By Samuel Greet @SamGreet123
In reference to my previous article, ‘An Important Transfer List’ (ow.ly/2xZzvm ), I have come up with the ideal line up for Liverpool next season, a line up which I feel could seriously challenge for top four, deployed in a 4-2-3-1 formation and could realistically be made within our budget.
After viewing a lot of line up predictions I am always shocked to see the inclusion of Toure in them. In my humble opinion, as solid as he may be, there is no way Toure will be a week in week out starter for us but more of a reliable squad player. So I have included Alderwiereld at the back with Agger. Both able to score the odd goal and build play from the back, they would be a great centre back pairing.
As fullbacks I would stick with Enrique and Johnson as we have this season. Although slightly questionably defensively, they are both adept going forward and I think we will want to keep as much consistency in the back for as we can, without the club stalwarts Carragher and Reina, we will need a few familiar faces this season at the back to find that ever missing consistency we crave. Although I want him to stay, I see Reina leaving before the summer is up, leaving Mignolet in between the sticks for us.
With a preseason under his belt, I see Lucas coming back this season with a vengeance. Unable to fully recapture the form he held before his injury way disappointing for himself and us, but I feel with less fear of injury now and with fitness levels back to full there’s none other than him to protect our back line whilst the fullbacks venture forward.
Beside him I would have Gerrard, but in a slightly more advanced role. Without the legs to make the lung bursting runs of old, I think Captain Fantastic will be better suited in a deeper, commanding build up role, and can also make some robust challenges on his day. Still in my opinion warranted an immediate spot in our starting line up should he be fit, we have been incredibly lucky with injuries this season. I would use him more sparingly next season, leaving him to rest from games we should win (I say with hesitation) so he is fully prepared for games like United and Chelsea where we need his influence.
With good cover behind them to allow them to roam, I think our attacking next season will be superb. As our centre attacking midfielder, I would place Coutinho. With amazing technical ability and a wonderful eye for a pass, he would link play perfectly further forward and has an eye for goal himself too. On the back of a good debut half season, a preseason and gym time can only be beneficial for the play of our young Brazilian. He and Sturridge had some fantastic play together through the middle at the tail end of last season so I would not change this as of yet.
With the addition of Mkhitaryan, who I think will be pivotal in our attacking play, we have a massively interchangeable front three without having to keep in set positions, like we were constricted to with players like Downing. With Mkhitaryan as a RAM, I think we would add another 15 goals to our squad next season, a vast improvement to Downings contribution even after improved form. With great pace and ability and used to cutting in anyway, I don’t think Henrikh will be too put off not playing his usual CAM role taken by Coutinho.
To his left I would have Suarez (should we keep hold of him). Although occasionally wasteful, should he stay another season I think we would get another 20 goals out of Suarez and his wizardry on the ball would be instrumental again in breaking teams down. Although keeping him as our lead striker would be obviously effective, I feel Sturridge leading the line would be beneficial for him and the sides team play, as often Suarez attempts a one man show. Like Rogers prefers, having a front three that can swap at any time is key, so Suarez would often find himself in front of goal anyway.
This leaves Sturridge up front for us. Although occasionally having far from stellar games for us (eg. Southampton) his 11 goals in 16 games for us proves his clinical finishing and intelligent play up front for us. Also he possesses a little more speed than Suarez, meaning on the break he could be more effective further forward. Clearly prospering there, I wouldn’t want to push Sturridge out to the wing again, where his progress and game influence stagnated at Chelsea.
Subs: Jones, Kelly, Toure, Wanyama, Henderson, Aspas, Borini
With these subs, should any player in the starting line up sustain an injury or be off in form we have a replacement with a lot to prove and desire to break into the first team waiting in the wings. This breeds internal competition in the squad and can only force players to be consistent and improve, especially as the World Cup is coming up. This team is provisional and would need to be altered depending on opponent (eg. Stoke = Wanyama starting) or injury, but would be my usual ideal XI for next season and with which I feel would bring us back to where we belong in the Champions League.