Let's talk tactics

Discussion in 'The Albert - LFC Talk' started by TheSweetSilverSong, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Looking at our Defense, Attack, and Midfield


    The Defense

    After 6 games in the league, I think it becomes evident that we have a top class goalkeeper. It becomes evident that our CB options are so great that it becomes a headache which 2 should start - so much, that during Johnson’s injury we have seen Rodgers switch to 3 at the back, instead of using one of his RB alternatives (even when Kelly was fit).
    We have had a great Toure, who has been brought as an experienced backup but has taken the opportunity to prove he’ll be much more than that;
    We have had a very solid Daniel Agger, who became the new vice captain and rightly so (can’t think of a fan that rejected the idea, even if he’d chosen another player for vc), under whom we had our first 3 games without conceding, with him alongside Toure.
    We’ve had an immense Skrtel, who took the opportunity in a single half of a game, where Toure got injured (and no transfers were ready to play, and Coates injured too), to prove himself to Rodgers after last season’s early botches that earned him the mistrust of both Rodgers and a lot of fans. He took that chance and made a statement from it, and he continued building on it in every game since. He showed that the man that formed one of the best (or arguably the best) centerback duo in the premiership 3 seasons ago, was back!
    And we’ve had our new super signing, Mamadou Sakho, who has been doing a very silent but excellent job, with stats that speak for themselves, and a very fast learning in becoming reliable at the back in the EPL.
    So good are these 4 CB options, that the debate on which two to choose can be endless, and neither argument can be uncounterable. It depends on approach, which partnership to choose.


    Defensive partnership options

    Agger-Toure was the partnership of our first 3 games, that has not conceded. Alone that feat would normally make them the unquestionable option.

    Agger-Skrtel was the partnership of old, that haven’t played for a year together, but that has both players back to top form (especially the one that was missing from the partnership). Try debating against this option. Very hard.

    Toure-Skrtel have been our two most heroic/impressive in terms of feats (saving from goals, beating opponents etc.) so far, so one would argue of having these two as our CB partnership, and who could find fault in such an option.

    On the other hand, we have had Sakho, who has been adapting very quickly, and who has had excellent stats and has been very solid, showing more than hints about why we bought him. On the question who to pair him with, the games so far suggest that Skrtel is not the best option, as Sakho is young and needs a leader beside him to bring out his best and guide him, and Skrtel is not that leader. Playing him alongside Agger has been questioned, because of the two left-foot argument, so depending on where you stand on that argument you’d hesitate to pair him with Agger and would go for a Toure-Sakho french speaking partnership (which would leave out our Vice-Captain), or you’d go ahead and pick it as a partnership. Obviously, time will tell. At one point or another, whether by Rodgers choice or by chance, these two will feature together and that argument will either prove to have a basis or will be dispelled. For sure, for now, before any such notion is proved, both partnerships are options: Toure-Sakho, Agger-Sakho.

    So there you go: Agger-Toure, Agger-Skrtel, Toure-Skrtel, Toure-Sakho, Agger-Sakho.
    5 partnership options, whichever is your pick, it’s not undoubtedly better than any of the other 4. Throughout the season, by chances and choices, it will probably get clear which is the best one.

    The option of 3 at the back will not be dismissed here in this thread, and will be explored in the formations section later.


    The Attack

    Attack may not have the quality depth of our defence, but in full strength it’s something most defenses will be dreading: The attacking triplet of Coutinho, Suarez, Sturridge, with potentially Moses joining from a flank, is a sight to behold, and an attacking force with lots of goals in them (obviously Coutinho is included even though he is the AM, because he is a vital part of the attack.. obviously I will not be talking about two Coutinhos when I mention him again in midfield :tongue: ).
    With Suarez leading the scorers’ table last season up to his ban, and Sturridge leading the current table and having a great goal-per-game ratio since last January when he joined, and combinations of the 3 having seen to link up perfectly at times, when all 3 are joined it’s something to be excited about.

    The back-ups are not very encouraging, as its either players who are too young to be expected/undeveloped/untested(at least at the position)/unadapted to have the same impact (Alberto for Coutinho - even though they are only a year of difference, Coutinho is clearly the exception to the norm; Sterling for Moses; Aspas for Sturridge).

    So one injury/suspension/etc. of one of these really makes the attack suffer to one degree or another (like now with Coutinho). Expecting this to be adressed in January, as it clearly was an aim in the summer but the team opted to not buy someone just to buy someone: since the ones they went for did not happen, they will try to get new targets and hopefully these will happen this time - a lot of teams were contesting in these areas in the summer, who have now bought and thus the competition for such players will be much less (only united seems to be after an attacking midfielder for example).

