Tactics: Should Rodgers revert to 4-3-3 as temporary solution?
Brendan Rodgers started with 4-3-3 formation at Liverpool, when he took over the managerial job at Anfield. His favoured midfield trio was Allen, Lucas and Steven Gerrard while he gave chances to youngster Suso and Sterling on either side of Luis Suarez upfront.
It was an encouraging move. No doubt. The problem with both Suso and Sterling was they were too young and raw and while the whole squad took time to adapt to his new ideologies, the results didn’t go in his way. Also, Suarez is not a typical no 9 though he is a great goal-scorer. He is much more than just a goal scorer – he brings lot more to the game like Sergio Aguero or Carlos Tevez.
In the second half of the season, Rodgers changed his formation to 4-2-3-1, where newcomers like Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge excelled in that system. Suarez often played in the no 10 role and though it was not his natural position but the Uruguayan was good enough to adapt to that role. No wonder, he is a world class talent.
But, it was not a long term solution. Probably, Rodgers has found the best system now to accommodate both his strikers. He deployed a 3-4-1-2 formation against Manchester United and although Liverpool lost that game, there are few positives to draw from the trip to Old Trafford.
Coutinho, the central creative player for the Reds, is now injured and neither Moses nor Iago Aspas are good enough to play the no 10 role. Probably Rodgers will try with Moses for couple of more games to see if it works or not, but in all probability the system will not function properly until the Brazilian returns.
In that case, Rodgers has two options with him. First, to play Luis Alberto in the no 10 role in the 3-4-1-2 formation. The Spaniard is a specialist in that area and should be able to perform the role better than Moses tactically.
Or else, try the 4-3-3 system again. Moses is at best a wide forward who can play both on the left and right side of the wings. Why not try a flexible trio of Suarez-Sturridge and Moses upfront ala the system used by Sir Alex Ferguson with Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez? Though in terms of man-to-man comparison, it is nothing but a butt of ridicule, but at least Rodgers can try the flexible system, where the three players will interchange the positions frequently posing difficulty for the defenders to man-mark.
Suarez during his time at Ajax has played on either side of the wings too, so, it won’t be a problem for him as also for Sturridge who played on the flanks for Andre Villas-Boas. Again, this is just another temporary system Rodgers can implement until Coutinho gets fit.