A dismal performance last time out is likely to see Brendan Rodgers ring the changes for the visit of Norwich City. Ben Twelves explores the potential options available to the manager.
If there are any positives from our self inflicted result at Hull on Sunday, it’s that we have a chance to put ourselves back on track very quickly on Wednesday night when we host Norwich.
The loss has provided a brutal reality check to remind us that we aren’t yet title material despite our healthy position and that there is still plenty of work to be done, especially defensively.
And it is the defence, or more precisely the centre back partnership that will come under most scrutiny ahead of Wednesday’s game at Anfield. Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel both turned in extremely unimpressive displays while Vice-captain Daniel Agger and big money signing Mamadou Sakho, who some feel would be our strongest partnership, watched on from the bench.
Glen Johnson produced a sloppy performance for the second game running and while Jon Flanagan does little wrong filling the gap at left back, Jose Enrique’s obvious superiority means his absence is worse than initially realised.
The omnipresent issue of our passive central midfield was there for all to see and in the attacking areas, Luis Suarez received next to no service from Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling or the extremely lethargic Victor Moses – all deployed in the three behind him. If this is a sign of Liverpool without the dimension Daniel Sturridge offers, the signing of a striker in January may need to be explored.
Changes & Formations
Reaction after the game saw many bemoaning Brendan Rodgers for his constant swapping of the two centre backs. A lack of consistency in a key position of the pitch can easily unsettle, but after that performance, Rodgers surely now has to rotate it again, or would it be better to show faith in the Toure- Skrtel partnership if both are fit?
Rodgers did acknowledge Liverpool’s previous struggles against physicality as the reason for opting to go with those two but it backfired as a natural ball playing presence was compromised, paving the way for Agger’s return.
Joe Allen was back amongst the substitutes after the Merseyside derby and the Welshman will be hopeful of a recall to the starting line-up having watched a careless display in possession of the ball. Alternatively, Henderson could be pulled into a deeper midfield role to provide more mobility in the middle of the park, creating room in the attacking three.
Moses and Sterling, both who have yet to impress in Liverpool shirts, have given the manager absolutely no reason to stick with them other than having little other option. Fit again Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto will both be knocking on the door of a starting place and are options for Rodgers who thankfully has Philippe Coutinho available to play from the start again, hopefully in the number 10 role behind Suarez.
The 4-2-3-1 formation is what has worked best under Rodgers, but a return to the recent 4-2-2-2 formation which served well in home games against Fulham and West Brom is also possibility allowing Aspas to play in the position Sturridge vacates alongside Suarez.
With changes almost nailed on, Liverpool could look something like this:
Another alternative for the manager could look like this:
With a 4-2-2-2 shape, Liverpool could start the game like so:
Successive home games against extremely beatable opposition gives us the chance to put our challenge for Champions League football back on track. If there is one thing Brendan Rodgers’ teams have been able to do since he has come to the club, it’s pick up maximum points from the smaller clubs at Anfield.
The next two matches now have an added importance attached and we must make sure that by the time we make the trip to White Hart Lane we have 30 points to our name.
How would you like LFC to line-up? Let us know below.