    Quite a few of our most important signings of the past few years have happened in a January transfer window or another (Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho), so I don’t think the options are necessarily less in that window. If Coutinho comes back in October, and we manage to keep these 3 (4 with Moses) fit till January at least, and bring 2 good options (1 AM and 1 striker) in January, I think we’re there.

    One would argue we need more wingers, but it depends on the formation and where you put each player, and my feel is that a cover AM and cover Striker is the priority at the moment, as you’ll see from the formations analysed below.

    So defense, great (and with more depth than anyone could wish for), attack (for starting XI, when full strength) great, it leaves taking a look at our midfield.


    The Midfield

    The root of the problem

    I will start by saying that with Coutinho playing the attacking midfield and with Gerrard being our deep-lying playmaker (and say what you like about our captain and his performances, but passes like the one he fed Sturridge with for the second goal vs Sunderland are world class and Rodgers has the task of finding a way - or the right partner - to bring this best out of Gerrard), and the need for a holding midfielder in a formation (whether that will end up being 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 or even 3-4-1-2 or any other we might play - you name it), it seems that our problematic midfield finds root in its deeper end than its attacking end (I doubt there’s anyone that would take Coutinho out of the equation). So you either go and take our captain out of the equation, or his partner - or, in extreme cases of opinion, both.

    Lucas or Gerrard, or both, or partnership?

    This again would be an endless debate, which will have no proof until all options discussed are tested, and one or two prevail, so I’ll start with hoping for one that may be imminent:

    Lucas is suspended for the next game vs Crystal Palace, courtesy of 5 yellow cards, and Allen (if he would ever be an option for HM) is not fully match-fit yet. To me, this seems like a chance for Toure to show to anyone doubting it that he can do a great job in HM, and I think (and hope) that Rodgers will do it - he has said so in the past, and I think it’s one of the 3 reasons that he hasn’t brought a HM in the summer, much to everyone’s surprise; the 3 reasons being: a) no top class target was identified, b ) Toure was seen as a backup to that slot as well (at least for the time being, and having played there before and ticking the boxes for playing there), and c) other areas were deemed more of a priority and had the targets biddable.

    Not only does Toure get the opportunity to show to anyone doubting it (but most importantly to confirm to Rodgers that he can do a great job there), but my hope and belief is that given the opportunity, he will also show that playing alongside Gerrard, it will show a very different game for the captain as well.

    Please don’t misunderstand me for a second there, I rate Lucas a lot and I think he is a great player, but at the time he is not at his best (at least not for very large parts of a game), and obviously there is a problem in Liverpool bossing the midfield that has to either find root in Gerrard, or Lucas, or the partnership.

    Because of that, and because I think there is no one that can do Gerrard’s job of deep-lying playmaker at the moment (even though some would argue Alberto can, he could playmake perhaps up to a degree, and control the ball up to a degree, but it’s doubtfull whether he could contribute defensively with tackles etc.), we’d have to either change the midfield roles and put a player that carries the ball to the attack (a box-to-box midfielder instead of a deep-lying playmaker), such as Henderson - who would then replace Gerrard, or we’d have to re-consider the partnership of the two deeper midfielders, which, in absence of another proven and quality deep-lying playmaker in the squad, would see Lucas benched for Toure. This would make Lucas fight harder to earn his place in the startng XI, and potentially bring him back to his best soon.
    It’s competition, and it’s a good thing (look what it did for Henderson and Skrtel, and hopefully Enrique will benefit from the same). Rodgers could come of course and simply field Henderson alongside Gerrard, with no genuine HM, with the thinking that we are facing Crystal Palace, in which case my whole theory of Toure’s chance is still dreamland.

    A recipe to boss midfield?

    The perspective outlined above, results in a midfield 3 of Toure-Gerrard-Coutinho. If this proves to affect Gerrard’s game for the best as I suspect it will, then it’s to keep as mainstay. If it’s not, but still proving to show a great Toure at HM, then keeping the competition between Toure and Lucas (perhaps depending on game, or split within a game), and trying to figure out what options (if any) there would be in replacing Gerrard (or again, providing competition for him with subs, with the intention of upping his game as a result), would be the next step - Henderson, in the logic highlighted above, or a returning Allen, might be options. But my suspicion is that Toure for Lucas will not only show that Toure can do a great job in HM, but will up Gerrard’s game as well. I think it’s the recipe to boss midfield, and I think there are a lot of chances to see that happening in the next game, where Lucas is suspended and there seems to be no better option than playing Toure there.

