What’s the bench like now?

Posted by

In recent seasons Liverpool FC’s Achilles heel seemed to be the lack of depth on the bench. When a player like Torres or Gerrard was out injured, which unfortunately was often the case, the Reds were in crisis. This summer’s transfer session was aimed to cure that deficit which always saw the Reds off the starting blocks with a handicap that teams like Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs did not have.

Whichever way you look at it today, and whichever the starting line-up, you know and you feel re-assured that whoever is called upon to replace a player, there is equal quality. The efforts made to cover each position with two quality players have paid off big-time. Let’s take a look at what we have on offer, and allow me to say it’s very impressive:


Don’t get all technical with me if I might have not placed a player according to your liking. The scope here was to visualize the potential we have on tap. The Reds now have the option and luxury of applying any playing module they wish or which is best suited to counter measure the opponents. We have quality players that can play 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with ease.

Let’s take a theoretical but practical situation. Say for a particular game Kenny Dalglish and Co have gone for a 4-3-3 set up with the following starting line-up: Reina, Johnson, Carra, Agger, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Adam, Bellamy, Downing, Suarez. You’d have a bench looking something like this: Doni, Coates, Skrtel, Kelly, Henderson, Kuyt, Carroll. Notice the difference? Swap around any player to your liking and you still have a bench oozing with quality and talent. Well done FSG, well done Comolli, and a big well done to Kenny!


  1. Another great article Tonio. As someone new to these forums I have enjoyed reading all the blogs.

    I think for true “depth”, you have to be able to put out a 2nd XI that are capable on their own of finishing in the top 6. Each player should have a replacement that could slot into the team relatively easily without upsetting the balance. So, I’ve written the team out slightly different, without using the same player twice.


    As you can see we have players 3 deep in some areas which is great, and ironically, I feel we are a little short on cover for the Charlie Adam CM role. Meireles would have filled that role and the squad would have really looked complete, however he didn’t want to be a LFC player so thats his mistake.

    However I think that this has been one of the best transfer windows I can remember for a long time (I’ve been a LFC supporter for 30 years) and I just have a feeling that DC, KK et al may well have something up their sleeve for January should we need it.

    1. its a massive difference in a small year when you compare the options available to the manager. Even when being strict as you’ve been and slotting players into just 1 positions, we still appear to have a amount of depth.

  2. Can’t put it better. Am so relaxed knowing injuries or not we still have good players who can take to the field.

  3. That’s why I’m buzzing bout this season, all players willing to run through brick walls for the gaffer. YNWA

  4. Hi there Toni, great & reassuring read. If I may add one more point & that is the back room staff supporting KK is a vast improvement on what agent Woy had to offer.

    1. I agree Sharde. Kenny’s staff is just as good as the rest. There is an incredible synergy and it is showing in the way we play.

  5. We should try to sign Gary Cahill in January on a pre-contract. That would be a quality free transfer for next season. I rate him as a better defender then skrtel and wilson.

    I would love if we signed a player like hazard too. Another young forward would be nice too now that ngog is sold. Or if not using the money on a forward, maybe a forward from the academy could make a step up.

    1. Justinis. I agree on Cahill but I doubt he will come to Liverpool. The Reds had an ‘opportunity’ to use Ngog as a makeweight on a possible deal for him, but I guess they went for spending £7 mil on Coates rather than £ 20 on Cahill. Having said that, Cahill is a fantastic player with all the right qualities and he will be an asset for any team and England. If it did not happen this summer, I feel it will not happen in January.

        1. Personally I would have gone for Cahill. But the influence and recommendations of Suarez plus the cost (premium plus salary) are totally different from having engaged Suarez. Cahill would have also perhaps expected/demanded a starting berth when fit, something he would definitely get at either Arsenal or Spurs.

          1. I think that is the biggest factor there, Cahill would have expected the starting position whereas Coates is willing. Overall I feel we have been very shrewd in the market with the players being brought in at good prices and like Coates, willing to blend into the squad.

