In a recent interview captain Steven Gerrard revealed a lack of plan B at Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers, Ben Twelves explains why he thinks one is needed for the team to progress.
The 3-1 defeat to Southampton left supporters extremely disappointed, especially after the recent run of four straight wins in all competitions. But not for the first time this season, a lack of consistency has haunted us again, at a time that we looked at our most improved and progressive.
The loss was our ninth in the League and even though Brendan Rodgers has gone some way to addressing the issues at the top end of the pitch, a midfield enforcer and more importantly defensive reinforcements must be the priority in the summer transfer window. However, even with new players, the style of play will remain the same and any incoming signing will be extensively scrutinised to ensure he can play in the ‘system’.
Rodgers’ style of play is a football purist one that’s liked by many, including me, and when executed correctly it can produce great footballing performances in which the opposition are completely out-played. This hasn’t happened enough this season, perhaps understandably as the players still try to adapt, but one problem with Rodgers’ system, is that the style of play isn’t flexible and therefore when things aren’t quite working out, a ‘Plan B’ is essential.
The one dimensional style seems to be something that is very much on the players’ minds also. In a recent interview with FourFourTwo magazine, captain Steven Gerrard revealed that there is a shortage of a Plan B from Rodgers, who would rather the team continue to improve on Plan A, than change style:
“Brendan has his ideals about how the game should be played, but if that’s not working, he doesn’t suggest an alternative strategy. He wants us to improve that way, rather than look for a Plan B or Plan C.”
Options Going Forward
With the defensive fragility becoming a major area that needs addressing this summer, adding alternative attacking options isn’t likely to be Rodgers main priority this summer.However we do have options ready at our disposal.
Academy striker Michael Ngoo, who is currently on loan at Hearts, said in an interview last week with The Daily Record, that he hopes that with his “height and strength” he could be Rodgers’ back-up option going forward, should the manager look for a more physical style player.
Another option is of course Andy Carroll, who Rodgers shipped out before the season had even really begun and certainly before Carroll had time to show what he could offer in the new style of play. With reports suggesting that it’s increasingly unlikely that the Geordie front-man will turn his stay at West Ham into a permanent one, it would make sense, seeing as he is still our player, to utilise him as he, like Ngoo, would offer another dimension.
By “another dimension”, I don’t mean anti-football, hopeful long balls to Carroll or Ngoo, that isn’t Liverpool. While you can continue to build from the back and play through midfield, having an option like these, means you can put the ball into danger areas earlier without having to rely on carving the opposition open.
There would still be space to have Luis Suarez, Phillipe Coutinho and the like with their creativity and technical ability in a 4-2-3-1 formation for example. But having this option would provide the team with a different outlet and alternative in games where we haven’t been able to make a breakthrough with the preferred tactics.
The current footballing philosophy is an ‘easy on the eye’ style that many supporters want to be associated with Liverpool Football Club. But a winning mentality won’t be instilled until we piece together a fall back option for those days where it just doesn’t quite work. Unless that happens, it will be the inconsistent results from relying on one style and a lack of a Plan B that will stop us from moving forward.