    If the above prove to sort out our midfield and we have all three areas of the field being excellent by late October, and not suffer in the meanwhile with results, I think we’ll have a month to make this Starting Eleven peak and click, just in time for the huge series of top games around Christmas. And if all this happens, I think we’ll be able to have a good/great season.


    Formations

    Having seen the details in all 3 areas of the field, I’d like to take a look at possible formations. There are a few factors that show that there is more than 1 option, and I will try to see which factors lead to which formation. Without looking for a premature Christmas and without meaning to summon the spirits of Dickens, I’ll start by taking a look at the formation of the recent past, then move on to the present, and then, based on the conclusions and the thoughts I expressed above, will go into the possibilities for the very near future.


    The recent past

    I’ll start from the recent past, which dates back to Suarez’s ban a few games from the end of last season, where we had settled into a 4-2-3-1 for quite some time until Johnson’s injury.

    This formation finds root in two factors, the way I see it.
    The first being Rodgers realizing that Coutinho is far more effective as a 10, behind the striker(s), and that much of his qualities are wasted in the LW (minimizing his passing angles, for example).
    On top of that, having only Sturridge as a serial scorer up front.


    The oblique line and “out of position Henderson”

    With Moses being brought to carry the weight of the left flank of the attack, and Johnson adopting the weight on the right flank, we were playing what many people seem to have failed to see, a quasi oblique line/weighted flank tactic - a stretegic term whose use has found place in a 4-4-2 variant in the past, the tucked wing variant that the late 80s-early 90s Dalglish sides would use in much effect. In that concept, the seemingly out of position winger (in our 4-2-3-1 case of late, Henderson on the RW) is meant to leave the flanking duties to the RB (in this case Johnson), and himself to cut inside and flood the attacking midfield, to provide outnumbering and bodies in the box. This player must have the engine and the athletism to do this.
    This is why Dalglish was using Henderson on the RW a few years ago, but it hasn’t worked, not because it’s wrong as a concept, not because Henderson does not tick the boxes for such a role, but because Henderson was too young and raw and unused of that role back then, and because of other attacking problems back then (this deployment is also the reason why a lot of fans had back then expressed the view that in lack of a genuine RW, Johnson should be positioned there, but they were failing to see that Johnson was carrying the weight of the attack in the right flank anyway, and intentionally from the RB position). Dalglish was trying to groom Henderson into that tucked wing role, and we could see early this season that it was worth it.
    Fans on this side were praising Henderson in the first few games of this season - he got a lot of votes as MOTM in a few occasions as well.
    These past few games, Henderson’s game has been criticised, and people thought he’s been below his best, but to me it’s evident that it’s been ignored that it’s since Johnson’s injury that Henderson’s game has dropped, exactly because of the concept above and the missing flanker on the right. Henderson suddenly had to often beat his player on the right, which he can’t (and shouldn’t be expected to), and since our right flank was posing no threat, and since Henderson was deployed there, people assumed that it’s his fault, and described it as being out-of-position and that it doesn’t work.
    But with Johnson at RB it did and it will work.


    Liverpool 4-2-3-1.jpg

    So breaking down our 4-2-3-1, in effect, had 4 at the back (Carragher and Agger at CB last season, Toure and Agger this season, with Enrique and Johnson in either flank), of which the right end (Johnson) would burst forward and have a more attacking role.
    The 2 holding midfielders (Lucas and Gerrard) meant that the back line would get the needed cover to allow Johnson to roam forward, although Johnson was expected to run back and defend too (this has caused a lot of people to doubt Johnson’s defending qualities, but it’s more a matter of his role than of his qualities - any doubt over his defensive qualities must have been dispelled in the Utd game, hopefully).
    The 3 central midfielders (Sterling/Ibe last season, and Moses this season on the LW, Coutinho in the AM, and Henderson on the RW) would see the RW Henderson shift inwards without the ball, to provide the link between HM and AM and to provide outnumbering and more bodies in the box during attack, while Coutinho would move forwards when with the ball, beat a couple of opponents and find that through ball or thread a needle pass to Sturridge for the goal; at the same time, Sterling on the LW and Moses this season, had a similar task, albeit with different tools - Sterling using his speed and dribbling, Moses using his control of the ball and strenght, both to beat their opponents on the left and attack from there.
    And the man on the top, Sturridge, was meant to receive and convert, which he did in a great degree, and to also make intelligent moves to create space for others to score, as we have so often seen.


