Mark Lawrenson explains the benefits of our ‘back- three’

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Multi-title winning defender thinks our current formation is a good one…

Former Liverpool defender turned TV pundit Mark Lawrenson has outlined the benefits of playing with three defenders instead of four, having played in the same system when Liverpool won the title back in 1985/86.

“If you go three at the back, sort that out and get a good relationship between the three, you are building from somewhere,” Lawrenson told the official website.

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“And you can play an extra attack-minded player – that might make all the difference between a 0-0 and a win. It’s a really, really good system.”

“You’ve got to play it for a while; it’s not just the three [at the back], it’s everybody understanding the system around them.

“Once you get the relationship between the three, the midfield players and you get the understanding from everybody what their job is, it makes life much easier for everybody.

“If you make it easier, players feel more comfortable. They don’t necessarily have to make a 50-yard run and then run back the other way, because they know they have got numbers. It makes a big difference.”

“We played three at the back on one or two occasions,” Lawrenson recalled. “I remember the first few times we played it.

“Graeme Souness – an unbelievable player – turned round to Joe Fagan, Bob Paisley and Ronnie Moran and said ‘I hate it, I absolutely hate it’.

“We said ‘Yes, because you’ve got to do a bit more running’ and he said ‘No, you three are sat in your armchair’. We used it more actually when Kenny [Dalglish] got the job and was player-manager.

“We played three at the back quite a few times. I remember one famous day when we won the league at Stamford Bridge, when he scored the goal.

“We played three at the back that day – me, [Alan] Hansen and [Gary] Gillespie. With good players, I think it’s a really good system.”

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