Liverpool Message Board
So while most of us have agreed that we could and should have been better in our last 2 matches, and have a ways to go, we did obviously win and take care of business, while sitting joint top (technically), the question is; now that we've had 2 matches and 3+ weeks, under the belt of playing the new 3-5-2 system, does Rodgers change it, or revert to something else?
For me, assuming Glen Johnson is absolutely 110% fit, this is a tough call because I think Newcastle are starting to find their feet lately, and they offer a lot of pace throughout their team, especially in Ben Arfa, Gouffran and in form Remy, while supporting Cisse, with Cabaye looming. If Glen can go, do we stick with the system and plug him in, which forces Jordan out, or do we go to a flat back four and remove on CB?
If we remove one CB, who is it? For me, it cannot be Skrtel, who has been impeccable since returning, and Sakho has made a strong case, with Agger 100% fit now, adding more of a dilemma, while Kolo has done a job on the right side..
There's suggestion Coutinho could be ready, but I highly doubt that, at least not him starting the match, so Glen's inclusion, and what CB may come out are the only dilemma's to me. If forced to choose, and I'm guaranteed he's fully cleared, I'm going flat back 4 here, Glen-Skrtel-Agger-Enrique..
If not that (which likely won't be), I'd go:
It really comes down to whether Johnson is fit enough to play or not, and by that I mean start and expected to last the full 90 rather than just making the bench (which I think is more likely). But we have to look at why we went with the 3 CB's and wing backs. It was because we did not have certain players available, and so unless Glen is 100% (or Kelly for that matter). The issue for me was not defensive, but rather the need for width, with neither Toure, or Sakho able to provide the width going forward when they were drafted into the full back roles. Johnson and Enrique however can provide width going forward and still provide adequate defensive cover in a back 4, but they both need to be fully fit to get that job done well.
On the line up, I actually really like it. Personally I think Johnson would thrive in a wing back role. I'm not one who is over critical of his defensive skills and think his defensive abilities are often overlooked, however there is no doubt the best side of his game is the attacking element, and as a wing back he'd really be dangerous. However I'd not put this in place until we were certain he was fully fit, as a wing back has to cover more ground that a full back who is only expected to join the attack on occasion, while a wing back is expected to be central to the attacking force.
Personally I'd stick with a back 3 (Toure, Skrtel, Agger) and leave Glen on the Bench for this one. I'd go with those 3 as I don't see Newcastle as a threat to overcome us with power, but more reliant on pace, and of course they have real flair in a couple players. So mobility, intelligence, and the ability to hold the ball to deny Newcastle possession would be my strategy. I'd leave Glen on the bench because I don't believe in rushing players back unless we absolutely have to, and since we're not doing too bad with the current system I think having an attack minded defender on the bench is enough insurance for me.
If Rodgers were to stick with the system you have above then I'd be tempted to put Henderson in place of Gerrard and move him into the free role behind Sturridge and Suarez.
For me Gerrard's tendency to wander is a problem in a midfield position where discipline is critical. Problem is I don't thing Gerrard or Henderson can play the midfield general role but Henderson is an option based on what's available. Gerrard further forward may give Newcastle something extra to think about. I believe Collocini (spelling) may be out. Not sure.
- 1 Reply to Colyn
Not sure I agree with this Colyn. I get your point on Gerrard wondering, however I think its not that much of an issue any more as Gerrard has in the last season or so become very disciplined in his role, and will only wonder forward or wide when its safe. But mainly I think this means we have to drop Moses from the hole, to make room for Gerrard, and to be honest I just don't think Stevie G circa 2013 can play that role as he did say in 2009. He's not necessarily less of a player, but I just don't think he has the same dynamism over 90 minutes he used to have, plus I think you also introduce more of an injury risk. I think its no coincidence that Stevie has been virtually injury free since taking up the deeper role both BR, and Hodgson have assigned him at Club and international levels respectively.
It does however seem a shame to drop Hendo who I think has been outstanding, however its quite a problem we have when good players can only make the bench. Although for the Newcastle game I'm not sure I'd risk Johnson unless the medical staff are sure he's fully fit, so maybe I'd slot Hendo in at right wing back, and leave Sterling on the bench to inject a bit of pace and energy late on if needed.