Jurgen Klopp probably never thought his formation and attacking style would influence the famous Brazilian National Team, but it appears he has.
Speaking to the media ahead of Brazil’s friendly match with Uruguay in London at the Emirates Stadium on Friday, Brazil manager Tite praised both Klopp and Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, who seems set to take the No. 9 role permanently from Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.
“Klopp does an extraordinary job, it’s beautiful to see them play, especially on the counter,” Tite said. “Even losing players like (Philippe) Coutinho, (Klopp) maintains the high level and reorganizes the team.”
After playing a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 at the World Cup with Jesus at the top, Tite is taking these last two friendlies of 2018 to experiment playing a front three in the mold of Klopp, with Firmino dropping back to connect with the midfield, allowing the two wide players to cut inside and make runs forward at the defense. In Brazil’s version of Klopp’s Liverpool, Neymar figures to be in Sadio Mane‘s left wing position while Douglas Costa will start on the right wing.
“If you bring Firmino, he plays inside the area and goes out to make smart combinations,” Tite said in a separate interview. “They call it false 9, but for me it’s true 9.”
One of the drawbacks of this is that while Firmino likes to drop back and combine, so does Neymar, which could leave not enough targets forward, or could be perfect with Marcelo overlapping on the left wing. Between Neymar and Firmino, the pair will have to communicate to decide who is dropping and who is drifting out wide or holding the line up top to create spaces in midfield for one of the two to connect and create.