    4-2-3-1 losing screws

    Since Johnson’s injury, such an approach became flawed, because the right side would become ineffective in attack, and a right winger would be required to provide that threat. That was the Swansea game, and although we scored 2 goals despite that flaw (1 because of a defense backpass caused by our midfielders closing the passing opportunities, which Sturridge took advantage of, and 1 from a counter attack from the left with Moses, from where we did cause a threat). Coutinho’s injury meant that the middle was rendered ineffective as well, and the left alone would needed to be countered. Aspas was brought as a desparate attempt to fill in in AM, but would have probably be more sensible to do so from the equally ineffective right flank.

    The realization that our 4-2-3-1 did not have the tools to work in the same way, found peak in the Southampton game, where neither the right flank (Henderson without a wing back behind him) or the middle (Aspas) could feed the striker, and the predictable and obvious left (Moses) that could, was easily countered as the opposition could focus on that - unable to score, an easily avoidable goal costed us the first loss in the league.

    The present

    This gave room to Rodgers for experimentation, and the overstock in quality of CB gave the obvious opportunity to go with 3 CBs until Johnson returns. This meant that the wing-backs would be players able to roam forward, but drop back to help as well. Rodgers chose Henderson and Enrique for those roles.
    The first game to test the new formation was vs Manchester in the League Cup, featuring the return of Suarez. The AM was filled by Moses and Suarez, with Sturridge in front of them.
    The 3-4-2-1 of Toure-Skrtel-Sakho/Lucas-Gerrard-Henderson-Enrique/Moses-Suarez/Sturridge showed promise, with a performance that was mostly considered to be “improved”, but there was no goal to prove it successful in attack.
    Against Sunderland, the 3-4-2-1 became 3-4-1-2, with Suarez joining Sturridge in attack, and Moses again behind the striker(s).
    While the weaknesses were the same in my opinion, the first two goals came from a corner and from a magical pass by Gerrard, that found an open Sturridge on the right that gave a ready goal to Suarez. The 3rd goal came from Sturridge bursting through the left this time, to assist Suarez again.
    There was no actual threat when we were attacking, as either flank and the middle where not having the tools to provide the attack. It was through taking advantage of mistakes (1st goal), counter attacking (2nd goal), and excellent link up of our two top class strikers that we managed to score, despite the formation not providing threat from all sides.

    This is the formation that we will probably see for the most of October, until Coutinho and Johnson return, unless it stops resulting in enough points, in which case Rodgers will have to experiment some more, temporarily.
    Hopefully it will prove to be enough, and hopefully Gerrard will step up to continue feeding the strikers until Coutinho returns, like he did for the 2 goals yesterday.

    Having seen the formation of the recent past, as well as our current formation, and considering the points discussed so far, it remains to figure out: How will the team deploy once Coutinho and Johnson return?


    The near future

    The elements that will remain, are that we have two strikers who link up perfectly and it starts seeming that Suarez might be a waste on the right. Especially if Johnson can successfully provide a threat from the right once again, it gives Rodgers a two striker - option.


    View attachment 263 Liverpool 3-4-1-2 b.jpg

    Johnson could also be used as a wing back in a 3-4-1-2 formation, if Rodgers decides that 3 at the back is a good idea. This would see Johnson replace Henderson.
    I was pleased with Moses tracking back and how he is able to defend as well, and I think Rodgers might be tempted to put him as a wing back if he opts to go with a 3-4-1-2, as he’ll have Johnson on the right and Moses on the left, who can provide a threat from either flank while being able to defend as well. With Coutinho’s return, there won’t be any room for Moses in a 3-4-1-2 formation unless he is used as a left wing back. I think Moses showed enough for Rodgers to prefer him over Enrique for that role, or at least to consider such a sub when we need to score at the final half hour of the game.

