IF we take a look at the teams that implement the tactical philosophy Liverpool’s new manager Brendan Rodgers has been talking about implementing in Liverpool FC, we will see immediately a very strong group of midfielders who are technically gifted, talented players who are able to play together as a cohesive unit.
Rodgers’ style of football, like the tiki-taka style of football employed by the all conquering Barcelona and the Spanish national team, calls into play 3 midfielders surrounded by a circle of 7 players.
The 3 midfielders in the middle move about the field completing the triangles to enhance the passing accuracy, and help the rest of the players to get and keep the ball, circulate it and move it forward.
In Barcelona, the midfield combination of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets keep the passing machine well oiled, moving from end to end, helping relieve pressure from the rest of the players.
When he was the manager of Swansea, Brendan instilled the same sort of work rate among their midfield, which was crucial in making Swansea one of the standout teams of the last season. Joe Allen, who Brendan now wants to bring over to Liverpool had a passing success rate of 91.2% last season, a staggering amount for a midfielder from a team which had just been promoted.
After taking over reigns as the manager of Liverpool, Rodgers will have immediately started to chalk out his plans on the team he wants to play. Of our current crop of midfielders – and we do have quite a few – there are some who should excel at the kind of style the team will be playing with.
The first player that springs to mind is Lucas Leiva. It was very evident that without him in the squad, Liverpool were that much poorer in the second half of the last season. He is one of those rare gifted holding midfielders who are able to have an excellent understanding of the game, and be at the part of the field where the play is going to be. He also has a great eye for passes to relieve the pressure from an area, and is able to hold on to and circulate the ball well.
Our very own captain fantastic, Steven Gerrard, should thrive under this style, playing from end to end helping to create opportunities while also helping alleviate some of the pressure from the defenders when the situation calls for it.
Another good choice for one of the midfield roles, although he has, in my opinion, never been given a proper chance in this club, is Alberto Aquilani. He is a very gifted footballer, and with a bit of encouragement, should be able to play at his best for Liverpool. The short passing game that Rodgers will want from his team is also something Aquilani should excel at, and I think he should get a chance this year rather than being shipped off to Italy once again.
Rodgers is also planning to bring in reinforcements for the midfield. We have already been linked with Joe Allen & Clint Dempsey, both of whom would make excellent additions to the team. Whoever is brought in, and whoever Rodgers chooses to play in the midfield of Liverpool this season, will, I think, be the most important players in the team, and be players to look out for in the upcoming season.