Monday Aug 11Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
Last season (2013/14) I had written how the best formation for Liverpool will be 4-4-2 (Diamond) which Liverpool adapted toward the second half of the season which also included that superb unbeaten run which was halted by Chelsea. The new season is upon us and with it brings the new challenges, with the departure of Luis Suarez and the way Rodgers has built this new team to reflect his philosophy by strengthening the team in few areas which concerned us last season lets see which formation can be utilized this season. Also with the bench strength vastly improved over last season when Rodgers had to name some young players on bench due to an already thin squad being reduced even more by injuries to key players it provides a different sort of challenge to manager.
Last season Liverpool used about 8 different types of formations to overcome a different opponent which shows the tactical awareness and the adaptability of both manager and the squad. The system Rodgers will be implementing this season will be his preferred and loved 4-3-3 which can be easily modified to 4-2-3-1 with same players without any substitutions. Talking of substitutions Liverpool made the fewest last season a whole of 88 which was largely due to limited options and quality like to like replacements on bench, this season it will be different though. The players Rodgers has signed are clearly the ones who will suit his system and have one quality in abundance is their pace. But there are still a few signing to come till the window closes down most notable will be the Sevilla left back Moreno (deal might be completed after the Super Cup) along with a Central Striker (Marquee Signing will be a good statement of Intent), backup goalkeeper and if Lucas Lieva leaves a Central Midfielder.
The Possible Strongest Liverpool Lineup for 2014-15:
Mignolet has been steady and Jones although not spectacular has been solid when called upon during Cup games but Liverpool need a backup goalkeeper to keep Mignolet on his toes.
With the arrival of Lovren and Manquillo the Liverpool defense looks the strongest with enough cover at all position which is much better than last season when Flanagan played at left back due to injury and somewhat poor form of Cissokho. With the possibility of Moreno added to squad it will solve the long standing problem for the club at left back position with Moreno such highly rated in Spain, although he might need to adapt to EPL quickly since he won’t get much game time due to late transfer and his involvement in Super Cup for Sevilla. With so many new arrivals there might be some player surplus to requirement namely Kolo Toure, Illori, Coates, Kelly and sadly Agger too, some players may be loaned out.
Emre Can has looked good in the Liverpool midfield in preseason, he has the muscle to take on the tough tackling PL, Gerrard has really grown in his deep-lying-playmaker role but with age not on his side it will be interesting how Rodgers will utilize the talisman with so many matches to play in the coming season. Henderson seems to have been given a target for goals this season which is evident from his surging runs into the box, now that Can is there to cover along with Gerrard. Lallana although injured will be a huge player for Liverpool because of his versatility of playing in many positions in midfield and even in forward position wide or behind the strikers. Coutinho has been the star men for Liverpool this preseason and it keeps baffling how was he left out of Brazil squad by Scolari. Allen the once called “Welsh Xavi” might be low in pecking order but will get to play important role with so many matches to look upon. Suso sadly will be loaned out again which will be sad as the lad has lot of potential and it would have been good to see him play some sort of role in later stages of season but hopefully he will return as a much better player.
Talking about the forwards Liverpool has the best young talent in form of Sterling, Sturridge, Markovic, Ibe and Borini (he might be leaving). Also the Liverpool boyhood fan Rickie Lambert has been a good addition to attack at cut price deal and brings with him a few goals. Sterling and Sturridge can combine to become the new SAS with Sterling adding a few more goals to his game and Sturridge remaining fit by overcoming those niggling injuries he suffers every now and then. Markovic has pace but looks equally injury prone it will be interesting to see how he adapts to PL’s physical nature. Missing out on Remy was bad because of his versatility, pace and PL experience but hopefully Rodgers will get a better replacement till the close of window.
Although this lineup may change at some positions like Left Back and in one of forward position depending on whom we sign it won’t be easy to name the starting lineup with a variety of options at Rodgers disposal. But looking at the players we are being linked it’s clear that Rodgers isn’t going to sign players who won’t suit the 4-3-3 system nor is he going to panic buy in this window. Let’s look at some key positions that still need strengthening.
Possible new signings:
Backup goalkeeper: with the departure of Pepe Reina to Bayern, Liverpool need a good understudy to Mignolet who can also challenge for the starting place and provide solid cover if Mignolet gets injured. Also with European commitments it will be beneficiary that backup goalkeeper can start those league matches just before the crucial midweek away ties.
Central Striker: Daniel Sturridge showed last season that he can play the central role effectively and lead the attack but is still very much injury prone as evident in pre season too, along with the rumored Departure of Borini the team looks short in Center forward position with Lambert mostly a backup option to come off the bench and provide a plan B to overcome stubborn defenses. Although Liverpool has been linked with many big names over past few weeks chances of we landing any one of those look slim, which leaves us to choose between Bony and Lavezzi who might be available at a knockdown price.
Midfielder: Two nasty injuries has seen Lucas fall down the pecking order in the Liverpool Midfield, hard to believe that the very same Lucas was the best player for us a few season ago and was one of the first names on team sheet, but times do change quickly in football and a lot of things happen. With Napoli (of course Rafa) interested in Lucas we might need to bring in a new midfielder to add to our ranks.
