Let’s face it, Javier Mascherano is a great player. There’s no doubt he is the best in his position and a match winner on his day. We are grateful for his contribution, so it will be sad to see him leave Liverpool. We won’t be able to replace him, but should we be trying to anyway?
With Mascherano leaving, we will lose a destructive midfield monster, but with change comes opportunity. Let’s take this opportunity. They say that the best form of defence is attack. How often are team’s caught defending a lead? When you start thinking defensively you start thinking negatively.
Rafa started 3 of our 4 central midfielders in 63% of league games last year, and had all 4 on the pitch on more than one occasion! Little wonder then, that injuries and suspensions took their toll. Pouring over the stats from last year, if Mascherano had been unavailable all season, then Jay Spearing (as fourth option) would have been required to start in midfield on only 3 occasions, early in the season when both Aquilani, and Gerrard were recovering from injury. In preseason Jay has impressed Hodgson and Roy told Liverpoolfc.tv:
“Spearing in particular has done well over the last two games and definitely deserves to be a part of our first-team squad.”
So trust him to fill the fourth midfield spot and also allow him to develop in the cup competitions. We only have 38 important league games to think about this season. Play Gerrard and either Aquilani or Lucas centrally. We won’t miss Gerrard playing as a second striker, as Joe Cole is the perfect replacement. Leave the forwards to be responsible for their work, but give them support by adding another quality striker and left sided player. If Roy is concerned about depth then bring in an experienced player for free, who is versatile and would be happy to be a bit part player, like Paul Scharner.
Rafa’s defensive stance made watching Liverpool painful at times last season, so why would we go back to those tactics? Don’t spend the money from monster’s sale to clutter up midfield, even if Scott Parker and Ever Banega are quality players. The last great player to play on the left for Liverpool was John Barnes! So let’s use the money to buy some quality, and Attack, Attack, Attack!
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