Liverpool are set for a makeover with the arrival of new coach Brendan Rodgers. The formers Swansea boss likes players to show discipline within an attacking system based on Cruyff’s Ajax or the current Barcelona team. talkSPORT ponder how Liverpool could take shape under their ambitious new coach next season…
Liverpool already have the personnel in defence for the style favoured by Rodgers. Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique would be tasked with providing width to assist a narrow midfield, but would require more assistance from the two wide-forwards in pressing and tracking back. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger provide the necessary combination of ball-winning and distribution to complete the back four (if Agger can stay fit) and Pepe Reina’s Barcelona schooling and ability with the ball at his feet make him the obvious choice between the sticks.
The centre of the park is the area that will make or break Liverpool’s new system. Lucas Leiva will be required to slot in to the defence when either full-back bombs forward. The Brazilian will also need to show ability on the ball to turn over obsession quickly, as done so brilliantly by Sergio Busquets or Leon Britton for Swansea.
Charlie Adam will need more discipline in his passing to fit the system, but if he can do that then his passing range could be exploited brilliantly. He’ll also have to be more positionally aware to avoid getting caught out too far up the pitch, as pace isn’t one of his assets. Steven Gerrard will also need to accept a more disciplined role if he hopes to slot in to the new formation. His engine and eye for goal will be an asset as always, but he’ll also need to judge when to go forward and when to retreat with less anarchy than he’s accustomed to.
The front three
Andy Carroll’s at times lumbering style has little place in the kind of fluid front three that Rodgers favours. For that reason he may find he’s relegated to the bench, unless he can prove he has the technical ability of someone like Fernando Llorente required for a big-man to play in this kind of line-up. Luis Suarez should feel right at home in a 4-3-3, with his Ajax days spent scoring shed loads in a similar formation.
To compliment the Uruguayan, Swansea man Gylfi Sigurdsson could yet find his way to Anfield along with his new coach. Sigurdsson’s eye for an assist as well as his taste for goals could make him the ideal part of a reshaped front three. Sigurdsson could also interchange with Gerrard when required and move further back to make Liverpool less predictable. Fellow Liverpool target Clint Dempsey has the ball-winning mentality necessary to help out Liverpool’s full-backs, who will both need help when defending to avoid getting caught out after going forward. The American’s 17 goals a season would certainly help a team who couldn’t buy a goal last year, too. With the likes of Craig Bellamy, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll on the bench, the Reds would have options to shake up the attack, especially as Dempsey is adept at playing a more central striking role and Sigurdsson is equally dangerous playing off a front man,
Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing will face a battle to force their way into Rodgers’ plans. Likewise, despite his impressive goal scoring stats over the last two years, Maxi Rodriguez may find he doesn’t have the legs necessary to maintain the high pressing game advocated by Rodgers. Dirk Kuyt certainly has the energy, but his lack of touch may finally cost him a space in the new-look line-up.
Would this new-look Liverpool side be an improvement on last season’s under-achievers? Let us know your thoughts below…