Despite only getting a 1-1 draw with Norwich this weekend, the match could be a turning point for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool. Even if the team only scored one goal, the fact that the attack looked much more fluid and dynamic rather than the static, predictable style it had the first few weeks means that the goals should be coming sooner rather than later.
The 3-4-1-2 formation made its debut on Sunday and it may be the formation that allows Rodgers to keep his job.
The three-man defense composed of Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho was the one Rodgers used for majority last season and it could be the one he utilizes from now on.
Having three defenders prevents them from being outnumbered and having Moreno and Clyne as wing-backs makes the defense a five-man wall when the team loses the ball. Still, the team as a whole needs to work on their set piece defending after conceding goals off of them the past two matches.
The midfield as a whole was inconsistent, the players on the left side were so much better than those on the right. Alberto Moreno was a constant menace on the wing and his ability to provide width to the Liverpool attack is fantastic.
The Spaniard is the only one who is able to consistently deliver crosses into the box and his speed can really opened up a lot of space for the rest of the team. On the other side of the field, Nathaniel Clyne is a far less significant attacking threat but his defending is a much needed asset. If Rodgers wants more a natural wing player, he could start either Adam Lallana or Jordon Ibe at the position.
In the middle of the formation, the two midfielders, James Milner and Lucas Leiva against Norwich, will need to find the right balance between charging forward to attack while also making sure that they get back on defense. Both are more than capable of fulfilling those duties while captain Jordan Henderson remains out with a heel injury.
In front of the midfielders, Philippe Coutinho is finally able to play in his most natural position. As the number 10, Coutinho has the freedom to utilize his creativity and he should have a lot of space to work his magic going forward. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see where Roberto Firmino plays, the number 10 is his most natural position but Coutinho is still regarded as the team’s best player. It is looking more and more likely that Firmino will be a part of the Europa League squad as well as being an impact substitute for league matches. That is not a bad thing, it allows him to slowly find his feet without the pressure of playing in the Premier League.
The Norwich match saw the return of Daniel Sturridge to the lineup and while he missed a couple of chances to score, he should eventually reach his peak form once he gets more minutes. This was the first time Christian Benteke and Sturridge played together and it is understandable why they didn’t have great chemistry.
While the pair of Benteke and Sturridge didn’t look the comfortable, the attack looked much better once Danny Ings came into the match. Ings played much better as a striker rather than out on the wing and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the England international started next week’s match.
Ings and Sturridge may be a better pairing since they aren’t as reliant on long balls as Benteke. Having two forwards instead of one will really relieve the pressure that the 4-3-3 formation creates on that single striker and it should prevent the opposing defenders from ganging up on one guy.
Via – Lineup Builder