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What the f**k is our best 11?


The_Adder

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I'm starting this because I'm not even sure anyone (including our manager) knows what it is and everyone has a completely different opinion with every passing game.

 

In taking a fully fit squad what do you think is our best starting 11 and why do you think that it is?

 

For me our keeper picks itself, certainly for now.

 

I think Kelly is a top all round right back, gets forward and puts crosses in, is very strong defensively and is excellent in the air too, which is an advantage, this means that Johnson is playing on the left side, which isnt his preferred position but he has been very good there and it means we can push Jose Enrique further forward. The CBs are a given at this moment in time. I am not 100% convinced on Srtkel, but he is our best bet for now, I would have liked to have seen much more of Coates next to Agger as I think that has potential to be our best pairing, but can understand the reluctance, he looks like he could be a top player but it is hard to judge on his current number of games for us.

 

Lucas is given in the DM role.

 

I think one thing our midfield has been lacking (the major one being goals) is balance. We have played players in different positions and very rarely their specialist position, that goes for Allen, Sahin, Suso and Gerrard. I think it is either Allen or Sahin for the place alongside Lucas and I'd go for Sahin, he showed at Dortmund what he can do in that playmaker role and despite his slow start here, which has definitely been hammered by playing too far forward he could be a real assest in the second half of the seasond dictating the play, especially with better movement ahead of him. Gerrard has always been at his best as the attackign midfielder, where he has much less responsibility but can still help out, he has goals in him and can link superbly with the striker.

 

In the three forward positions Suarez is the central striker, at least for now and we have look really dangerous when he has Enrique up there with him, they seem to have an excellent understanding and Enrique looks like he has both goals and assists in him up there. he other side it is a difficult choice between the excellent but young Sterling and Borini, who has excellent movement and probably more goals in him and it will be hard to judge until he has played enough games to do so.

 

If everyone was fit, I reckon it is this:

Reina

 

Kelly - Srktel - Agger - Johnson

 

Lucas - Sahin

 

Gerrard

 

Borini/Sterling - Suarez - Enrique

 

For the moment I'd play Wisdom in place of Kelly and Sterling on the right of the three, it is a shame Assaidi has been overlooked in the main as he looks useful.

 

I would bring on Suso in Gerrard's position when possible in games to give him experince in his his best position as he looks wasted out wide, same can be said fofr Shelvey.

 

I really cant understand some of the positions we have been playing players in at times this season, doesnt make sense with the exception of Enrique who looks a better player further up, but who has now been moved back in place of Downing who just isnt up to it, along with Cole, both need to go.

 

Adding Sturridge to that front three and we look a much sharper team up front already, whatever you want to say about him is he fast, has skill and scores goals, will be very interesting to see where he starts, whether as the central striker or to the right of Suarez.

 

A front three of Walcott, Sturridge and Suarez would be dreamland for us at the moment, really think we need to go all out for Theo in January whether he comes or not, too good an opportunity not to and we at least have to try surely.

 

Over to you and all that...

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Currently...

 

Pepe

Johnson......Skertl.....agger.....Enrique

.............Allen.......Lucas....Sahin.........

.........Gerard......Suarez....sterling......

 

Rogers talked about that in the being Liverpool series so am very surprised he hasn't tried it yet as its now available

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-----------------Reina

 

Johnson Skrtel Agger Enrique

 

--------Sahin Lucas Allen

 

-----Gerrard Suarez Sterling

 

 

 

In about a weeks time it would be.......

 

 

 

----------------Reina

 

Johnson skrtel Agger Enrique

 

-----Gerrard Lucas Allen

 

----Sterling Sturridge Saurez

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-------------Pepe-----------

Glen Skrtel Agger Jose

------ Lucas Leiva -------

--- Allen - Nuri Sahin ---

-------- Stevie G ---------

---- Sterling - Suarez ----

 

For me it's that with Demba Ba being signed to replace Sterling in the side

 

when will people learn?

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-------------Pepe-----------

Glen Skrtel Agger Jose

------ Lucas Leiva -------

--- Allen - Nuri Sahin ---

-------- Stevie G ---------

---- Sterling - Suarez ----

 

For me it's that with Demba Ba being signed to replace Sterling in the side

 

 

I like your thinking :)

Sneaking a few past the ref, ain't you?

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Whatever this joke is, its lost on me.

 

If it is anything subtle then it is on me too.

 

I just thought it was funny.

 

But then I've dosed myself up on good malt whisky to cure my cold so most things are at the moment.

 

Are they reading "Nuri Sahin" as 2 people?

 

Nope.

 

Nor Lucas Leiva.

 

I just assumed it was understandable disagreement with the side.

 

Though Molby must answer for himself.

 

Molby?

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If it is anything subtle then it is on me too.

 

I just thought it was funny.

 

But then I've dosed myself up on good malt whisky to cure my cold so most things are at the moment.

 

 

 

Nope.

 

Nor Lucas Leiva.

 

I just assumed it was understandable disagreement with the side.

 

Though Molby must answer for himself.

 

Molby?

