Liverpool continue growing Man City & Arsenal trend with Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister deals
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Midfield signings have been the trending topic this summer for Premier League sides, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all shaping a new-look midfield, but there’s a clear correlation starting to appear and it could change the way all of these sides will play next season, including Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
With clubs looking to emulate the success of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola’s style of play, teams are now looking to play with two attacking number eight’s in their midfield. For City, the defensive midfielder in Rodri shields and defends whilst the duo of Kevin De Bruyne and usually one of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva or Phil Foden were tasked with working in conjunction to work hard as well as looking to create and score.
It’s something that has worked wonders for the Citizens but a tactical tweak to a 3-2-4-1 formation in possession has allowed them to bring in an extra attacking midfielder. But it also means either a full-back can step into midfield alongside a defensive midfielder to protect against counter-attacks, whilst the other fullback slots into a back three.
For Liverpool, their signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai prove this, as both are tailor made to play in Jurgen Klopp’s new system which emulates the Guardiola approach. It also ensures that a right hand side including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah are one of, if not, the best right-sided trio in the league. Alexander-Arnold was thriving in an inverted role at the end of the season and he should continue to do so next season.
The likes of Arsenal have signed Kai Havertz and are about to complete the signing of Declan Rice, whilst they’ve also allowed Granit Xhaka to leave. As a result, we could see them deploy Rice, Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz in the same lineup. For United, the signing of Mason Mount points towards a midfield three of the former Chelsea star, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.
City will continue to operate the same despite Gundogan’s departure and will utilise summer signing Mateo Kovacic in that role, whilst his former club are too are exploring the signing of Moises Caicedo to allow Enzo Fernandez to be pushed further forward.
What this all means is that next season should see plenty of midfields with a similar make-up, but it’s unclear if two top sides will go so attacking against each other in the big games as it could be a recipe for high-scoring affairs. It’s more likely we’ll see them utilise this set-up more often against more inferior sides, when they will dominate the ball far more often and it should result in more fluid, attacking play if they can all gel swiftly which could result in more goals.
For Liverpool, they will now have a new-look midfield who possess a strong creative and goal threat and it should make them a totally different proposition for opposing teams as a Klopp’s ‘Liverpool 2.0’ begins to take shape.