Warning : Long Post Ahead
While that may be a bit of a cheesy play on our full back’s name, one thing it isn’t is being wrong about his performance against Tranmere. I know it’s only the first friendly and it’s hardly United at Old Trafford, but it’s still a competitive game with an eye towards winning a place in a side primed for at the least a run at the Premiership title, which I would consider to be the most difficult trophy in just about the entire European football scene, perhaps even more so than the Champions League.
With that in mind and tucked safely away so as to get back to happenings on the pitch, I was very impressed with Phiiip Degen and what he brought to the table after our brief encounter with him. I saw pace, an eye for a pass and finding spaces to get himself into. Did I mention pace? There were at least a few times there he was leading the charge right down the middle of the field. When was the last time you saw that from Finnan or Arbeloa? I’m sorry to say, but you most likely won’t find anything like that from Jamie Carragher either. It does, however resemble what you may see this season from the likes of Bosingwa and such in our matches against the “Big Four”. It brings an option we have not seen at Liverpool in some time, the ability to attack from another direction always has to be a welcome addition.
Now as I’ve posted before, and Ron commented on again earlier, I seriously see us playing 3 cb’s at many times throughout this season. The only drawback to such attacking fullbacks is the gaping holes they leave behind themselves. Generally this has to be balanced out by the opposite fullback or perhaps someone anchoring in the midfield. But don’t we already have perhaps the most fearsome anchor in Mascherano? Between him, the pace and strength of Skrtel/Agger, and the positioning and reading of Carra/Hyppia, I think we have perhaps the best 4 man defense you will find on any side in the world. Knowing you have such a gauntlet at the back (not to even mention Reina) I think you’ll agree with me that our two fullbacks will be given the freedom to push up wherever possible. Also, you will find us with 1-2 fewer defenders and just as good if not better cover than we have already had.
This of course is not to say there won’t be good defense out of those two players as well. They are both physically imposing and possessing of pace, and as always we will be pressing from the front. Our ability to keep teams off the ball is truly amazing at times, adding players that are talented and technical enough to hold onto it themselves will only enhance this ability. Even with the squad we currently have I think we will be much more fearsome, and with two new signings it can only improve.
Speaking very quickly about signings, the more I have thought about it and the more of him I have watched, I am fully behind Rafa adding Robbie Keane. He has brilliant positioning and an eye for goal that would do brilliantly coming in from the side or from behind of Torres’s pace and runs at the opposing defense. Then Gerrard trailling the play? whew….
Anyhow, I know it’s only one friendly, but on this sunny day in July, I have thoughts of the league firmly in mind. May you enjoy many such moments as these throughout the year.