Tuchel: Traditional No. 10s struggle against Liverpool

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If Thomas Tuchel is willing to move one of the best players in the world out of a preferred position on the pitch, then perhaps we’ll see Premier League teams do the same in a bid to break down Liverpool.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 3-2 PSG ]

The Paris Saint-Germain boss admitted that he used Neymar at left wing and Kylian Mbappe on the right — neither a grand departure for the electric attackers, but a departure — despite his desire to line Neymar up as more of a traditional central playmaking No. 10.

The reason? Liverpool. And reading between the lines, Tuchel probably thought Neymar would get butchered by Jordan Henderson and Virgil Van Dijk if he was played centrally. From The Liverpool Echo:

“There wasn’t much space for Neymar to play number 10. Liverpool try to get you to play in that area and then close that area well, our plan was to utilize the space on the flanks and use the space of Neymar and Mbappe.

“We wanted to use our full-backs to control the ball and slow things down. We tried to play well. It’s time to emphasize the mental strength of my players and their quality on the ball.

“You have to remember that Liverpool’s closing down is second nature, it’s automatic to them. They do it naturally.”

West Ham deployed 4-2-3-1 and lost 4-0. Palace went straight 4-4-2 and put a scare in the Reds but lost 2-0.

Brighton’s 1-0 loss came with a 4-1-4-1, while Leicester also went 4-2-3-1 in a 2-1 loss.

Oddly enough, Spurs didn’t get much done with their 4-3-1-2, but their No. 10 scored in the match and Lucas Moura was a danger trying something similar.

Then again, Klopp said he “changed the system” to thrive in the match, which could mean Tuchel’s initial plan could’ve been more successful.