 

there's also beardsley's "Sneaking a few past the ref, ain't you?" comment that implies extra numbers

i dont get the joke either

 

I thought it was the formation .

 

BR never plays with two up top .

 

then you got the question wrong, cause it's what's our best XI, not what does BR thing the best XI is

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Best XI's change based on form and they change based on the opposition. That said, irrespective of the opposition and form (generally speaking) these are starters;

 

Reina

 

Johnson

Skrtel

Agger

*

 

Lucas

Gerrard

 

Sterling

Suarez

*

 

(*Enrique starts either LM or LB)

 

 

 

Reina

 

Johnson Skrtel Agger Enrique

 

Gerrard Lucas (Allen, Sahin, Henderson)

 

Sterling Suarez (Suso, Shelvey, Downing)*

 

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there's also beardsley's "Sneaking a few past the ref, ain't you?" comment that implies extra numbers

i dont get the joke either

 

 

 

then you got the question wrong, cause it's what's our best XI, not what does BR thing the best XI is

 

 

 

i wasnt posting what i thought BR would pick , but i thought it would make sense to go with the formation that actually gets played , that being the case

 

it would 4 at the back

 

3 in midfield {1-2 or 2-1 , whichever you prefer }

 

and 3 in the attacking positions

 

If you think that it should be a different formation , fair do's work away .

Edited by Red Yoda
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Interesting piece I've just read on Rawk, it makes a case for the back three, which is not something I'd personally be all over, but the analysis of the problem is good

 

Rawk

 

Illustration in the link

 

phaseofplay with the box instead of the present

RAWK Scribe

Anny Roader

 

 

Posts: 429

JFT96

 

The Back-Three Question

« on: Today at 06:11:38 AM »

The Back-Three Question

 

There has been a lot of discussion about the defensive frailties of Liverpool this year. Statistically, we have conceded 1.37 goals per game this season. This is a poor tally for a club with ambitions of getting among the CL places. There are a few possible reasons for this – new manager, new methods, off-form players, or a system flaw, among others. We will look at the system being used and the repercussions of the organisation of the system, as the other factors could quite reasonably happen under any system (player form, new manager and methods could cause a defensive regression regardless of the system used – for example, Hodgson played a tight back four sitting on the 18 yard line and conceded roughly the same amount of goals per game as Rodgers’ team has, currently). What we will be looking at is the rationale behind using a three-back system in order to help reduce goals against, while preserving the attacking principles that Rodgers wants to develop at the club. It would hopefully explain why some of us have mentioned it a few times, and show that there is more to it other than just “winning the physical battle” or some such description. When looked at closely, it is actually a possible solution that would not only solidify certain aspects of our defence, but it would have the knock-on effect of strengthening our possession game and allow us the patience required to play the way Rodgers wants.

 

Defensive Record –

 

Although a lot of people argue over the merits of statistics, the data is unbiased and can show trends and progression/regression over a period of time. Although you don’t have to know or use statistics to know when something is getting better or worse, you can use them to show by how much things are getting better or worse. With this in mind, it might be useful to look at the trend of the last 5 years under various managers. We will look at season 2010-11 as an overall season, although Kenny had a significantly better goal per game against average than Hodgson did. But as an overall trendline, we can see how our defence has performed year after year since our best period under Rafa (GAPG = Goals Against Per Game):

 

 

 

 

As we can see, there has been an upward trend in terms of goals conceded, briefly halted in Kenny’s full year of management. The key point is the massive jump from last year to this year. When we compare the two years, though, we have to ask what is different – do we have new central defenders, or a new system? Clearly, the system is the main thing that’s changed, and because of this, it is worth looking into what the system is and how it might influence the defensive aspects of the game

 

The Principles of Rodgers’ Defence -

 

Regardless of any use of an “8-Zones” interpretation, the first thing we need to know about Rodgers ideal system, and the one he is working towards, is that it is essentially a 2-3-2-3 formation, just like Barcelona’s. In terms of tactics, as much as we can talk about ideas of possession, control, and pressure, the basic reason for the splitting up of this formation into four bands that separate the fullbacks from the central defenders is the prominence of the 4-2-3-1 formation in Spain. This is also an indication as to why the formation is experiencing structural weaknesses for Liverpool in the Premier League (where the formation is not so prominent). As we can see below, the 2-3-2-3 conforms to the basic tactical rule of outnumbering the forward line by one defender, matching the shape of the midfield, and maintaining width up front:

 

 

 

What we can see here is that, when faced with a 4-2-3-1, the 2-3-2-3 formation is quite capable of dealing with the structure of the opposition. The problems exist when the other team doesn’t play the same game:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, structurally, we can see that the system could run into problems when other teams play anything other than 4-2-3-1. On the other hand, the system and how it applies to principles of defence is at a disadvantage against these other formations too. This is largely due to the centrebacks being played so far apart, but also because we play a high line – our average positions for our back four are frequently very much into the middle third rather than the back third. Additionally, we play a pressure game which requires the attackers to be forward thinking:

 

 

 

 