  6. I think DrKop has the most likely lineup, but I think Carragher might lose his starting berth sooner rather than later. Henderson could fill in for Adam and so could Maxi, who has some experience in the centre of midfield.

    1. Hi Colilie. As I wrote I was not essentially looking for a line up. My scope was to show that whoever is eventually picked for a start will still leave space for a quality bench which will not see us going ‘Omg Ngog for Torres’, ‘Poulsen for Lucas’ ecc, ecc!

    1. That was not a very optimistic comment Tom! Are you that sceptical or are you not the positive type? The well done in this case is for a fantastic overhaul of the squad which has seem idol Torres and favorite Meireles leave. If we win any silverware or go back to being a top four team as is planned, then it will be time for congrats not well done!

      1. Tonio, I am sceptical mainly because of the many false dawns in the past, further to this I am disillusioned over the transfer/contract situation (not just at Anfield) but they are a good example. Over the last six weeks or so the club has signed quite a few players and on each occasion the contract negotiations seemed to go on forever, however when a player decides he wants to leave the hard fought over contract appears to be not worth the paper its written on. To continue, when a club signs a player say on a four or five year contract the club must surely take into account the length of the contract when deciding how much the player is worth paywise and it is very likely that a player agreeing to a short term contract would not attract as much pay, but when Meireles left he appears to have taken long term pay (for the last year) for a short term contract. Perhaps you would like to weigh that view up and maybe do an article on it. going back to the original issue – the well done,s are only well done if at the end of the season congrats ARE in order. I like you hope that will be the case but I dont see the absence of Meireles and Aquilani with Adam and Henderson as replacements as a step forward those players signed contracts, very lucrative ones and should be made to honour them, its something to do with integrity…..

  7. No mata d players liverpool buys or wud bring in, in future. Dirk kuyt can neva warm bench for any reason. He is d most hard workin player liverpool has eva known.. Anoda to b compared to him is lucas leiva..

    1. Like Kuyt, Carra and even Steven Gerrard, the newcomers will slowly but surely make their way into the starting line up. I expect them to give much more to the team but I also expect them to work harder due to the increased competition.

  8. a very well constructed argument that’s hard to disagree with.

    we’re definitely much stronger than we were last season. and we didn’t do too bad then with a much weaker side under king ken, so i’m quietly confident about this season.

    let’s look at the rafa-esque facts here:

    – great manager and coaching staff.
    – a squad full of potential and experience with the “x-factor” in suarez and gerrard.
    – sound owners: they’re not the sheik, but they’re not arsene.

    all the foundations are there, but unlike other clubs, we’re also backed by the best choir in the world.

  9. Great article tonio, squad is looking awesome. Even with injuries or just giving certain players a rest,our strenght is amazing. I think we just need a proper right winger and we will be complete in jan. Will prefer the sqaud we have and not to buy alot of players, that’s when trouble and fighting starts to happen but I’m sure kenny has everything under control.great season ahead. In kenny we trust. YNWA

  10. LFC only have one serious goalscoring forward. This will scupper any hope of even getting fourth. The failure to get Sturridge or Bryan Ruiz before the window shut will prove very costly. Spurs failed to finish in the top 4 last seson because of the meagre goalreturn from their strikers. Look at the Bolton game, the failure to score any more then 3 with 37 minutes to go was very disappointing. The following day City score 5 and United score 8. Those 2 results will add to the fear factor other teams will have this season when they face City and United.

    1. Your pessimism is legendary but I respect your view. Utd and City scored 8 and 5 respectively because they met against two sides that were having a very bad day at the office. There was/is an air of destabilisation at both Arsenal and Spurs and since the tranfer window was nearing it’s close they both felt the full brunt of it. No fear factor. Did you see Utd against West Brom? Did City excite you against Bolton? At the end of the day, the scope was to get Champions League football again so if the two Manchester teams are on another planet, as you ascertain, then we are still good for third.

