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Why this link?
Antoine Griezmann's love of Uruguayan culture is well known, with his footballing philosophy mirroring that love and not that far removed from Deigo Godin or Luis Suarez. Griezmann fights for his team - sometimes to his own detriment, especially in the race for personal accolades.
So, therefore, it’s not hard to imagine him playing for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Smart tactically, Griezmann also embraces a challenge. He has been constantly linked with Manchester United and the Premier League has always intrigued him but it is perhaps Liverpool who would suit him best. There is of course also the financial draw of the league.
AUXERRE MANAGER JEAN-MARC FURLAN’S VIEW
“He is one of our most beautiful players,” says Furlan. “He was raised, almost entirely, in a culture of combat, of struggle, with Simeone.” So inevitably his 'fighting spirit' is evident. The philosophy of Klopp and his famous 'gegenpressing' is incredibly well-suited to Griezmann's style of play.
Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at Melwood Training Ground on May 14, 2019 in Liverpool, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
- 4-3-3 with Griezmann on one side
Left or right, Griezmann can adapt. But his Barcelona setbacks have proven that he is most useful to the team in this area. However, on the right Liverpool have Mohamed Salah, and on the left, Sadio Mane. While this formation would allow for continuity it would come at the cost of one its star players.
- 4-3-3 with Griezmann as the false nine
Here Griezmann would be the focal point but he would have to be withdrawn given the physical nature of Premier League defences. It would possibly be a struggle for Griezmann plus it would force Klopp to sacrifice Roberto Firmino. Bad idea.
The chosen formation: 4-4-2 with Griezmann behind Firmino
The first is obvious. This is a terrifying attacking quartet. The combination of Griezmann and Firmino in the middle allows Klopp to keep Salah and Mane in their best positions - and it also leaves Griezmann to dominate centrally.
Technically, the Firmino-Griezmann partnership should cause any defence trouble. Tactically as well it would allow Liverpool to field a central spine with magnificent reading of the game: Alisson – Van Dijk – Fabinho – Henderson – Griezmann and Firmino. As for the defensive work, 'Grizou' could take on the role of being the first man to press the opposition.
The Frenchman would be operating in a similar role to the one he excelled in for the national team, where he plays off Olivier Giroud. The profile of his two partners may vary but the chemistry seems promising.
Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud
Image credit: Getty Images
“The system is just a pretext to the actual game,” Furlan cautions. “But it all depends on the relationships built between each player.” In other words, on paper or in FIFA this would be a brilliant side, but in reality there are no guarantees with this system.
Plus if Griezmann is working hard higher up the pitch it would deprive Klopp of an extra man in the middle such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner or Georginio Wijnaldum. The adaptable nature of those three still bring an attacking impetus to the team which helps form the balance that Klopp’s team has.
“Griezmann at Liverpool, why not?” Furlan says. “There are no doubts about his ability to adapt to Klopp’s style of play.”
However, it is still difficult to see him fit in Klopp’s system. A move to a 4-4-2 might create an attack that will overcome the defensive shortcomings that formation creates. Might.