In Brendan Rodgers’ preferred 4-3-3 formation we now have an absolute wealth of talent available in our front 3, however it is unclear to how exactly Rodgers will decide to start the season in terms of the front 3.
The beginning of last season youngsters Raheem Sterling and Suso both had a fair share of games playing either side of talisman Luis Suarez who played as the main striker of the front three. However towards the back end of last season it was new signings Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge who really mixed things up within the front three, with Sturridge becoming our main striker and Coutinho playing one side of him, with Suarez – when he wasn’t suspended that is – playing the other side.
Even last season saw far better displays from left winger Stewart Downing who was several times our best player in a few matches. And not to forget youngster Jonjo Shelvey who had the big boots to fill when at points he had to play as the top striker of the front three during Suarez’s absence, and capped this off with a fine goal away at West Ham.
However this transfer window seems to be showing signs of us further improving our attacking options, with the recent buys of Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto from Celta Vigo and Sevilla respectively. Talk is still rife of a possible signing of the highly-rated Armenia and Shakhtar Donetsk player Henrikh Mkhitaryan too, giving us even more options. It would also be great to see Fabio Borini’s return from injury as if he were a new signing too, as I don’t think the Italian youngster has shown his full potential at Liverpool yet.
Personally I think Luis Suarez will stay this season, however if he were to leave, then there is always a chance Rodgers could replace him with not only one, but two, younger attacking options, making it even more of a fight for the starting line up.
So as it stands, we currently have a pool of Daniel Sturridge, Phillipe Coutinho, Fabio Borini, Luis Suarez, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Stewart Downing, Suso and Raheem Sterling. Nine great players that many can all play in varied positions across the front three, which really gives us a lot of depth, something I think we missed at times in recent seasons.
Dependent on the current crop we have now, and no possible incoming attackers such as Mkhitaryan or outgoings such as Luis Suarez, the front three that I would play is Daniel Sturridge the furthest of the front three, with Luis Suarez and Iago Aspas playing either side, leaving Fabio Borini and Luis Alberto on the bench ready to come on and make big impacts in games.
I feel we may end up selling Stewart Downing, despite better performances last season, I don’t think he really fits the bill or will have major roles in Rodgers’ squad going forward, so it may be best to get rid sooner rather than later.
As for Suso and Raheem Sterling, despite the chances of this being very slim, I would love to see them both move to Barcelona B for a season on loan. This could then hone their skills by playing the tiki-taka football Rodgers loves, in a familiar environment for Suso himself amongst some of his Spanish youth team team-mates, but also Sterling could learn first-hand how to play the game himself, surrounded by a team and a philosophy which I personally think would really suit his game.
I would play Coutinho in the middle three, where he also appeared last season. I think this then allows all three players to have completely unique jobs within the three. Lucas being the holding rock to break up play, allowing Gerrard a higher role and allowing him to fully use his range of passing and long range shooting, then Coutinho will be the creative wizard, playing a more free-playing role.
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