Football is the most beautiful game in the world. One of the many reasons for this is how fair the game is. Tall or short, fat or skinny, fast or slow, everyone has a chance to play well in the game.
However, a team cannot have too many players of the same size and built. Liverpool has a distinct lack of size and that has led to many commentators passing on remarks that Liverpool are pretty lightweight. This is especially so for the midfield and attack. All of the top few teams in the England have men that have imposing figures. Tottenham have Chadli, Dembele, Sandro, while Chelsea has John Obi Mikel. Similarly, Man Utd have Fellaini and RVP, City has Yaya Toure, and Arsenal has Giroud. Even the best teams in Europe have a ‘man’. Ronaldo and Benzema for Real Madrid, Diego Costa for Atletico Madrid, Kevin Strootman for Roma, Zlatan for PSG, the list goes on. Heck, even Barcelona has Busquets.
Size is needed for ball winning and desperate situations. When down by 1 goal and a goal is needed for a draw and a free-kick is awarded, do we have sufficient men to score that desperate goal. When a goal kick is taken, there’s is definitely not enough men to win the header. Most of the times, Mignolet ends up punting the ball to Johnson or right in the middle of the field, and the percentage of balls won in the air is definitely not bright. However, despite size, a Liverpool player must be able to pass the ball and run significantly quick to overcome Gerrard’s ageing legs and to play the passing game that Rodgers so desires
Meanwhile, Liverpool do not have ‘big men’. Gerrard, Henderson and Lucas are not the biggest of players, Suarez and Sturridge look rather lightweight compared to the central defenders of other teams and Coutinho is rather diminutive. While SAS have been able to cope with whatever size they’re lacking and have been able to work as an efficient unit, the same cannot be said for the midfield. While looking at future transfer targets, the player must not only have quality, but he must also have size. A rough definition of size will be having a height of somewhere near 1.90m.
With 28 games left to go, Liverpool look likely to retain a front 2 with alterations happening in midfield and defence. The 4 possible formations look to be the current 3-5-2, the more centralised 4-3-1-2, the more adventurous 4-1-2-1-2 and lastly, the flat 4-4-2.
Throughout all 4 formations, the CM or CDM position definitely needs more quality and obviously, size. He needs the speed to make up for Gerrard, the stamina to defend and attack, defensive ability and attacking ability. The most obvious target here would be Nemanja Matic, who stands at 1.94m. Other names such as Javi Garcia, Leroy Fer, Sami Khedira and Alex Song are possible targets as well.
Another area that lacks size is the wing position. Usually, wingers are not very big, as they have significant pace to get past defenders. However, the Rodgers system needs the winger to play defense and press the central areas as well. This means that the winger must be able to use his size to win the balls in critical areas and use his strength to overcome large threats. With only Moses and Sterling as outright wingers in the team, more size is needed in that area as well. Liverpool have been linked to Yarmolenko and I personally feel that the 1.90m Ukrainian can be a ‘marquee signing’. Other names such as Pastore, M’baye Niang and Arnautovic meet all the criteria to be a Liverpool player.
The January transfer window will the make or break factor that determines Liverpool’s season. The top 4 and even the title can only be attained if Liverpool fixes its issues in the window.