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#LFC – Brendan Rodgers shows tactical naivety

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That was the hardest 45 minutes I’ve ever had to stomach watching Liverpool at Old Trafford. If there’s one thing that United has shown this season, is a strong aversion to teams who get in their face. With a backline that featured Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, slow was what they were on paper, but they got plenty of favours from Brendan Rodger’s when he elected to start the match with a 5 man midfield that featured two anchoring midfielders in Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen.

Within the first 15 minutes it was increasingly apparent that something was wrong, Steven Gerrard was spending most of his time in Liverpool’s half, the trio of Downing, Suarez and Sterling were desperately needing a central attacking pivot to support them from midfield, but Steven Gerrard was spending more time in Liverpools third supporting Joe Allen, who was apparently feeling the nerves of playing at Old Trafford. Between Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva, the more secure and experienced has to be the Brazilian. Joe Allens amazing passing rate of 87% isnt even amazing when you consider that most of that passing is lateral and backwards. And when he goes to challenge the ball he’s clumsy and unsure. 

What Liverpool lacked was a central thrust from midfield that acted as a focal point for their buildups Joe Allen was a poor fitImage 

Half his challenges gave up fouls in dangerous areas of the pitch and this is where Lucas Leiva’s experience would have helped. Rodger’s decision to take Lucas off and introduce Dean Sturridge was a poor one. The idea of dropping Suarez into a midfield pivot role was probably correct but he probably did that only because he wanted to make sure that Liverpool could still pass the ball around in midfield. Liverpool certainly showed more endeavour in the second half, but unless Rodger’s gets his tactical mix right, I don’t see him lasting more than a season at Liverpool. 

Suarez on the right flank, Downing on the left and Sturridge through the middle would have given United more problems last night provided Gerrard had a more attacking role in front. The challenge for Liverpool moving forward appears in getting the partnership between Joe Allen and Lucas clicking. Liverpool’s defensive anchor has to be Lucas who can do more of the slogging and Joe Allen in support to string the passes would be useful provided his range of passing also includes the occasional forward pass. And as long as that fails to happen, Steven Gerrards influence in the final third will be handicapped as he drops deeper to support the misfiring midfield duo.

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Rodger’s needs to work some quick Irish magic and get his head on straight, he has got some good ideas when it comes to man management, but when it comes to playing against the top 7 clubs in the Barclay’s Premier League, he is beginning to show an alarming lack of tactical imagination, and is probably the reason why Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t care about Liverpool’s league position.

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments on #LFC – Brendan Rodgers shows tactical naivety

  1. nice article. I like rogers but im not sure he is the right guy for the job. Where did you find those heat maps from?

  2. I disagree with your evaluation that taking Lucas off for Sturridge was a mistake. He solved the exact problem you mentioned by doing this. You say ” the trio of Downing, Suarez and Sterling were desperately needing a central attacking pivot to support them from midfield”. That’s exactly what Rodgers solved by playing Sturridge as the central striker, Suarez dropped into the hole allowing him to run at Utd’s defence and find his own space as well as acting as a pivot. Gerrard and Allen then had Suarez as the attacking force in midfield as he’s much less likely to track back than the midfield trio of Gerrard, Lucas and Allen. If you ask me it was the midfield trio that let Liverpool down that day, between them they couldn’t decide which one goes forwards and who sits back. Suarez in that position solved the problem.

    • Whenever Liverpool have played Lucas, Allen and Gerrard together, they’ve struggled…at least we agree on one thing on the day itself it was the midfield that let Liverpool down against Manchester United

      • True about the Lucas, Allen and Gerrard combination. Many people don’t rate him, but it looks like when Henderson replaces either Lucas or Allen we create more. I think the problem is Lucas and Allen provide the same role. They both link play and drop deep, leaving only Gerrard to advance. If Lucas and Allen both drop deep it leaves Gerrard with very few forward passing options. Henderson gives us another advanced player capable of threading an accurate through ball.

      • By my reckoning Lucas in the middle anchoring the defense with Gerrard and any other AMC is the way to go. Suarez brings so much fluidity to their attacks that it allows Sturridge to play centrally without having to worry about dropping deep to support. I believe Joe Allen is over-rated

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