    The 4-2-3-1 would really not function much different than the 4-3-3 that can be seen below. Johnson would still adopt the RW for Suarez to shift inside and pair with Sturridge in effect, and Moses would still be the flanking threat on the left, but there is no midfield/winger role whatsoever for Suarez to suggest that it’s a midfield of 5 broken into a 2-3, and a lone striker in Sturridge. There are 3 forwards in Sturridge, Suarez and Moses, and hence it’s a 4-3-3, with Coutinho in AM right behind Sturridge. In effect, the areas of threat would function the same anyway.
    I think that the return of Suarez will see the end of our 4-2-3-1 days, for the reasons explained above, and that we will either see a 4-3-3 or 3-4-1-2, or both - depending on the game, or switching from one to another during a game:

    In the CB duo, pick your pair, it makes no real difference - I have picked mine without rejecting that we may end up with a different one. I think any combination has a possibility to become the mainstay. I remind that for HM, I suggest that Toure will be probably given a chance in the Crystal Palace game, and there he can show not only whether he can do a great job, but also whether the partnership affects Gerrard’s game. Should this be proved, he may replace Lucas until Lucas can challenge him back, or at the very least can provide challenge for Lucas and also replace him when fatigue kicks in around the 60th minute (or start and be replaced, depending on opposition).

    Other options that seem less likely (because they include changes in roles that Rodgers has not hinted in any way that he is willing to try) are some 4-4-2 variants. The diamond 4-4-2, for example. That would see a single HM (whether Lucas or Toure) on the bottom end of the diamond midfield, a right central midfielder and a left central midfielder (those would be most probably Gerrard on the right and Moses on the left), and an AM which would be Coutinho, off the two strikers. Here, the right flank would be adopted from deployment by Johnson, and the left by Enrique (or by Moses shifting outside when needed and the two overlapping). This formation sees a change of role for Gerrard, slightly further up the pitch - a move that wasn’t attempted by Rodgers even when we were that short in midfield that it seemed the only option for a more creative/attacking midfielder (Southampton). The alternative would be to use Henderson there replacing Gerrard, which I don’t see happening.
    Another variant, the tucked wing of 4-4-2, would see a midfield of Lucas as HM, Moses as left wing, Henderson as the right tucked wing (allowing for Johnson to take over the flanking duties) and Coutinho in the hole. This would be a sensible formation on its own, but again, it yields Gerrard who has no obvious place in such a formation without changing a role - which like already observed, Rodgers hasn’t attempted when the opportunity was calling for it, let alone when there’s no holes to fill by doing so.

    So there you have it. I tried to include my own thoughts within the context of my observations, and with as less bias as I could muster. Hope it worked, but most importantly, hope it becomes a place where your thoughts can contribute to a great topic. Remember, difference of opinion is a good thing. :-)
     

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  2. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Apologies if this tired you. If it's big as an OP (and it is), what would you have said if I'd post it somewhere else? Most of it would be out of topic, wouldn't it?

    So again, apologies. Had thoughts on our team selection in relation to formations, thought I'd share, apparently too big.

    If others agree with you too, I'll know better next time..
     
  3. Matt

    Matt Poor Scouser Tommy Admin

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    Sorry, Im sure this is a decent read but you lost me when you started putting Toure as DM.
     
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  4. WrongIslander

    WrongIslander Well-Known Member

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    Agree, disagree, whatever but at least take into account the amount of work that has gone into this.

    I shall give this the time of day it deserves and then make my opinion on it known later on.

    Respect for the effort that has gone into it though.
     
  5. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Fair - opinions. A good thing, and there's no way in knowing whether you are right or I'm right unless we see it on the pitch.

    But the points I make here don't depend on the opinion on Toure, so disagreeing on that detail putting you off the rest of the read is a pity..

    Thanks for posting your thought though.
     
  6. gasband

    gasband The Singaporean Liverpool Never Managed To Sign

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    I am happy with most of our players including Mignolet but I am still not convinced that he is a major upgrade over Reina except for the fact he is younger. He probably still has the same problem as Reina, flapping at crosses and corners but undeniably, he is as good as any keeper can get in shot stopping. He needs to improve his command of the box and high balls.
     
  7. Claymenza

    Claymenza Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if i'm wrong, but has pepe ever saved a penalty for us besides the shootouts?

    Mignolet did that on the last minute of his debut which is equivalent of a hat trick. I'm not saying that guarantees his quality, but reina was brought in for his record on penalties which he delivered only at Cardiff.

    Ironically he saved balotelli's penalty last week to secure the win. I prefer to see confident body language when a goalie is up against a penalty. Reina was always peeved that the defenders in front of him gave up silly mistakes in the box that forces him to do his job.....
     
  8. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    I agree that he has strengths and weaknesses, but boy am I happy with his strengths!
    I did think on a few matches that his saves was the difference between a win and a draw, or between a draw and a loss, and I think he is responsible for quite a few points we have earned this season.
    And I think that he can quickly improve on his weaknesses because they are not a matter of skill, but a matter of understanding and thinking - and it's been talked about enough about his intelligence outside the field to make me think he can figure this out when Rodgers addresses it!
     
