Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool experienced their first loss of the season last weekend against West Ham but that should not discourage the fans from thinking the team will be able to accomplish something this year. While the 3-0 loss looked terrible, it is better for Rodgers to have a chance to reassess the formation and playing style the team will use for the rest of the season.
There are essentially two phases in the Reds season, one without Daniel Sturridge and one with the left-footed striker. A 4-3-3 formation should be the one Rodgers deploys for the time without Sturridge. It is a formation that allows them to create space easily and it encourages the wide players to cross the ball into the box more than a 4-2-3-1 formation. Once Sturridge returns the team should transition to a 4-3-1-2 formation. It puts the two best strikers on the squad on the field and Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino should excel in the role behind the forwards.
This article focuses on the 4-3-3 formation and who should be a part of the lineup until Sturridge returns.
Simon Mignolet is entrenched as the starter and he will be for the entire season. He was able to keep a clean sheet for the first three matches but was undone by extremely poor defending last weekend.
Nobody will replace Nathaniel Clyne on the defense for the foreseeable future. He has the perfect balance between knowing when to burst forward and when to stay back and defend, that is a skill many full-backs surprisingly don’t possess.
With his experience and leadership ability, Martin Skrtel should After Dejan Lovren’s terrible performance against West Ham, Mamadou Sakho might return to the lineup. The Frenchman fits beside Skrtel much better than Lovren, Sakho is faster more relaxed on the ball and he is arguably a better passer as well.
While he struggled against West Ham, Joe Gomez is still worthy of starting ahead of Alberto Moreno. He is not a natural left-back but he has proven that he is capable of holding his own out on the left flank. Moreno may offer a greater attacking threat with his speed, Gomez’s more natural defending ability makes him the better choice for most of the season.
The trio of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and James Milner, provide an all-around game that really helps provide balance to the squad. The fact that the team struggled during Henderson’s two game absence highlights his importance to the the squad.
Can has filled in capably as the defensive midfielder and he should improve as the season progresses. The one thing he has to be conscious of is making sure that he does not get caught too far up the field when he makes his forward runs.
With his unrelenting energy and experience, Milner has been the team’s best player during the first four weeks of the season. His well-rounded game fits in perfectly in the squad but it would be nice to see him have a bigger attacking influence to help out a front that has struggled to get the ball into the net.
Roberto Firmino has yet to find his footing in the Red jersey but he’ll figure it out sooner rather than later. He had a great performance against Arsenal but that unfortunately didn’t result in any goals. With his smooth playing style and unselfish nature, Firmino should remain a fixture in the lineup for the rest of the year.
Christian Benteke has often looked lost during the first few matches but that’s to be expected since he didn’t have a lot of time to practice with the squad before the season started. The players around him are still figuring out how to utilize his skills, which revolves around his skill in the air and his more direct way of getting in front of the goal. Once everyone is comfortable, Benteke should be able to prove why Rodgers was correct in adding him to the squad. The return of Sturridge will help take the pressure off the big Belgian later in the season as well.
Philippe Coutinho has had to be the team’s primary creator but hopefully that will change once everyone gets settled in their roles. While his temper got the better of him against West Ham, he is not the type of player who keeps on getting carded. The little wizard just needs to allow others to take over sometimes, he doesn’t always need to be the one who starts the attack.
Via – Lineup Builder