of course some overlap with the potential approaches to Atalanta.

But first, let's talk about how it's different. The decision between Szoboszlai and Endō is not relevant in the long run, as both will be able to find the pitch with Liverpool generally running their customary 4-3-3 formation, and the centre-back rotation will be handled on a match-to-match basis; we're not talking about permanently benching Konaté for Quansah.

One thing that will potentially need to be handled later on is the return of Conor Bradley, as it might be in Klopp's best interest to find a way to leverage both his talents and those of Alexander-Arnold, but the Northern Irish youngster is hurt right now, so those decisions are looking like they're a few weeks off.

The big alteration I've proposed for the Atalanta game that should apply throughout the rest of the campaign is the demotion of Nunez.

It's impossible to deny the peaks of his ability, but in terms of playing the striker position, he's simply nowhere near clinical enough with his chances, as evidenced by quite literally the worst big chance conversion rate across Europe's top five leagues.

For this reason, it seems that Darwin might be more of a left winger, and a great one at that. His playmaking ability is underrated, and his physical traits allow him to drive the pace of the match like few players can.

The issue for him at this moment is that Díaz is similar or better in many of the same areas, and he's even better in front of the net.

In the big picture, Darwin is going to be fine, and should be a big part of the next Liverpool era. If Díaz leaves this offseason, Darwin should slot directly into his left wing spot. If Salah leaves, Díaz is going to the right side, thus opening up the left for Darwin in that scenario as well.

However, for the rest of the season, chance conversion needs to be a priority. Jota, the most clinical finisher in the squad by most regards, must be the striker, while Díaz and of course Salah should be the first-choice wingers.

This isn't the Salah-Firmino-Mané Liverpool which not only relied on quick counterattacking football to generate goal scoring opportunities, but also buried them routinely; this squad's chance creation is driven by the outstanding play of the new-look midfield, and the selection up top should reflect that.

As far as rectifying the frailties that allowed Atalanta to rip in three goals at Anfield, a few issues will take care of themselves.

He's been solid in general, but Caoimhin Kelleher wasn't good enough on that day, and Alisson's return will be a huge boost on the back end. Kostas Tsimikas also presumably will not see the field; he was dreadful in all regards in the first leg, as the Trent-Robbo fullback pairing should return.

Speaking of which, Trent immediately changed the game when he stepped onto the pitch against Palace; expect his influence to be an instant positive.

Lastly, that Konaté fatigue won't be a factor, as he'll presumably sit down, so expect much more from Virgil as he pairs with a fresh and motivated centre-back partner.

Even through this run of poor form, Liverpool have been the better team on the pitch most days, with the exception of the first leg with Atalanta.

The issue has been converting that dominance into goals and then wins, but some changes up top, the return of some key contributors, and most importantly, acceptance of a new midfield-centric footballing philosophy should be enough to get the squad back on track.