3 things Jurgen Klopp must change from 1st leg against Atletico Madrid to win | Champions League 2019-20
- What should Jurgen Klopp do differently in order to beat Atletico Madrid at Anfield?
2. More directness and speed from midfield
Believe it or not, Liverpool have a very bad record in European away games under Klopp. Despite reaching two Champions League finals in a row, the Reds have struggled away against the big teams such as Barcelona, AS Roma, Napoli, and Atletico Madrid. Many people blame Klopp's selection of a "workhorse" midfield in these games as one of the major reasons why the team fails, and that argument does have its merits.
In the first leg, Liverpool had over 70% of the possession and completed more than three times the passes which Atletico did - yet, they could muster not one shot on target. The passing from the midfield was slow, with no decisiveness and a lack of a final through ball which any of the front 3 could latch on to. That is essentially where Liverpool lost the game, as they had no creativity from their midfield three of Fabinho, Georgino Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson.
Captain Henderson got injured during the end of the game and has not featured for Liverpool since, but he could play a part in this game. What Klopp needs is his midfield to be more creative and pass the ball quicker and into better spaces, as conservative sideways passing and moving the ball slowly will have no benefits against a low block, a deep defending team such as Atletico.
Henderson excelled in the #6 role in the absence of Fabinho, and the manager could decide to move the midfielder back there so that he can release the ball quick and long when the situation arises. The inclusion of Naby Keita is also an option, as the midfielder is adept at creating chances through his quick dribbling and passing skills. This game could very well be decided in the middle of the park, and Liverpool needs to do more with the ball as they will have the majority of the possession again.