Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp must continue to play a front four to combat his defensive problems, according to Arsenal hero Paul Merson. Klopp is set to be without first-choice centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for the majority of this season due to respective knee injuries. Van Dijk injured his anterior cruciate ligament in October and Gomez underwent surgery on his patellar tendon on Thursday.
That leaves Joel Matip as the only fit experienced centre-back at Klopp’s disposal.
And Merson thinks the best way to fight the defensive issues is by going all out attack at the other end.
Klopp fielded a front four of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City.
Merson believes that is what Klopp must do on a regular basis.
“If you finish above Liverpool and don’t win the league this season, you’re bang out of luck,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“With the firepower they’ve got, if they play all four of their forwards, they are going to score two goals a game.
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“I think it’s a good option and I think it’s what they will do – because it takes the heat off their defence without Gomez and Van Dijk.
“It’s a way of playing on the front foot, which is Klopp’s way, and a way of letting other teams worry about them.”
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Merson says Liverpool must not start to play negatively because of their problems at the back.
He added: “If they go the other way and start being negative because they know they’re missing key players at the back, I see them struggling.
“They won’t be shutting up shop. They went to the home of one of the best teams in the country, without Van Dijk, and played a front four.
“So I think it would be a mistake to go too negative now they’ve lost Gomez. Playing the four forwards together gives them so many options.
“Without Van Dijk and Gomez you are losing a lot of pace at the back. They are the only two centre backs in the country who can confidently defend two-on-two up the pitch.
“Liverpool play on the halfway line, with their full backs bombing on, because they know those two are comfortable against pace if it breaks down.
“But if you play all your forwards, you are making the other team worry about you more than you have to worry about them.
“It’s a risky strategy but I think it’s the best way forward for them and I think it could work. It worked pretty well at City.”
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