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Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 12:46:00 AM
Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 12:48:04 AM
by jagdev singh sidhu
Tinkerman v2.0? Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side is still a work in progress. But he has to come up with something solid against a resilient Baggies, who won't be overawed when they visit Anfield on Saturday. - EPA
It was as clear as night and day that the new formation Brendan Rodgers has set out for Liverpool isn’t working.
Against Newcastle last week, Liverpool struggled to capitalise on the numerical advantage they had on the pitch for more than half the match. It was a shame Liverpool didn’t win although having created chances to steal victory against a plucky Newcastle side that arguably played their best game of the season.
It was also clear that Liverpool only began to threaten and pressure Newcastle once Rodgers abandoned the 3-4-1-2 formation for a more conventional 4-4-2, where pressure on the flanks started to unlock a stubborn Newcastle side. I have never been comfortable seeing Liverpool deploy the 3-4-1-2 formation. I understand it was to capitalise on having both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in an advanced position and maybe to accommodate Mamadou Sakho in central defence.
But there is no natural balance with that formation. Maybe once Philippe Coutinho comes back into the starting 11, things might be different. His ability to link-up play, offer that guile and magic when needed might be the key in ensuring the formation clicks.
Victor Moses has been comfortable playing in the hole, and although his play vastly improved against Newcastle, his ability on the flanks is much better suited to Liverpool, which will give encouragement to return to a more traditional formation.
The trial and error in trying out the formation has led to erratic play by Liverpool. It also meant that they have struggled when they really didn’t have to. Results too could have been better as the draw with Newcastle and the loss to Southampton left a sour taste in the mouth of fans, and that was the price to pay for tinkering with the formation.
But the time for experimentation has to come to an end because the easy part of the schedule is close to running its course.
Today’s match against West Bromwich Albion might be another one, on paper, that Liverpool should win but the Baggies have not lost in their past five games.
Sturridge and Suarez should continue with what they do but too much is expected from them to lead the creating and scoring load for the team. Goals have to come from elsewhere against West Brom and more of the team need to contribute to the fluidity and chance creation for Liverpool to challenge for a top four position.
Maybe Liverpool will rue letting a draw and a loss creep into their results over the past few games. But it’s still a learning process for the team and I wonder just how much longer Liverpool can afford to roll the dice before the traditional powerhouses of the Premiership start to get up to steam.
Jagdev Singh Sidhu thinks Liverpool will beat The Baggies.
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