Now that Charlie Adam has all but completed his protracted move to Liverpool, manager Kenny Dalglish has provided himself with a number of possibilities when it comes to picking his starting eleven for the 2011/2012 Premier League opener against Sunderland in just over five weeks time.
It would be fair to say that the central midfield position is well stocked at Anfield with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles, Lucas, Jordan Henderson, Jay Spearing, Alberto Aquilani, Christian Poulsen, Jonjo Shelvey and now Charlie Adam all able to play there.
Whilst it is expected that not all nine of those players will still be at Anfield come the start of the season, King Kenny has a major decision on his hands when it comes to picking a midfield four or even five.
It is likely that Dalglish is looking to move on both Aquilani and Poulsen and that he would also like to send Shelvey out on loan so that the midfielder can gain some valuable experience. After coming on leaps and bounds last season Kenny will almost certainly be looking to further the Liverpool career of Jay Spearing rather than ending it. There has been talk of an impending exit for Raul Meireles but, for me, the Portuguese midfielder should stay as he has a lot to offer whether it be from the start or off the bench.
Steven Gerrard, when fit, starts. That has been the situation for over ten years now. So it is a case of Gerrard plus one in the centre of midfield. Whether it be 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 or even 4-5-1 there is going to be a central midfield partner to go alongside the skipper. It is almost certainly one out of Lucas, Adam or Meireles.
Having a few options to choose from can only be seen as a positive aspect to the Liverpool squad. If you closely analyse Manchester United’s success in the Premier League over the past few years it is because they haven’t necessarily always had a great first eleven but they have always had a great squad. Their squad was able to accommodate injuries, suspensions or even loss of form. It’s fair to say, Liverpool’s hasn’t.
Either 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 are the likely candidates for the chosen formation come August 13th. However, who starts remains to be seen. For me, Lucas and Adam will be rotated throughout and if Gerrard is injured or in need of a rest they will both play. Meireles and Spearing will provide back-up and will ultimately be used as squad players.
There is faith in Kenny. Faith that he knows who to sign and faith that he knows that team to pick when it comes to matches. If Kenny gets a few important decisions right then I can see the 2011/2012 season being a promising one for the Reds in their challenge to get back to the forefront of English football.
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