Brendan Rodgers’s tactics at Liverpool have undergone a remarkable transition over the past two years. Rarely we see managers change their philosophy and achieve so much success over a short period of time. Liverpool have evolved from a possession hogging “Lets build from the back” side to one of the most devastating counter attacking teams in England in 2 years. Favouring a 4-3-3 in earlier part of the season,Rodgers has switched to a diamond formation at times and it has worked.
Steven Gerrard’s evolution
Gerrard is evolution into a deep lying playmaker from a box to box midfielder is key to Liverpool’s evolution this season. Earlier Rodgers used two deep midfielders,mostly one Gerrard and one from Lucas,Allen or Sahin. Gerrard was slightly ahead of the other midfielder and this slowed down attacks quite considerably. All three of Allen,Lucas and Sahin(At least at Liverpool) were content in picking up the ball from the defense and playing short passes to retain possession. Although they were good at it,Liverpool simply didn’t have the players ahead of them to string meaningful attacks. Now Gerrard playing as the deepest midfielder has the ability to move the ball quickly and has the eye for some “Hollywood” balls. This does leave the defence exposed at times and Gerrard still hasn’t adapted the defensive side of his game fully as he does tend to leave his defence exposed at times. This is one problem Roy Hodgson has to solve before the world cup,if you fancy your chances taking a punt on the results at the world cup,Sports Betting Dime is for you. So far no one has really exploited that too full effect,but City with an inform Silva have a good chance to do,but we can expect Rodgers to deploy Lucas against them .It comes to no surprise that as of today Liverpool have conceded the same number of goals as Crystal Palace have this season.
Coutinho & Henderson
Jordan Henderson another player whose transformation has been remarkable has epitomized Liverpool’s rise to the top. The high energy levels of Henderson help Liverpool press from the front and his running is now second to none. What has improved the most is his tactical awareness to make the right runs forward into spaces as Liverpool’s formation at times is very lopsided. Coutinho on the other hand has the eye for that final pass which splits the defence. Inter must be cursing themselves for letting him go for so cheap. Technically brilliant on the ball ,physically he has improved a lot after he has come to England. He is intercepting,pressing and harassing opponents to commit mistakes. Give him a little amount of space and 9 times out of 10,he will split your defence.
A manager like Brendan Rodgers is a rarity in the Premier League for he has many systems up his sleeve. This year he has enjoyed considerable success with the diamond and the 4-3-3. When he first started out at Liverpool he used a mixture of 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3,but mostly the former. Then he tried out playing with the back 3 in some games but had to famously change it back to a 4-2-3-1 in a game against Chelsea. Rodgers probably tried it out because of Liverpool’s totally out of form wingers. Coming to the second season,Liverpool played their best football in a 4-3-3 and more recently against Manchester United with a diamond. Rodgers even managed to fit Joe Allen in a diamond as a shuttler and he performed reasonably well. Both these formations have Steven Gerrard as it’s base and a combination of various players ahead of him. As I already mentioned,this has been key to Liverpool’s evolution this year.
Suarez and Sturridge
The speed,the understanding,the runs and the finishing of both Suarez and Sturridge easily make them the most devastating striker partners in England at the moment. They key to this partnership is the ability of both to play anywhere in the front three. They drag the opposition defence all over the place which makes it easier for other players to find them. And their finishing at the moment is second to none.
Liverpool do need to invest if they have to compete next year both in Europe and in the League. The defence is still a weakness and some other areas too need able backups. It will interesting to see whether Rodgers will employ this gung-ho approach in Europe too. Playing Gerrard alone before his defence might not be a smart move but moving back to a possession based side won’t do justice to Liverpool’s strengths at the moment. It will be certainly very interesting and a great pleasure to see Liverpool back in Europe once again.