In his first season in charge, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has most frequently used his preferred 4-3-3 formation, which has had it merits in attack but created problems at the back.
While the Reds have scored 59 times thus far this season (12 more than in the whole of last season), they’ve already conceded 40 – the same amount as in the whole of last season, with five games remaining. You would do right to do some wise Premier League betting on +2.5 goals in Liverpool games.
More recently Rodgers has used a ‘2-1’ shape in midfield, rather than ‘1-2’, making the formation more similar to Rafa Benitez’s much-used 4-2-3-1 and therefore attempting to offer better midfield cover for the back four.
We’ve seen the midfield over-run against teams such as Southampton when all our attacking talents have been used – namely Suarez and Sturridge in tandem. While the back four have struggled when lacking that protection in front of them.
By adding a third centre back, someone with pace like Andre Wisdom, Liverpool would have a superb combination in a back three; ball-playing Agger on the left, organiser Carragher in the middle and youthful exuberance and pace with Wisdom right sided.
In Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson, Liverpool already have two perfect candidates for the wing-back roles. In Rodgers system both the full backs typically push high up the pitch anyway, but this has often left the remaining centre backs exposed – something which would be reduced with the addition of a third centre back.
Ahead of the back three/five, Lucas and Gerrard would be able to dominate the midfield more effectively with less concern on providing cover, while also having more security that one mis-placed pass wouldn’t be as damaging on the counter attack.
In Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool have a player perfectly capable of the attacking midfielder role in this system, able to unlock defences and provide the creativity required for Sturridge and Suarez ahead of him.
The season may only have five games left but it would be interesting to see how this shape would work in Rodgers system, something you may wish to consider when you are organising your betting strategies.