      1. How do you expect to get 3rd with only one serious goalscoring forward out of four? Do you believe that Bolton were tougher opposition then Spurs or Arsenal. United’s game at West Brom was an away game which they still won despit losing Vidic and Ferdinand and likewise City’s game at Bolton. LFC drew at home to Sunderland because they had no other goalscoring forward beside Suarez.

        1. Let’s just see if Man Utd repeat their performance againt Bolton next weekend! We may have one serious goalscoring forward as you claim, but now we have multiple scoring options, unless you failed to notice.
          LFC drew at home because they had a very bad second 45 minutes which did not occur on the second and third game. It was the first game of the season and hopefully we should have as little of those instances as possible. Be positive Kenny!

          1. There is too much reliance on Suarez to be both the marquee goalscorer as well as the guy who links it all together. It has been evident so far that when he is not on the pitch the team stagnates. Overreliance on him will lead to overplaying and the inevitable injuries like what happened to Torres and before him Owen and before him Fowler. United always beat Bolton. Will LFC have the quality goalscoring options to beat Stoke and Spurs? I guarantee they will fail to win either game. Draws are no good in these games, 2 wins are vital.

    2. You do not require 1 player to provide the goals, we learnt that lesson already with the Spaniard we punted off to buy Suarez. The biggest factor is the ability of the rest of the teams to chip in with goals.

      1. Last season United had 2 strikers Hernandez and Berbatov contributing goals. Chelsea’s 3 titles have been won largely on the back of Drogba’s and Lampard’s goals. LFC do not have a 20-goal a season midfielder. The failure to have a second decent goalscoring striker puts too much pressure on the defence to keep clean sheets.

        1. Lampard clocks up so many goals because he is Chelsea’s penalty taker. So is Rooney, so was Ronaldo…….!

          1. United won the league last season despite Rooney’s poor form because they had 2 goalscoring strikers in Hernandez and Berbatov. To suggest that Lampard’s high goal tally is due to just penalties is laughable. Likewise your assertion that Rooney’s and Ronaldo’s goal tally’s for United are and were largely due to penalties is equally comical. Your claim of multiple goalscoring options is based on just one game against Bolton.

          1. Kenny, you are deluded. Kuyt got 15 last season,in a much weaker side, Adam was in double figures in a poor side. Carroll will probably get into double figures (if he plays) plus Downing, Maxi, and of course gerrard are going to get a few.

  11. Good article Tonio. Injuries are bound to be picked up along the season so we still have players who can fit in. The likes of Kuyt, Carra and Gerrard may be first team regulars but they need a rest. They are also intelligent enough to know they have a squad now and this can only ebenfit them having been pulling us out of the problems in many games while the rest of the team were lacking.
    This is was obviously the first thing Kenny understood and the club has gone out to correct it.

  12. I wouldnt say we are actually oozing with talent, but at least we have a decent bench.

    It is still going to take some time for Shelvey, Robinson and Flanagan to really mature into Premier League class players.

    There are 2 positions that we lack depth, and right sided midfielder and a holding midfielder. Spearing is a decent player but I dont see him being able to hold his own week in week out if Lucas and Adam are both out injured. Shelvey still a few more years till he comes into his own.

    Lets hope we have a relatively injury free season and are able to push for a CL spot.


  13. Yes. . it’s a bench full of talent, but much less experience than before. Out go Poulson, Kyriakos, Cole, Mierielles, Ngog.
    In come Bellamy and Coates.
    Hopefully we won’t need to look to the bench for experienced cover too often!

  14. Another great article Tonio. I’m beginning to feel that you must be promoted to our backroom staff! Haha.. Anyway, I’d like to see Mr. Pessimistic “Kenny” here eat his words come end of the season. YNWA!

  15. In response to gaf71 8 of Kuyt’s goals last season were penalties. The majority of Adam’s goals were penalties. Downing will not score any more then 5 or 6. If Gerrard plays he will take the penalties. Maxi will get very little game time this season.

        1. Ridiculous statement. Lucas never scores in the Premier League. Carragher has managed 2 goals in his whole career as a regular. It is a fact that the title or top four cannot be obtained without serious striking options.

Comments are closed