  9. Hope in your heart

    Hope in your heart Loyalty and patience, two undervalued concepts... Admin

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    Completely unwarranted criticism imo. Discussing different tactical set-ups is well worth it's own thread I think (unless you have a clear idea of which thread it can be put in, so we can take your criticism to a constructive level), not even talking about the amount of work put in this opening post. I wish every new thread on this site would be that well written to be honest...
     
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  10. Nelson

    Nelson New Member

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    What I've seen recently is that without Countinho in the side, we're a bit uneasy playing out when teams are pressing high up the pitch, regardless of formation. Some of his link up play between midfield/flanks has been a key element in ball retention - his ablility to move away from pressure with close control and create space for others, always with an eye for moving the ball forwards. When we keep passing sideways and backwards, it invites pressure.

    I'd be working on those triangle passes up the wings, then looking to Gerrard to switch the play quickly out to the opposite wing - since we all know after that pass at the weekend, he's still got the distribution skills. I'd like Henderson to learn a thing or two about Gerrards distribution.
     
  11. Speckydodge

    Speckydodge TIA Squad Member

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    I dont think we'll see Toure at dm this coming sat, I think it will be Hendo to replace Lucas with sterling or Kelly at rwb
     
  12. koptician

    koptician We'll go again!

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    What Gerrard has you can't teach, Henderson won't be that sort of player. But for each of those passes Gerrard connects with, he misplaces a few more than he used to (like the one aimed for Luis that got intercepted) and couple with that his lack of closing down on the ball and slack tracking of midfield runners makes him a bit of a liability in the DM area. The fact that Lucas doesn't charge around like Masch (or even the pre-injury Lucas) makes things worse. I'm hoping my hypothesis that Hendo's energetic closing down in midfield buying Gerrard time and space to pick out such game-changing passes more frequently will be borne out...assuming Brendan puts Hendo next to Stevie
     
  13. Never Say Never

    Never Say Never To be the man, you gotta beat the man.

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    In three penalty shootouts (Cardiff, Chelsea, and West Ham) he's made 8 saves. I'd say that's pretty good. That and I believe 10 penalty saves in his time here outside those shootouts.

    Edit: sorry, he averages about 25% saved. 16/60 career saves.
     
  14. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    You are not wrong about Coutinho, however we've been having trouble against teams that press high up the pitch since last season, even when he plays. It's something that is testing our ball control and our cool during short passes. It was exposing our newbie level last season, and although it's been exposing it less and less, it still tests our game. Hopefully we'll keep improving against it.

    And I agree about Gerrard - he will be crucial in feeding the strikers while Coutinho is missing!

    You are probably right, even though that wouldn't make much sense, in that Henderson will not become a HM to test him there, besides not suited any better than Toure in my opinion. If he had it in him to play at HM he would have already challenged Lucas for the position. With Lucas missing, I think it's an opportunity for Toure to take the position and show what he's got there. It would be a diagnostic selection to say the least, one which would have very little risk but one which could prove to be very beneficial for our midfield. Anyway, in the end in won't matter what I think, but what Rodgers will think. ;-)

    Thanks for the kind words :-)
    Looking forward to your thoughts on tactics!
     
  15. Nelson

    Nelson New Member

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    Yeah, I'm pretty sure we've had this issue with high pressing last season too. As much as I don't like to whine on, I don't think it will truly click until the Lucas/Gerrard dillema is solved. With Coutinho, he always seems to be presenting himself in pockets of space as an out-ball when teams start to press. I just think we need a bit more of that and a bit more willingness from CM/CDMs to make movements that open gaps up for other to exploit an easy (and forward pass).

    Against Sunderland, without Glen on the right providing the width, we were relying on Henderson to provide that final ball into the box. I think he tried a few crosses early on, but resorted to knocking it square later in the match.

    I definately feel we could do better with the delivery of crosses generally, because when teams start to try and close the SAS linkup play down through the middle, out wide is where all the space is... and I can't remember Hendo or Enrique getting crosses in effectively. Haven't most of our goals come through build up play through the middle? It wouldnt of suprised me if that was the case.
     
  16. HAWKVOL

    HAWKVOL Member

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    Excellent read and I agree with trying Toure at the DM....I think he has to be on the field every game that he is fit.....he is a MASSIVE Presence.

    Best read on this that I've seen here....not sure what all the bitchin' ITT is about.
     
