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There are times indeed that we play 4-2-3-1. With two holding midfielders in MAsch and XAbi, but the formation (and this goes unnoticed) is designed to completely release the front 3 and the 1 up top. Which should make us more attacking that a 4-4-2, with one holding midielder, as our two cover across meaning the wide players don't have to track back so much.
Rafa plenty of times this season though has gone 4-4-1-1, which is more defensive and cautious, but people still assume because Xabi is in the team, that we have two holding players. Which is NOT the case, because Xabi plays as a conventional midfielder (he has the same amount of golas this season as Makelele scored in 400 games for Chelsea).
I don't worry too much about the formation, as RAfa normally gets it right. I worry more about his personnel, and how he rotates them or not. Whilst getting the best out of Xabi, Kuyt and Riera for example, and putting a lot of faith in Ngog, Lucas etc, he is alienating, and marginalising players like Babel, Keane, and Benayoun, because he doesn't encourage them when they are out of the side.
I'm sure this is done to challenge them and make them stronger, but looking at KEano's bodylanguage yesterday,. I don't see it working.
Of course though....In Rafa we trust! There isn't a better manager out there for us!!!!!
Cant we just play with 1 holding midfielder like Manu do or did with hargreaves playing in front of the back 4 to tidy things up and allow the wing backs to get forward in support. 4-1-4-1 or 4-1-3-2.
May help us break down these so called lesser teams who park the bus in front of goal at Anfield. 3 at the back would be suicide IMO.