Liverpool continue to disappoint this season. A 1-0 loss to Newcastle over the weekend once again highlights the offensive struggles of the team without Daniel Sturridge.
This week, they face defending Champions League winners Real Madrid and then they play Premier League leaders Chelsea next weekend. If Liverpool wants to progress from their Champions League group, they must at least get a draw at the Bernabeu, something much easier said than done.
Against Newcastle, Brendan Rodgers unveiled a new 3-5-1-1 formation but he is probably not going to use it against a team as good as Madrid. In the last match, he started with a 4-2-3-1 but switched to a 4-3-3 for the second half.
After the switch, the team looked much more fluid and passing improved greatly. For this match, I think that Rodgers should use the 4-3-3 so that the striker at the top of the formation is not left alone against the Madrid defense.
Simon Mignolet will be looking to improve on his terrible performance in the last match against Madrid where he conceded 3 goals. He struggled to command his box and this allowed the Madrid attackers to take advantage of their chances.
Javier Manquillo was rested against Newcastle, hopefully in preparation for him to put everything into battling against Ronaldo and Marcelo. Glen Johnson struggled against the Madrid wingers in the last match and this will be a great opportunity for the Spaniard to show his full potential.
The duo of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren will try to contain the rampant attack of the defending champions. Even though Madrid only fields one striker in Benzema, the goalscoring ability of those behind him makes them very difficult to defend. The pair will have to be at the top of their form if they want to keep the opponents from having too many opportunities at the goal.
Alberto Moreno was placed farther up the field in the match against Newcastle. For this game, he should return to the left back slot along the back line. Against Madrid, he will not be able to move up the field since he will be pushed back by the left winger, either Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez and the left back in either Alvaro Arbeloa or Dani Carvajal.
In this formation Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen are likely to be placed in front of the defense. Henderson is player most capable of contributing in both offense and defense.
Gerrard will be the slowest player on the field but he can still contribute through his passing and set piece ability. Allen struggled in the last match against Madrid but he had just returned from a long injury lay off.
A front line of Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli and Philippe Coutinho will hopefully be able to break through the Madrid defense. In a 4-2-3-1, the lone striker is usually left alone against the two opposing central defenders.
With three players up front, their movement and passing ability should result in a more fluid attack. Although it is unlikely, Rodgers could opt to use Rickie Lambert instead on Balotelli. The England international offers a more direct style of play compared to the wondering Balotelli.
Via – Lineup Builder