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  17. REDSkins

    REDSkins TIA Youth Team

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    People can poke fun at you all they want...but if someone here said 3 months ago that Kolo Toure would be marauding forward, underlapping runs, playing 1-2s in the box and taking shots on goal they'd be lambasted as delusional. I think Henderson as a DM is a shitty idea so why not try Kolo?


    This is the highlight of your post, for me. We lose so much without proper attacking fullbacks, particularly on that right side where Hendo operates. It was a disaster with Wisdom behind him. Henderson's incredible stamina makes him perfectly suited for those decoy runs during counter-attacks (e.g. our 3rd goal v Sunderland) where he has to bust a lung to get in the box and drag defenders. He's got good composure for the occasional finish as well, as we saw last season. Hope to see more of those.
    This is also why I don't think Rodgers likes to put Henderson in that deep mid role, he needs to be further up in order to help us in attack without leaving us wide open ahead of our defense (plus, can Henderson even tackle? I'm not convinced). So assuming Agger comes back into the side, I can see the logic in Kolo at DM if we continue with this counter-attacking style. Particularly as an experiment vs Palace (why not, I'd say). Though in a proper 433 with the rest of our team fit, & playing possession football, Lucas is still a far better option imho. Assuming we do try and play possession football one of these days..haha.

    Also, people criticized Hendo's crossing a lot in that last game, but what I remember him being good with back at Sunderland were the early crosses. Seems like only JEnrique attempts them. Or did I have too much whisky this weekend...

    Re: Moses at LWB...I think once Coutinho and Johnson are back, we won't play the 3412 anymore. Just a hunch.

    (P.S. you have a typo where you refer to Southampton as Sunderland in the para about our first loss..obvious from context, but you know...)
     
  18. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Yep! And Suarez and Sturridge were shifting wide to cover what we were lacking, and credit to them for filling up the holes. Coutinho missing had consequently Moses deployed in the middle, so the left had to be filled by either of the two strikers at times. Johnson missing and Henderson not up to beating his opponent (again, not his job), meant the right had to be filled by either of the two strikers at times. Sturridge picked the Gerrard ball on the right for the second goal. Sturridge roamed from the left for the pass that led to the 3rd. Of course they are both very mobile strikers and are often seen drifting wide or dropping back anyway, but in this game it was not just an option, it was a necessity, and they did brilliantly :-)

    Thanks for a great read too mate :-)
    Had the same feeling about the 3 at the back until I was scribbling this topic. Then it somehow occurred to me that it still fits. I know its been done because of missing out on Johnson in the first place, but Rodgers will also be confident with it now (if results keep coming under the 3-4-1-2 that is), and will know its an alternative that he can use, depending on the opposition. But most importantly, it fits (just checking out the pic of the formation and nodding to myself :tongue: )!

    Thanks for the correction too, will edit!
     
  19. Canuck33

    Canuck33 Banned Users

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    Actually, he lost me when the talk about defence finished with the listing of a few CB partnerships, where on top of it he forgot the Skrtel-Sakho option. Obviously, the rest of the defence isn't worth mentioning either.
     
  20. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    "Forgot" would certainly be misleading to say the least. I do explain why I leave out the specific partnership: It's based on the need of a leader in our defense. Neither Skrtel or Sakho are (Skrtel, at 29 will hardly ever be, and Sakho at 23 has my vote of confidence that he will be, but for now he is young and very new to the EPL and it shows in his otherwise impressive game - he is not yet a leader).
    Moreover, while either of the two is a great option for defense, I believe both their individual performance and the team's defense would benefit a lot if either of the two would be in the starting team's CB with a leader by his side (which would be either one of Agger or Toure).

    That's the idea behind leaving the specific partnership out. Now you may disagree with it, and I love disagreements. This topic was not posted to cry "Agree with me, agree with me!", it was posted to share a fan's views and to encourage discussion on tactics and exchange ideas, many of which will naturally disagree. And while I like disagreements, I admit they are less likable when their only argument is "you lost me".

    I know that there's a certain superiority in "you lost me", and it gives it a "shut the opposing opinion up" kind of function, but it would be far more interesting as a disagreement to me (and most probably to most people that liked the topic), if you'd spend a few more seconds (since you did get in the trouble of posting to the thread anyway) to explain why you'd think the Skrtel-Sakho partnership would work.
     
  21. gasband

    gasband The Singaporean Liverpool Never Managed To Sign

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    I do want to see Skrtel and Sakho in some games, possibly cup games or in some "easier" games. What better way to build up leadership for Sakho then to throw him in the "deep end".
     
