Date: 14th July 2008 at 8:18am
Written by:

I have been reading some reports about our game against Tranmere over the weekend which I unfortunately was not able to watch. I gather that Rafa tried out a 3-2-3-1-1 formation. I found this to be rather interesting. Ben had mentioned before the possibilty of Rafa adopting a similar formation, the main focus on this formation is playing with 3 central defenders. With 3 central defenders then you have two attack minded wingbacks who can double up as wingers, thus the need of not having two out and out wingers in the team. Then you have 3 men across central midfield. Then upfront you have a striker and a man just playing behind him or if need be have two men up front which will make the formation 3-2-3-2.

Based on this, you can see why Rafa was not too keen to go get, out and out wingers and rather get attack minded full backs. I gather Degen had a decent outing over the weekend and seems like he can do the job as a wing back down the right. There was no opportunity to see Dossena play in that role down the left. I think even Aurelio would do a decent job in that role as I have never been too happy with Aurelio’s defensive abilities but he looks lethal going forward and can whip in some telling crosses.

The back 3 would probably be one of the best defences in Europe with Carragher, Agger and Skrtel. I do not see these guys conceding many goals if they play well together. The important thing would be for them to have a great understanding with each other. They have to know when to push forward, who should stay back, who should take which man etc. That would take a lot of hard work and practice but they are three great players who should have no problem doing the job. If either of them gets injured there is Hyypia to call upon.

The 3 men in midfield would ideally be Mascherano, Gerrard and hopefully Barry. If not Barry then Alonso. Either way, yet again, probably the best midfield trio in England if not Europe. Then the 2 men upfront, obviously Torres is the main man and it is just a question of who plays behind him. The options are plenty and I think that is why Rafa is keen on Robbie Keane because Keane would be perfect to play just behind Torres in this formation. Babel would also do well in this position and not forgetting Kuyt.

Rafa has many options at his disposal and I am sure he will use this 3 centre back formation during the course of the season. It may not be his first choice formation; he may decide that going with just the two centre backs is better.