These are the harsh words from former Liverpool midfielder Jimmy Case. Speaking on BBC Merseyside Radio, Case pointed out that Liverpool’s left back Aly Cissokho is not good enough to be playing as a wing back in the 3-5-2 formation that Brendan Rodgers is using. Case said:
Our problems in the defeat to Arsenal were sparked in the wing-back positions, and the more I see Aly Cissoko operate there the less I’m happy with it. I wouldn’t play him there again. I didn’t think he was comfortable there against West Brom despite the good result and even less so against Arsenal. His control isn’t there or his first touch, he can’t get past a player from a standing position and he doesn’t have the intelligence to follow the fluency of play. These are things so crucial to playing in that position.
I have no problem with the system but the wing-backs can either make or break the effectiveness of it, they have to be able to beat full-backs, be good at getting forward and equipped at getting crosses in. It’s important to take people on, force them back and ask questions in their half of the pitch. You sometimes have a bit more freedom as a wing-back but your control, movement and intelligence has to be immaculate on the move, it’s no good getting into good positions in the final third and then putting a cross straight into the arms of the keeper.
That is a pretty brutal assessment of Cissokho. Aly arrived on loan from Valencia just before the transfer deadline as Liverpool needed cover for Jose Enrique at left back. Now with Enrique out injured, Cissokho has been called in to play and in all fairness has not looked too great. He does the basics well of defending but going forward he is very much one dimensional and can not use his right foot at all.
If you compare him to Enrique, you can see that Enrique is much more comfortable going forward. Cissokho seems to be better suited in a 4-4-2 formation where he is playing at a left back and not required to go forward that much.
If you look at the video below of Cissokho’s play at Valencia you can see that he does offer an attacking option down the left but we have not seen much of that at Liverpool yet.
Maybe Cissokho’s needs a bit more time to settle in at Liverpool and probably the system Rodgers is playing him in is not suited for him at all. Too much emphasis is put on the wing backs in the 3-5-2 formation and clearly it does not seem to be working well for Cissokho. When Enrique is fit again, I expect him to come straight back into the side for Aly. On the other hand, Rodgers may decide to revert back to a back four and maybe then we can see the best of Cissokho.