Posted on September 20th, 2018
4-4-2 or 4-3-3? Or maybe experiment with a back three, a pair of wing-backs and a No 10 in a 3-5-2 formation – or is that 5-3-2? There are almost infinite ways to line-up 10 outfield players, and that’s before getting to the players themselves.
Take Liverpool, for example. They’re one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League, and look the most likely to rival champions Manchester City in 2018-19. Jurgen Klopp usually favours a 4-3-3 formation, and much of it picks itself. Alisson is in goal, Virgil van Dijk is one of the centre-backs, and Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are the front three.
But Betting.net got to wondering – if it was possible to pick an XI from Klopp’s current crop of players and the Kop idols who won the Champions League in 2005, who’d make the cut? It’s a 4-3-3 formation and the terrific trio up front today is almost a no-brainer, but after that? Rafa Benitez’s squad from 13 years ago was full of talent but most of it was in midfield and defence – but should the steady Steve Finnan get the nod over the promising Trent Alexander-Arnold? Does Andy Robertson deserve the left-back slot, or is that John Arne Riise’s?
The decision wasn’t limited just to the pitch either. Klopp has produced a team vastly more attractive to watch than Benitez’s, but Benitez delivered trophies – and after all, isn’t that the name of the game? Klopp reached the 2018 Champions League final but where Benitez inspired the comeback to end all comebacks against Milan, Klopp couldn’t stop Real Madrid lifting the trophy for the third straight year.
If Klopp takes Liverpool a step further in 2018-19, or ends the title drought that goes back to the early 1990s, then maybe the choice would be different. As things stand, though, it’s a 2005-heavy XI, but with a 2018-calibre attack – the best of both worlds.