With this in mind, we can see that a number of factors are present – high pressure attack, high line, and split centrebacks. This leads to some very vulnerable spaces, as we can see below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The space behind Lucas and between Skrtel and Agger are sensitive to direct play patterns from the opposition. This is compounded by teams that play with two forwards, as Villa did against us (and Stoke to a slightly lesser extent – their forwards are staggered, so it looks like they play with one, but the shadow striker is closely connected to the movement of the forward). It also means that Lucas is caught in a no-man’s land defensively. As the attack pushes up to press the opposition defence, he becomes separated from the two attacking mids. The fullbacks push up simultaneously, too, so the job of covering for them for all intents and purposes falls on the defensive mid. The defensive mid, though, also has to step into the gap between the back two to become a third defender, but without actually being the central defender itself. This is what creates the sensitive space for opposition forwards to play in. It also affects Lucas’ ability (and Allen’s before him) to do his defensive midfield job effectively. In terms of the midfield, we can see that another sensitive space is created in the midfield three, and depending on the personnel in the attacking midfield positions, it leaves the defensive mid absolutely isolated. Stoke played to this perfectly by abandoning a balanced formation and intensively overloading that space around Lucas, which allowed them to create a lot of pressure on our possession in the defensive third, especially as Enrique was having an anxious game in possession. So we can see that although the intention of pressure is there, we miss something that is vitally important in top level defending – compactness. We can see examples of Compactness from other teams below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Liverpool midfield is split vertically through the functional flaw of the 2-3-2-3; the defence is split horizontally in the possession phase. The wing-forwards are true wing-forwards and don’t have much detail to drop back and double up on the opposition wide players, regardless of what their opposition fullback does on their side. The fundamentals of Rodgers’ defensive system are sound, but the application of them are disturbed by the tactical variation of the Premier League – a variation comparable to Serie A teams, and we know that the flexibility of a Serie A team can cause us problems at times. Flexibility of formation is something Rodgers should look at more, because it solves structural problems without sacrificing the principles of play he wants to imbue in the team (high pressure compact defence, temporized possession, 3rd attacker penetration).

 

The Back-Three Solution –

 

The reason why a three-back formation would work as an option against certain teams is clear from the above – it achieves several structural corrections in one move, without detracting from how Rodgers wants the ball to be moved, and without sacrificing the pressure game – in fact, it possibly even enhances it. The reasons for this are as follows –

 

The third central defender occupies the sensitive space between Agger and Skrtel and behind Lucas

Allowing Lucas to push up more defines his role clearly, and allows him to play more naturally

Allowing Lucas to get closer to the attacking mids eliminates the sensitive midfield space in between the attacking mids and the defensive mid

The three defenders allows for better balanced cover across the width of the field, allowing the fullbacks the luxury of greater concentration on their attacking roles

The fullbacks having greater focus on their attacking roles allows the possession game to build better, which forces the other team back

When the other team is forced back, it allows the pressure game to be operated more efficiently, as the opposition will have less release passes when they win the ball, leaving them with a long ball as their only realistic option before they are under pressure. Because these long balls are rushed and played blind, they will be played inaccurately. They will also go to one of the three channels, each of which will be marshaled by one of the back three, with no large gaps for the opposition forwards to play through

 

 

 

For these reasons, it can be seen that there are certain situations, at least, where a back three system would work better for what Rodgers is trying to achieve. It is pragmatic without being compromising of the principles of play. It has the element of surprise that keeps opposition managers guessing. Spatially, it is a smart use of resources. It also enhances elements of Rodgers’ preferred style of play. For contrast, Wigan played a 3-4-1-2 versus Villa, and although the system itself wasn’t the contributory factor in their win, there is a lesson to be learned in terms of the shape of Liverpool’s system against 2-forward attacks:

 

 

 

As we can see, Villa played the same system as they did against us. The problem for them, though, was that Wigan placed players in the spaces they were able to hurt us, with their central defender playing almost like a Sweeper. They also maintained a midfield three, which is ideal for a possession/passing team.

 

 

Conclusion -

 

 

So we can see that the idea of playing three defenders against certain teams is not just a matter of trying to match their physicality, or trying to be pragmatic, or even having to change the pattern of play Rodgers prefers, or his philosophy. Tactically, it is a sensible solution to a problem that is inherent in our structure when playing against certain types of Premier League teams. Most Premier League teams are not tactically flexible, preferring a single system of play with one minor adjustment, usually the design of the midfield and forwards. In order to combat that, and protect the vital central area while preserving our style of play, a shift to a back three system for specific games and opponents would be very prudent and sensible. It would be a positive move, rather than a reactionary one, and one that would bring many direct and indirect benefits. Of course, the quality/condition/personality of the players also has an impact, but in terms of tactics and systems, it would at least address, by default, a key area that is vulnerable to smart managers and players when they face us. It is something that one would hope Rodgers would address sooner rather than later – it is not a secret vulnerability, but it is easily solved.

 

 

 

 

« Last Edit: Today at 08:23:16 AM by phaseofplay with the box instead of the present »

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