Liverpool Message Board
With the condensed Christmas fixture round the corner perhaps the time is right to reflect on the man who has our EPL aspirations in his hands...Rafa. IF he can get his decicision making right then he can achieve legendary status as the manager who won number one or number 19 (pay your money take your choice).
In no particular order;
How often do i play two holding midfielders, am i ''accomodating'' Alonso and Masch because i feel i have to play them?
Where do i play Gerrard? Does this new found ''selflessness'' give me the opportunity to play him on the right with Alonso/Masch and Keane and Torres up top.
At home should i go 433 if we have not scored after 30mins and the opposition have parked the bus and are playing one up top.
How do i resist the temptation to refert to 'saftey first' when the pressure comes on?
Do i have the b**llocks to go and win it rather than ''not lose'' it?
Great post and very thought provoking.
The Alonso/Gerrard/Masch midfield issue is one I am sure many managers would love to have, truth be told. For mine it is pretty simple. When we play Chelsea, Arsenal and Man U I think we NEED the two holding midfielders. Look at the quality of their potential midfields - fatty, bollocks, deco, jcole on one hand, fabregas and the whole arsenal game plan on the other and then a choice of scholes, giggs, ronaldo, carrick, anderson, nanny, dare I say Hargreaves and even rooney at the reds. Quality midfields that actually get used, not bypassed.
When we play anyone else we have a back four to take care of the searching balls over the top or through the middle and then Alonso and Gerrard to create for us. Everyone except Ch, Ars and ManU should fear our midfield and be thinking of ways to stop us, not the other way around. We should be going out to beat all the others and save the complex tactical maneuvering for the other 3 games.
Should we go 4-3-3 at home? I thought having Riera on the left with Keane/Torres in the middle was 433. Riera gives us that width on the left and drags defenders away from the middle, like he should. Last week Benny played right side and plowed a furrow about 20 yards in from the touch line when he wasn't actually in the penalty area. Often he had the ball and looked out wide right for someone to pass to and guess what...? I thought Arbeloa did a great job last week giving us some width on the right but I would rather see a proper right wing out there, giving us a 424, never mind 433. Remember how our first goal came? SG on the right touch line, where our winger SHOULD have been.
With a 424 shape it wouldn't matter how big the bus was. Just a pity we don't still have the big guy to throw on when needed. Maybe Ngog will develop and do that job eventually.
Another thought, having just reread your post. If the opposition are likely to park the bus with one lone striker maybe we should be thinking of 334 right from the start with Agger/Sami(or Skertl when fit again)/Carra as the back three, Riera/Alonso/Gerrard/Pennant in midfield and Keane/Torres/Kuyt out and out strikers. We know Carra can play full back and I fancy Agger could do likewise. Of course we would have backup on the bench if needed and could revert to 4 at the back pretty easily.
If we can score 1 goal...the opponent will open up and actually plays football...it's the 1st goal that we badly needed at the moment.
Anyway, 4-3-3 is not possible (when Rafa in charge).
I would prefer this formation
Carragher - Agger - Hyppia - Arbeloa
Gerrard - Alonso - Mascherano - Riera
Kuyt - Keane/Babel
- 1 Reply to HK
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!!!!!
Wendy...of course Benitez doesnt have the bollocks to go out and WIN rather than NOT LOSE...Ive been saying that in posts for months now ...How long does it take for people to pick up on the obvious? We SHOULD have beaten Spurs away, Villa away, STOKE , Fulham and WHU at home, I just cant see as anyone can dispute that ? The reason we didnt is because the side were sent out there to play to a strategy of :hold-position: this is the reason u see all the meaningless little back and forth back and forth exchanges between two defenders deep in our own half only to culminate in the ball being hefted up the line and a quick loss of possession. The same when Carra or Masch win possession only to end up hefting the ball high down the middle again usually for a quick loss of possession ?
The match at Blackburn was more of the same stuff...Blackburn were pathetic a shadow of the side that Mark Hughes had assembled; they were clearly there to be torn apart but our general approach play was timid ...again simply due to the hold-position strategy and our movement OFF the ball is poor; very little intelligent running into position OFF the ball to give the man in possession the maximum options . Encouraging adventurous play OFF the ball is at odds with the hold-position strategy of Benitez..this match was not as far away from being another two dropped points as the scoreline suggests... if u saw the game think about it. Benitez continues to refuse to play squad men in their natural positions I still maintain that given an extended run of starts particularly if allowed to take up Robbie Keanes position RYAN BABEL would deliver major dividends I cannot see either how such a brilliant disbutor of the ball as Alonso can ever be left on the bench ?
I feel if Benitez can let go his safety first approach in the second half of the season then we can go all the way and claim the Title but have to say Im not optimistic that he WILL do such a thing.
- 1 Reply to colin
At first I was going to dispute what you were saying on the grounds that our front men don't make position well enough. But you covered that in your second half, didn't you - they aren't "allowed" to make position and they are played out of position so they maybe don't know how to make position in their unfamiliar roles.
All I want to add is based on what I saw this morning watching Man U v Aalberg. Close game up to half time. both teams having their good spells. But then it all changed in the second half.
SAF brought Scholes on to partner Anderson in midfield. For the first 20 or so minutes Scholes and Anderson dominated, moving towards Aalberg penalty area in tandem, passing between each other, spraying balls 40/50 yards out to the touchline to wingers, sliding inch perfect balls through the middle for Rooney and co to run onto in the penalty area. It was magic. Aalberg just weren't in it.
And then it hit me. We have 2 world class players who can do this, too and for the whole 90 minutes, not just 30 minutes until scholes got a bit tired. If they are allowed.
3 (or 4) at the back, Masch just in front as insurance, ala Carrick (or Hargraves), two genuine wide men to keep both sides of their defence busy and 1 or 2 guys up the middle to make runs into the area. Plus, both our guys can shoot from 40+yards.
I suppose you are right, it all comes down to the players being allowed to play the way we all "know" they can.
What's that old saying ... attack is the best form of defence?
Ajay...forgot to mention in my post that my all time favourite side was the great Brazilian side of 70 that won World Cup.....THAT was football my friend like it had never been played before and hasnt since either. SAMBA SOCCER !!!
As u say their attitude was... Doesnt matter how many u score we WILL score MORE !!! IF Benitez would only loosen up on this dull hold-position strategy we have the talent in the squad to play a facsimilie of the old Brazilian style and that was real....STYLE !