Gerrard hails Pool's switch to 4-4-2

Reds impress on both ends after late gambles by Klopp

Have Liverpool finally found a solution to their defensive woes?

Reds legend Steven Gerrard hopes so after a switch to 4-4-2 helped Juergen Klopp's men tighten up at the back in their 4-1 win over West Ham at the Olympic Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Two-goal hero Mohamed Salah and back-from-injury Sadio Mane may have hogged the headlines after tearing Slaven Bilic's men apart.

But the much-improved defensive display from the previous performances that saw the Reds concede 16 goals in 10 English Premier League games, was also noted by Gerrard, who was speaking as a pundit on BT Sport.

He said: "You've got to give credit to the manager, whether it's the tactics or formation today, he surprised everyone by going for a 4-4-2, but what he did was to give Liverpool a solid base.

"The fullbacks (Joe Gomez and Alberto Moreno) were very disciplined, I thought Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum were superb protecting the back four and that gave licence to Salah, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane and (Roberto) Firmino to cause West Ham all sorts of problems.

"And that's what they did with their power, their pace, with how direct they were.

"Liverpool have got many artists in this team, so the fullbacks don't need to go (up).

"They can stay and you can play with two sitting midfielders. That makes you more secure, certainly away from home, and I thought today they looked a lot more solid defensively."

Salah's double (21st minute and 75th) sandwiched goals by Joel Matip (24th) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (56th). Manuel Lanzini scored for West Ham in the 55th minute.

The handsome victory, which was achieved without star player Philippe Coutinho, came as a result of some last-minute gambles by Klopp.

He said: "There were a few very difficult things to decide. Bringing in Mane from the beginning after his injury, after just his first full session - I've never done something like this before. Obviously not the worst idea I've ever had.

"(Then), changing the system without proper training. Again, yesterday first time, we did it in training. The 4-4-2 looked maybe from the beginning like a very offensive line-up.

"But we had a very different idea, we actually wanted to defend deeper and be more compact, and using the space we have for the counter-attacks.

"We would never know how it would have been if we didn't score the first one. But it was quite an open game until then.

"We had to get used to it a little bit. It's difficult for the boys to wait a bit more for the challenge than to jump straight into it."

Another tough decision came when skipper Jordan Henderson was ruled out for the game by the medical department despite insisting that he was fit.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet then took over the captain's armband, while Wijnaldum, who was initially ruled out and didn't even bring his boots along, took Henderson's place and lasted the full game.

Said Klopp: "We lost our skipper overnight and Wijnaldum did not have his boots here.

"His condition had improved overnight. We thought he had no chance of playing, we brought him here so he is nearer to Amsterdam, he was flying there to see the doctor.

"I'm not sure where he got his boots from." - WIRE SERVICES

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