Liverpool fans have had mixed reaction to Brendan Rodgers’ new formation of 3-4-1-2 or as some like to call it 3-5-2. Rodgers has deployed this formation in the last two games against Manchester United and Sunderland and it has resulted in us “playing well but losing” against United and then winning against Sunderland.
After the Sunderland game, Rodgers shed some light as too why Liverpool are playing with this formation of having three centre backs and two strikers. “We’ve changed the structure of our team a bit to allow us to pass it better – we’ve still got a lot of work to do – but also to fit in with the type of players that we have,” said Rodgers.
“They (Suarez and Sturridge) have worked a lot in training – it’s not just something that has been dropped in. We looked at 3-4-1-2 towards the end of last season.
“We did some work on it, looking at Luis coming back, and they have struck up a very good partnership.”
So from what Rodgers has said, firstly, we have shifted to 3-4-1-2 so that the team can pass better. Secondly, based on the players we currently have available to play the 3-4-1-2 system suites them best and finally, the formation is able to accommodate both Suarez and Sturridge.
In having the three centre backs we certainly have a much more solid backline. We have a vast array of quality centre back in the squad and they can be chopped and changed if need be, so for the centre backs at Liverpool, this formation suites then well as they are able to get in more game time. If you look across the league, most teams play with a lone striker upfront, in having three men at the back for us, we should be able to deal with one attacking man and counter the oppositions threat from the wings by using our two wing backs.
This system for Liverpool relies heavily on the two wing backs, currently Enrique and Henderson, to provide the attacking width for the side and to track back to defend. Both are great athletes and able to run up and down the touchlines for 90 minutes but they both lack quality when it comes to attacking and crossing the ball. Henderson will not feature in this position for long as Glen Johnson will return and fill in down the right which would be a great move. We are stuck with Enrique down the left in this formation until at least January if we can bring in a proper left wing back. We do have Aly Cissokho now but he too is more defensive minded and would not flourish as a left wing back.
From an attacking point of view with the 3-4-1-2 system, it is clear to see why Rodgers wants to use this as it allows both Sturridge and Suarez to flourish as we saw against Sunderland. It may be early days but the signs are there that a partnership of these two could drive Liverpool to a Top 4 finish. If Liverpool revert to the 4-3-3 formation, the Suarez and Sturridge partnership could still work with Suarez being pulled out to the left but he seems much more comfortable operating down the middle and given license to roam upfront with Sturridge.
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