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Saturday September 28, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday September 28, 2013 MYT 12:41:16 PM
by jagdev singh sidhu
Sunderland will be playing without Paolo Di Canio who was sacked as manager of the Black Cats this week. – EPA Photo
TINKERING with the squad against Southampton where Brendan Rodgers fielded Mamadou Sakho at left back and Kolo Toure at right back was a disaster.
It’s not that both cannot play those positions but it’s not their natural preference. As a stop-gap measure, they can fill in at a pinch but consistently playing on the flanks will mean depriving Liverpool of their natural formation that is essential in the way Rodgers employs his 4-3-3 formation.
Rodgers tweaked his system midweek against Manchester United in the League Cup to a 3-5-2 where Sakho, Toure and Martin Skrtel were deployed at the back. The team utilised that formation in part because of injuries to Glen Johnson and Philippe Coutinho and to accommodate the return of Luis Suarez.
It was a slightly unfamiliar formation but given the personnel at his disposal, it was the best Rodgers could do.
It was tough to get Liverpool to play to that system with some familiarity but the team did so as well as they could against United to lose by a slim 1-0 margin.
That loss, and the one against Southampton, showed that the team need to concentrate against set pieces as both goals in each of the past two 1-0 defeats were conceded from corner kicks.
With the team struggling to overcome the loss of key players in Rodgers’ preferred formation, the experiment is set to continue this weekend against Sunderland.
Typically, any team would look at Sunderland rooted at the foot of the table and will immediately like their chances. But Sunderland will be playing without Paolo Di Canio who was sacked as manager of the Black Cats.
It will be tricky playing against a team with a new manager, albeit a caretaker one, as Sunderland are thought to be looking at Gus Poyet to replace Di Canio.
The loss against Southampton goes to show there are no longer games where a victory can be pencilled in looking at the schedule. A momentary loss of concentration can be the difference between victory and defeat as was evident in Liverpool’s last two games.
Key to any Liverpool victory now will be the assimilation of Luis Suarez and the race to get him match fit. Suarez showed the rust of not playing consistently but given his commitment to Liverpool and the quality he has, it will be a matter of time before the Uruguayan is back to his best.
And Suarez playing at his best will be crucial if Liverpool are able to overcome the loss of Coutinho and Johnson while adapting to a new system in the interim.
Jagdev Singh Sidhu expects Liverpool, despite a dip in form, to get a victory at Sunderland on Sunday. And he hopes Brendan Rodgers plays the best players he has in each position.
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football, Red2TheCore, Jagdev Singh Sidhu, Liverpool, Sunderland, Paolo Di Canio
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