As we inch closer and closer to the start of the new season, we take a look at how different teams would line up come the 17th of August. Liverpool Football Club seems to be a club on an upward curve and if last season was anything to go by, they are up for the challenge this time around and Brendan Rodgers’ well documented principles of passing will be worth watching as he looks to strengthen in different areas of the pitch. With new acquisitions like Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas bedding in seamlessly in the pre-season, we could be in for a cracker of a season on Merseyside as Liverpool prepare themselves for an assault on the Champions League places and maybe, just maybe, a shot at the title too. Here we analyze how the Reds could line up next season and with Luis Suarez close to moving elsewhere, we look at the different permutations and combinations of the Liverpool line-up. Please note that since Luis Suarez has stated his desire to leave and will be on his way out of the club sooner or later plus even if he stays he won’t be starting the season as he is currently in the middle of a domestic ban, we have just ignored the Uruguayan from the starting 11 and looked at the possibilities beyond the forward.
The first of the tactics that Rodgers would like to employ will probably need Daniel Sturridge to be at the peak of his powers. Sturridge’s finishing isn’t the most cultured but if he can put away at least some of the chances that his support cast in Aspas and Coutinho would provide, then we could see a glut of goals. The midfield isn’t all graft as Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard will look to orchestrate play from the center of the park. The right hand side looks ominous with the sprightly Raheem Sterling and the marauding Glen Johnson provides plenty of attacking outlets. But the attacking trio of Aspas, Coutinho and Sturridge will be the ones to watch as all of them will look to interchange places, which is a dangerous prospect. Aspas will in all probability look to trick his way into the box, as he doesn’t seem too keen at crossing balls and with Sturridge not a target man, Coutinho visionary passes will be slicing defenses apart, only qualm will be whether they could finish off all their chances, given Liverpool’s finishing travails over the past couple of seasons. Gerrard will surely be making those lungs-busting runs from midfield and his array of passing could be used as another outlet whenever Liverpool will look to counter attack. Lucas is the pivot here, as he would look to destroy opposition attacks and set his team off for another attack. The defense looks solid enough and Jose Enrique will need to be at his best as he tends to lose focus in the middle of games. A very attack-minded line-up in my opinion and the success of this formation may depend a lot on the finishing of the attackers.
The second setup sees the team line up in a more proactive 3-5-2 formation. With three center backs at the heart of the Liverpool rearguard, Rodgers would look to employ this formation to bring about a hint of unpredictability in tough games. With three burly center backs, Liverpool could attack with freedom, which could be the fillip they may need in tough games. Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique will play as wing-backs and given their propensity to attack more than defend, they would relish this setup. Lucas again holds the key here, as he would look to break opposition counters when the full backs are out of position. Steven Gerrard moves further forward with new signing Luis Alberto in an advanced midfield position and would look to cut apart defenses with the tricky Brazilian Coutinho further forward in support of the lone forward Aspas, things could get exciting at the top end of the pitch with all the four attackers having the requisite skills and composure on the ball to make things happen. A wingerless formation, but one which may prove to be Rodgers’ most potent weapon as this setup has got the defensive bedrock to rest upon and the attacking might of Gerrard, Aspas, Coutinho and Alberto.