  22. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

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    I've read the article and it's comprehensive to say the least. Great effort SSS!

    One suggestion I'd make formation wise is that there appears to be an emphasis by Rodgers in recent quotes around playing Suarez and Sturridge as a front two. I think this was also evidenced by Suarez and Sturridge occasionally pulling left and right, respectively, to provide width and generally trying to forge a striking pair against Sunderland. Therefore (I suspect you wrote much of this prior to Sunderland) I'd have more of a focus on formations with a clear front two.

    One thing that I'd be interested in seeing for footballing interest reasons is the AC Milan Carlo Ancellotti formation, which I remember as more of a 4-3-1-2 (but is similar to the diamond that you mention above). So this line up would be something like:

    Johnson-Sakho-Agger-Sissoko
    Gerrard-Lucas-Hendo
    Coutinho
    Sturridge-Suarez
     
  23. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Will most probably happen at some point, the way you describe it. But the source from which Sakho will build up his leading skills is from having a leader by his side - learn by example ;-)
     
  24. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Clive :-)

    I finalized it after the Sunderland game, but what I'm trying to imply there, in the two formations I give as the main, is that in both the end result is having two strikers. In the 3-4-1-2 it's pretty obvious, but I think that even in the 4-3-3, we will basically be playing with 2 strikers, strange as it may sound. Like I explain there and show at the diagram, Suarez has the luxury of being more inside next to Sturridge, as the right flank is adopted by Johnson when we attack, so despite the seeming 4-3-3, our attack technically shifts to

    -----------------Sturridge------Suarez----------------
    Moses-----------------------------------------Johnson
    ----------------------Coutinho--------------------------

    You are right that they are also drifting outside to provide width, and they are very well equipped (technically) to do so, but the reason they did more than they will normally would in the game vs Sunderland was because we were lacking our natural width providers (Johnson injured and Moses played in AM).
     
  25. gasband

    gasband The Singaporean Liverpool Never Managed To Sign

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    But he will need opportunities to put what he learnt into practice ;-)
     
  26. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Of course, and there surely will be, sooner or later.

    In the end, what's great is that we have 4 top class CBs, with different attributes each for each pair combination (and if Sakho is a quick learner and gets his leadership skills up by next season, then soon we are indeed talking about 6 different partnership combinations!!). That means that, although we'll probably have a mainstay partnership by the end of the season, Rodgers will be able to choose his CBs according to the gameplan vs specific opposition (ie: opposition has powerful aerial threat, or opposition has nimble forwards, or Rodgers decides that a game warrants a high line, or a game looks like being a war of attrition, etc. etc.).

    It's such a luxury to have these options, and once Rodgers perfects their function I think it will be very hard to concede (with Mignolet in mind too).
     
  27. costared

    costared TIA Reserve Team

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    Obviously a lot of these points have been discussed on other threads but it is useful to see such a complete picture. I have been suggesting Toure at DM for quite a while and I really do hope we see this on Saturday.
    I usually switch off when I see such long posts but read this one through, possibly because I found myself agreeing with most points.
     
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  28. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    I know, you are right. The thing is, I think that talking about them outside the complete picture often has less perspective. For example talking about our midfield outside the weighted flank factor. Or talking about playing with 2 strikers outside the acknowledgement of how our 4-3-3 variant really functions, etc.

    So I just wanted to give each point a perspective within a more complete picture. Inevitably it would repeat some discussion from elsewhere, but hopefully achieving to approach it from a different angle, relating it to other factors which affect it.
     
  29. TheSweetSilverSong

    TheSweetSilverSong Well-Known Member

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    Great read mate, and especially the parts I highlighted in bold.
     
  30. lfc.eddie

    lfc.eddie "¿Plata... O Plomo?" Valued Member

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    RedHed... testament of a player being great in his position is when he delivers when he plays with other teams. Alonso delivered for Madrid and Spain, Gerrard did better than Lampard for England.

    You are right that good players around you make you look better, but if Torres is the only good player we had at that era we would have conceded freely and we won't be able control possession. We probably play the Hodgson hoof style. That era we had great midfielder that could walk into any top teams in Europe. Superb back line who rivals any at the highest level and very lethal striker. Now we have an alright midfielder, still very good defenders and lethal frontline. The spine is weakened by the midfield pairing.

    In that era even our not so lauded wingers and fullbacks were highly sought after by Europe tops, can't say he same about our current squad other than Coutinho, Suarez, Gerrard and maybe now Sturridge.
     

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