Thomas Tuchel's plan for Timo Werner can show Jurgen Klopp transfer mistake

He was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool last summer but on Thursday, he will line up against them.

Timo Werner eventually ended up at Stamford Bridge rather than Anfield after his monumental campaign in Germany last season, and although he hasn’t yet truly caught fire, Thomas Tuchel has plans for him.

He has already elaborated on how he’s best utilised, stating: “Timo can play as a double striker, as a number nine if he is clever enough to use his speed and runs but his favourite position is if he can move out to the left.”

The 24 year-old forward was benched in Chelsea’s recent contest with Manchester United and once the Blues boss was asked why, he specifically referenced the need for him to be ‘fresh’ for the upcoming clash with Liverpool in his reasoning.

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It was an interesting point for Tuchel to make, as he seemed to identify the Reds as more suitable opponents for Werner’s qualities than United, and it could be argued that he’s right.

Liverpool have evolved to become one of the most aggressive teams in Europe since Jurgen Klopp’s appointment in 2015; they are offensive by nature with and without the ball.

“We want to attack the opponent non-stop,” Klopp once said. “When we have the ball, when we lose it and when the opposition have it.”

The pressing game that Klopp is associated with demands a courageously high defensive line so that his team can remain compact from front to back while closing down opponents far from goal, and that isn’t usually a problem because of the skills of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Liverpool's high line has worked well in the past largely because of the few weaknesses held by their central defenders
Liverpool’s high line has worked well in the past largely because of the few weaknesses held by their central defenders

Those two defenders are considerably faster than normal while also being highly capable when engaging in one-on-one battles with attackers, but Klopp has been without the pair for most of the campaign due to injuries.

Joel Matip is also absent, with the Reds currently having to rely on Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips to fill the void by playing in almost the same manner despite learning on the job.

It will not always become problematic because of the dominance that is established in most matches, but Werner in particular has the traits to showcase why the centre of Liverpool’s defence is so vulnerable at the moment.

Timo Werner is ideally suited to attacking the space behind opposing defences
Timo Werner is ideally suited to attacking the space behind opposing defences

The £50m-man is lightning quick – especially over short bursts – and if Chelsea manage to escape the pressure of Klopp’s team at any stage, it is likely that Tuchel will have Werner positioned on the shoulder of Phillips and Kabak awaiting a through-ball.

If those passes are made, Liverpool’s centre-backs in particular will struggle to manage the situations that emerge which stresses the need for Klopp’s midfielders to offer adequate protection ahead.

The English champions are unlikely to pass up on the opportunity to press Chelsea high up the field; Klopp will deem the risk to be worth the reward given Tuchel’s men are still learning the ropes after just six weeks of his tenure.

Thomas Tuchel having words Chelsea’s Timo Werner

That clash of risk and reward makes for a compelling bout regarding which team will strike first. Will Tuchel break Klopp’s press and gain inroads behind his defence, or will Klopp disrupt Tuchel’s build-up by enforcing a costly mistake?

The answer will have a heavy impact on who escapes with three points.


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