So this is what we’ve been missing. This, in my opinion, is what has caused Liverpool to sit back deep and soak up pressure for entire second halves of earlier games. Old Trafford was all about the return of Luis Suarez, but he showed us why he is so important tonight. He, quite simply, gives the team an astounding number of options up front. In Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool have two extremely good strikers with complementary skills. Complementary being the key word here. Suarez is undoubtedly a much more complete player than Sturridge, but he does not offer us what Sturridge does. Add Philippe Coutinho into the mix, and we potentially have the best attacking trio in the league.
Let us compare tonight’s game with the game against Aston Villa, Liverpool were camped in their own half for probably the entire of the second half. Simon Mignolet had to make a couple of heart stopping saves to deny Christian Benteke. How many heart-stopping, “here we go again” moments did we have tonight? The problem against Villa was that we did not have an outlet up front. Sturridge is not the kind of player who can hold the ball up for you. But tonight, when we were under pressure at the back and our defence had to kick it up front, who was there to hold up the ball or do one of his clever turns around defenders? Luis Suarez. He eased the pressure on the defence time and time again and that was exactly what the third goal came from. Yes, Sturridge had a goal and two assists, but Suarez was the more complete player.
For me, our defence was also quite pleasing to see. Toure, Skrtel and Sakho seemed brilliant at the back. I don’t quite remember seeing a Liverpool center back in the recent past who has looked quite as assured with his tackling as Mamadou Sakho. He will be an asbolutely inspired signing for Liverpool! He is a beast in the air, tackles confidently and solidly all day long and passes the ball to Lucas/Gerrard. Good enough for me. I just feel the return of Agger in place of Toure will give us greater stability at the back and add an extra body to midfield with his runs.
Despite what people think, the 3-4-1-2 formation seems to be suiting the players we have at our disposal quite well. We have excellent center backs to choose from. We seem a little short in midfield with Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson and Allen though. I just feel we haven’t quite gotten our midfield formula right yet. Lucas and Gerrard does seem our best pairing in the center of the park as of now though. I am eagerly awaiting the return of Glen Johnson though. He will give us that extra attacking threat in the final third which Henderson, for al his running, does not currently from the wing back position. And believe it or not, Jose Enrique does seem a better player when Suarez plays! That cross to Suarez between the two Sunderland center backs!
Onto Crystal Palace next week! Win that game, and we will be in a very, very good position going into the international break indeed and two weeks closer to Philippe Coutinho’s return. Top four aspirants? I’m starting to think that Rodgers’ Revolution is taking shape!