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19-Sep-2020, 09:07 pm

Thiago and now Jota: How will Liverpool line up under Klopp this season?

Thiago Alcantara Diogo Jota Spain Wolves GFX

After a summer of waiting, Liverpool finally got down to some serious business this week.

The Reds' transfer policy has been the source of much criticism, but fans' concerns were blown out of the water as the Premier League champions produced two major signings in the space of 48 hours.

Firstly, the big one.

The arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich was confirmed on Friday, with Liverpool paying an initial £20 million (€22m/$26m) for the Spanish international star– a marquee signing at a knockdown price.

But no sooner had Thiago signed on the dotted line, having agreed a four-year deal and to take over the No.6 jersey at Anfield, than Liverpool were off finalising another deal.

Diogo Jota is the man, the Wolves and Portugal forward on the verge of completing a £45m (€49m/$58m) switch from Molineux.

Jota, a versatile frontman who has scored 44 goals in three seasons at Wolves, has agreed a five-year contract and will provide much-needed competition for Liverpool's fabled front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

So, how will Liverpool line up going forward?

Thiago, surely, will be expected to start, while Jota will initially be seen more as a rotation option.

Here, though, Goal takes a look at a few of the options at Jurgen Klopp's disposal.

Klopp has generally gone with a 4-3-3 formation during his time at Liverpool, with their attacking threat coming not just from their star forwards, but from their ultra-productive full-backs, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The midfield, often, has been more disciplined and hard-working than incisive or spectacular. Fabinho or Jordan Henderson play at the base of it, with Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner or Naby Keita, or Henderson if he is not used as the '6', in the No.8 roles.

It will be interesting to see which role is given to Thiago, a better and more progressive passer, and someone capable of dictating the flow and tempo of a game.

Certainly, the likes of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and even club captain Henderson will have strong competition, while the fit-and-firing Keita is another who must keep himself at a high level if he wants to play regularly.

Klopp could field Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago together, in a midfield three which offers experience, nous and tactical discipline, as well as a good range of passing.

Of course, the likes of Keita, Wijnaldum, Milner and even home-grown prospect Curtis Jones will fancy their chances of starting games too, while another intriguing option comes in the shape of Fabinho at centre-back.

It's a position the Brazilian has played before, and looked pretty comfortable in, too. Liverpool have Joe Gomez and Joel Matip vying to partner Virgil van Dijk, but both have suspect injury records and have been known to miss substantial chunks of matches.

Could Fabinho drop back, allowing Thiago to play as the No.6 with Henderson and Wijnaldum (or Keita) either side. It's an option, and managers love options!

And what of Jota?

The Portuguese will not expect to walk straight into the starting XI– even given his hefty price tag– but his presence enables Klopp not only to rotate the likes of Salah and Mane when needed, but to experiment with a change of system too.

He has been known, on occasion, to move to a 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 formation, moving Salah or Mane up with Firmino and adding an extra wide player, usually Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi or Takumi Minamino.

Minamino has looked good in pre-season, and we should expect the Japan star to feature this term, but Jota's speed, aggression and goal threat from wide could prove a more than handy option if Liverpool wish to mix up their approach this season.

Whatever Klopp decides, it promises to be an exciting season at Anfield.

They began the campaign with a madcap 4-3 win over Leeds last weekend, and now face games against Chelsea and Arsenal in the coming week, with a League Cup tie at Lincoln sandwiched in between.

The Reds boss, then, will need all the options he can get.

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