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Arne Slot ditching Klopp's Liverpool tactics could trigger tense battle between four stars


Jurgen Klopp’s favoured 4-3-3 formation is set to be cast aside once Arne Slot takes over at Liverpool. The outgoing Feyenoord boss, who is expected to take the Reds hotseat after a £9.4million compensation agreement was reached between the clubs, will need to select an attacking midfielder crucial to the way his team operates.

A three-man midfield has become customary under Klopp, who informed Liverpool late last year that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. And on the whole, the system has served the Reds well, with a Champions League triumph and a Premier League title among the accolades to show for Klopp’s nine-year stint on Merseyside.

But Slot has made his name using a 4-2-3-1 formation, which is set to transform the make-up of Liverpool’s midfield. Rather than a relatively flat trio in the middle of the park, two holding midfielders could be selected with a single attacking midfielder – or No 10 – to pull the strings.

That role is vital for any side, with the designated player serving as a central link between the deep midfielders, the wingers and the striker. For all of Liverpool’s talent, there is no nailed-on candidate to step in.

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But four Reds stars may feel they are in with a shot. Cody Gakpo has been hit and miss since signing from PSV Eindhoven after the 2022 World Cup, with Klopp frequently fielding him in different positions.

The Dutchman has featured as a central striker, a winger and a midfielder, but still finds himself trying to fight his way into the starting XI from the fringes. The 24-year-old has only started 13 Premier League matches this campaign, but he may feel his chances of regular game time would be boosted by the presence of a vacancy in attacking midfield.

Slot, as a veteran of Dutch football, will be perfectly familiar with what Gakpo would have to offer in the No 10 role. But there are other capable players who could rival him for the starting berth.

Alexis Mac Allister has gone down a storm in his first season at Anfield. Operating at the base of midfield or in a more forward-thinking role, the World Cup winner has the attributes to thrive as the No 10 in Slot’s formation, but could equally find a home in the double pivot if the incoming Liverpool boss opts to go in a different direction.

Dominik Szoboszlai has also been impressive following a £60million move from RB Leipzig last summer. The Hungarian has been asked to play deeper by Klopp this campaign but showed during his time in the Bundesliga that his deadly shooting ability would make him another viable option in attacking midfield.

A fourth candidate, hoping to edge out the three big-money stars, is Harvey Elliott. At 21 years old, the England youth international is yet to establish himself as one of the first names on the team sheet, but his close control and competence in tight spaces could take Slot’s fancy once he casts an eye over the entire squad.

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