Date: 7th July 2012 at 1:00pm
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LIVERPOOL will kick off the season under Brendan Rodgers away at West Brom, but before any football is played, Rodgers will have to sort out his best XI and the formation to suit ‘Tiki-Taka’. Rodgers’ ‘Tiki Taka’ style of play will no doubt make Liverpool a much more entertaining team to watch, and will probably see the Reds move from the 4-4-2 to a more fluid formation like a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3.

Personally, I think that the 4-2-3-1 formation is the way forward for Liverpool Football Club.

While fans (including me) have gotten excited about new boss Brendan Rodgers’ attack-minded ‘tiki-taka’ approach, he has told that, “It doesn’t matter if it’s Tiki-Taka football or possession football – the supporters and all of us want winning football. That’s what the philosophy will be about.”

Those words can only be great words to hear from the young manager. Rodgers has a big task on hand, and making Anfield the fortress it once was is a necessity. The 4-2-3-1 can be the way out in achieving that. The Reds drew too many games at home last season and need to rectify their home form.

Before anyone start jumping on the bandwagon and arguing that 4-2-3-1 is a defensive strategy and cannot be used to turn home draws into wins, I would like to say that it depends on the coach. The Netherlands or Germany never play defensive, but they still use the 4-2-3-1 for yielding success and it has worked wonders for them. I believe that Rodgers is the perfect coach to employ the 4-2-3-1. It is just that he will need time to adjust to it and he has the assurance from the owners that he will be given time to turn things around.

Liverpool haven’t added any names to the team list apart from the returning Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani. It will be interesting to see who joins Liverpool during the summer transfer window. However before that happens, let’s take a look at the starting line-up with 4-2-3-1 formation using current players at Rodgers’ disposal.

Pepe REINA (GK) – Jose (Pepe) Reina may not get any games for Spain, but he is a quality goalkeeper that has served Liverpool well over the years. The 29-year-old has the sort of experience that Rodgers will need as he settles into life as Liverpool manager. There’s not much to say here. Simply put, Reina is one of the best keepers in the league and Liverpool’s no. 1 by a country mile. An obvious choice for anyone.

Glen JOHNSON (RB) – Great performances late in the season and particularly for England at Euro 2012 have cemented Johnson’s place as my no. 1 choice at right back. Glen Johnson would not be everyone’s choice to go to Euro 2012 with England, but he proved to be one of the better players in the England team. The pace that he has going forward will be a real asset to Liverpool next season.

JOSE ENRIQUE (LB) – I’m sure most Liverpool fans would agree that the decision to sign Enrique from Newcastle United last summer was a very good move. Jose will continue to do a solid job both from an attacking and a defensive mode in the 2012-13 season. Though Enrique endured a poor end to the season, his first year with the team must be considered a success. Strong, quick and determined, Enrique is the best choice – and the only experienced choice – for the left-back job.

Daniel AGGER (CB) – Danish international defender Daniel Agger has proven to be a solid Premier League defender, and at 27, he has experience without being too old. A great season in Premier League and even better performance at Euro 2012 campaign guarantees that it would hardly be a surprise to see Agger be a key part of Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side.

Martin SKRTEL (CB) – Martin Skrtel is another 27-year-old that Rodgers will want to make full use of in his Liverpool side. He has an imposing frame that makes him strong in the air and should form a very strong partnership with Agger. It is said that strong defense is key to many successful teams.

LUCAS Leiva (CDM) – Lucas Leiva defied all critics from the media and fans alike and has emerged as one of Liverpool’s best midfielders. Coming back from a season-long injury, expect Lucas to be fired up and to start from opening day. His determination and bulldog attitude will be key in providing cover for the defence and in starting attacks.

Steven GERRARD (CDM) – Steven Gerrard is getting on, but his performances for club and country leave nothing to be desired. He stood out for England and will continue to do so for Liverpool, spraying passes around and making late darts into the area. He had a great tournament for England at Euro 2012, where he was deployed as holding central midfielder. Playing as a deep lying midfielder allows him to control games without too much pressure to attack.

Stewart DOWNING (RW) – Until Liverpool sign a creative midfielder, I think Downing will continue to occupy this spot. Last season was nothing less than a disappointment for Downing, failing to get a goal or an assist in the league. However, it’s a new season under a new manager and Downing has the pace to be a great winger as he has shown in the past. Signing a new creative midfielder would help Liverpool, however it seems certain that Brendan Rodgers would want to get the best out of this £20 million signing before he does that.

MAXI Rodriguez (LW) – The Argentine player may not be in Liverpool’s starting line-up every week if Rodgers adds to the squad in this area. But he will still be a very important player for Liverpool and could play plenty of Premier League football. Dirk Kuyt’s departure also increases his chances of playing. He has a knack of getting those crucial goals and has hardly disappointed when he got his chances.

Luis SUAREZ (CAM) – Suarez, for all his antics, remains one of Liverpool’s best players. He provides flair and unpredictability and should be given the ball more often than not in dangerous areas. By playing him in the CAM spot, he can link up with everyone and become the hub of the team. He had his problems while leading the attacking line last season but with Carroll in front of him, he can create more problems to the opposition defense than what he did last season.

Andy CARROLL (ST) – We all know that Andy Carroll didn’t have the best of seasons with Liverpool last year, and he can probably consider himself lucky to have made England’s Euro 2012 squad. But he put in some decent performances for England. The 2012-13 season will give him an opportunity to start again with a clean slate and prove he is still a quality Premier League striker.

Thanks a lot for reading. You can also find me on Twitter @LEONGUI7E

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