This year with a strong squad it will be interesting to see how Rodgers utilizes the squad and try to impose his stamp even more now that the team has the players which suit his philosophy. The stronger defense, solid midfield and versatility of the forwards with pace will be the main weapons Liverpool will look to build the 2014-15 season upon and will try to get off the blocks as quickly as possible like they did on many occasions last year but the real test will be how Rodgers men handle the pressure of expectations to go one step further and lift the title along with doing well in Champions League. But from what we have seen from last season expect Rodgers to keep modest targets of top four finish as priority and getting out of group stage in Champions League and build the momentum towards the end of season and see how well we finish.
All I can say is that, the future is bright and in safe hands in form of Brendan Rodgers. #WeGoAgain #YNWA
Monday Aug 11Posted by: James Nelson Comments Off
Any time a team finishes second in their respective league, the immediate aim should naturally be to make the necessary improvements to rise that single spot and finish on top the next season.
Last time we were in this situation, it went horribly wrong. But that was during a period when extraneous circumstances meant that taking that final step up the table was a far greater challenge than it should have been. Many mistakes were made, but the overriding factor was our lack of funds and failure to back the manager from our calamitous owners.
Luckily no such issue is present this time, though a different problem has reared its head in the form of the departure of a player who was absolutely pivotal to what we achieved last season. If we had kept the same group of players as last year, and made a handful of good signings to improve the squad and one or two weak areas, no doubt we’d be up there as many people’s favourites to win the league this season.
Such is Luis Suarez’s quality though, that his exit from Liverpool has fans and pundits talking like we’re back to square one and even a top four finish may be out of our reach. We haven’t exactly made a like-for-like replacement signing for Suarez, so of the six first team signings (excluding Divock Origi) we have made, it’s hard to judge which, if any, of them we wouldn’t have brought in had Suarez stayed.
Last season we were poor defensively, so if we were anything other than devastating in attack, there’s no way we would have been challenging for the title. Luckily, the likes of Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling, and Coutinho formed such a lethal forward line that it compensated for our vulnerabilities at the back. Take away the key player in that front line, and on paper we are left with a bad defence and drop down to simply ‘good’ in attack.
You can understand the thought process that a team selling a world class player, and not signing a world class player, will probably have become a lesser side. But that is a very basic way of assessing the situation, ignoring the defensive reinforcements we have made, the squad depth we have added, and the improvements of our other players, both individually and collectively.
The likes of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic may not make up for the loss of our former number seven, but they are players who fit into the manager’s style and philosophy perfectly. Add to that the improvements that Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho have already shown in pre-season, and the potential that Daniel Sturridge could step up yet another level with being the main man up front, and I don’t think the loss of Suarez will hit us as hard as some may make out.
The Uruguayan is no doubt one of the best players ever to play for Liverpool Football Club. But he was a player so good, it was worth building the team around him to play to his strengths. Brendan Rodgers now has that chance to put his own stamp firmly down on the team, with the exact players he wants and where he wants them, instead of fitting them around one individual. Last season we were very easy on the eye and exciting to watch, but a lot of that came through the ridiculous talent on show from Suarez. This year I expect to see a lot more team play and fluidity, with players interchanging and combining with no one single focal point.
At the back, we have also made steps to tighten things up a bit. Dejan Lovren I think is a massive signing for us. He’s a player I wanted us to bring in a year ago when he originally moved to Southampton, but he’s exactly the sort of authoritative defender that we needed to add some presence to the back. I think he will bring the best out of Martin Skrtel, and in the longer term I can see him and Mamadou Sakho developing a top defensive partnership.
It was essential to address our issues at full back this summer, and it looks like we are on our way to doing that. Javier Manquillo, and potentially Alberto Moreno, will add some much-needed quality in the positions where last season we looked so weak. Glen Johnson’s decline was one of the few negatives of last season, and while Jon Flanagan impressed, he is more of a solid, reliable option than a long-term solution. Jose Enrique has looked decent in pre-season, but still shows signs that his road to recovery from injury isn’t quite complete.
Having surprised so many people last season, but now losing our best player, we are somewhat of an unknown quantity at the moment. Combined with a fuller fixture list with Champions League games at long last making a return, and other sides like Arsenal and Man Utd looking like they’ve improved, it’s all set to be a wild, unpredictable season. What I will say is that people can write us off at their peril. They think that the man who has dragged us back to being one of England’s best teams has just left us for Barcelona. In actual fact, the man responsible for our comeback will be taking his positon in the manager’s seat at Anfield come one thirty on Sunday. In that respect, people claiming Liverpool have lost their main man this summer are very much mistaken.
By James Nelson (@_James_Nelson_)
New York City has a new dedicated LFC supporters clubhouse. They proudly bring you “The Boot Room NYC.”
The Boot Room NYC at the Irish American Pub & Restaurant on 17 John street is centrally located in downtown Manhattan’s financial district. Easy access from every major MTA train line and the NY/NJ Path Train.
A Liverpool Supporters club house is the dwelling every fan dreams of.
Great memorabilia, delicious food and amazing atmosphere, our one of a kind spacious RED environment has multiple large screen TVs, a full game room that includes; pool tables, darts, arcade and ping pong. Boot Room NYC is sure to be the epicenter for worldwide LFC supporters for years to come!
In New York there is only one place to watch the mighty reds on game day. When the senior squad is not in action catch LFCTV and share the company of fans any day of the week. All LFC, all the time. Built for Liverpool FC supporters by LFC supporters.
Follow on Twitter @NYCKOPITES