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What should Liverpool’s starting 11 be? (The Midfield)

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Liverpool’s midfield has certainly been bolstered as of late following the arrivals of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adams and most recent signing Stewart Downing. They are all players with great attributes. Charlie Adam’s passing range is inventive at best and Downing’s ability to whip a ball in with pinpoint accuracy is as frightening as looking at your mother-in-law’s hairy legs. Jordan Henderson is most definitely a complete midfielder, though still learning his trade; will be considered Stevie Gerrard’s future replacement.

But the arrival of Adam and Henderson has further complicated the squad which is packed to the rafters with central Midfielders. Both players have admitted themselves that their preference is to operate in the middle of the park and this is likely to cause great tension within the current ranks because for one Liverpool are absolutely loaded with central midfielders.

Adams and Henderson will be vying for position against the likes of Alberto Aquilani, Raul Meireles, both are considered seasoned internationals for Portugal and Italy respectively. One must not forget to mention the oft maligned Lucas Leiva and Jay Spearing who did so well together last year towards the end of the season.

Bearing in mind that Steven Gerrard is guaranteed one of the two slots, the second one or even possibly the third depending on the tactics that Kenny adopts will be hotly contested. In my personal opinion the second slot should be given to Raul Meireles because of his versatility and ability in the final third. Due to Steven Gerrard’s age and his susceptibility to injury, he won’t be expected to get up and down the park like he used to.

He could acclimate himself to the holding role much in the form of the “ginger nut” Paul Scholes did for Man United, allowing himself to dictate matches, whilst utilising his tackling abilities to halt wave after wave of attacks from the opposition. This in turn will allow Meireles who himself can spray passes, to ghost his way into the final third and cause damage.

One of the most frustrating problems Liverpool have found under the former stewardship of Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez was the lack of width and creativity, both key components in a style of football associated with the “Liverpool way” of playing. The style of the past decade has been personified by boring robotic midfielders like Igor Biscan and Vladimir Smicer and this is something that has needed to change greatly.

It is certainly an issue that has needed to be addressed and has been to a certain extent with the acquisition of Stewart Downing. It is thought that he’ll most certainly hold down a starting berth, providing ammunition for the likes of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. Another great benefit he has is the ability to play on the right flank, take players down the touch line and cross the ball in with his right peg.

The final slot of midfield that will also have many Liverpool fans pondering is the right wing. Whilst I consider Dirk Kuyt to have been a square peg trying to fill a round hole (many will disagree) he will be a first choice for many due to his ability to nick vital goals and his workhorse mentality. But will this be enough to win games against lesser teams? The Likes of Swansea and QPR who will come to fortress Anfield and provide a stern barricade likened to the outward layers of a pesky porker? Teams that will need to be unlocked with a moment of genius? My answer is no and while Maxi can provide similar attributes on that side, my personal choice would be a fully fit Joe Cole.

Joe Cole can operate across the midfield, despite playing a free role behind the striker being his preferred choice, not finding a player of his quality a position in the team would be lamentable. Despite his lack of pace, his dribbling ability will stand him in good stead as will his crosses. His gift to unlock defences with incisive through balls will be pivotal in turning home draws into home wins.

So for me my midfield four will consist of Joe Cole on the right wing, Steven Gerrard in the holding role, and Raul Meireles in a slightly more advanced central position with Stewart Downing on the left. Of course the Anfield faithful will be aghast at my decision to leave out Dirk Kuyt, not to mention new signings Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adams. What would your Midfield four or five be?

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A Liverpool fan whose a realist. Born in Birmingham

Got a degree in Politics and aspire to be a sports journalist however.

I love Cheese Toast and Donnor Kebabs amongst playing footy and weightlifting. Things that annoy me? Women who talk during football, Manchester United fans and the perm hairstyle.

26 comments

  • Kopstick says:

    My midfield would be Gerrard in the holding role, Adam playing to the left of him (they will interchange during the game), Aquilani in the attacking midfield role, and Downing on the right (swapping with Adam during the game as well).

    So…
    Gerrard
    Downing Adam
    Aquilani
    Suarez Carroll

    • Haider Ali says:

      adams and gerrard could work out, bth can get up and down the pitch but then there’s no room for aquilani. playing three central midfielders would make the team far too narrow.

      • Kopstick says:

        I have to disagree. Gerrard needs to play a defensive role, with Adam playing off him and on the left. With Downing on the right and Suarez roaming all over the pitch and cutting in from the left wing, the central midfield will be a position of huge importance for providing the creative guile and trickery for Suarez and Carroll to flourish. Gerrard, Aquilani and Suarez would make for some fantastic viewing, and I hope Aquilani stays this season to provide as John Henry says “the missing link”.

        • Haider Ali says:

          I do agree, i think aquilani is the missing link. his passes have been alonso-esque at best.

  • saurabh debnath says:

    i think liverpool would play in many different formations against different teams. that is the reason why king kenny has brought in players of supreme versatality.
    also i dont think any of the midfielders are guaranteed a start. gerrard when fit would start most games obviously. i think in the big matches, it would be lucas partnering him n against weaker oppositions, its more likely that Adam or meireless would start. henderson would be a back up for gerrard. aquilani would be sold most probably.
    kenny would most definatively change formations within the match and make it unpredictable for oppositions to read liverpools strategy. pass and move as well as complete football are back!!

    • Haider Ali says:

      but are they really p[layers of extreme versatility? henderson and adams are central midfielders trough and though, they aint got the pace to be out and out wingers. downing can pay on both wings, but personally i think he;s an a decent premier league standard, not someone who is world class or has the potential to be like juan mata forinstance. I;d have brought charles Zoggy instead.

  • BigRed says:

    YAWN…lets just wait and see shall we.

  • scotty says:

    mine would be gerrard and adam sitting deep but gerrard going forward now and again while adam holds then henderson behind carroll with suarez and downing on the wings but switching sides throughout the match

    • Haider Ali says:

      Henderson not a natural winger though and I doubt he’ll be starting. Plus Adams aint a holding player, he likes to get forward too.

  • sam says:

    2,1 2,1. holding roles for lucas and gerrard. then miereles infront of them. suarez and downing quite wide and then carrol in middle.
    gerrard lucas
    miereles
    downing suarez
    carrol

    • Haider Ali says:

      with the exception of lucas I wouldn’t mind this formation. Id play gerrard in the lucas role, as stated before he a great tackler, can spray the ball about and can halt attacks. There also wont be a great emphasis on him having to get up and down the pitch making himself more prone to injury. this free’s up the second central midfield slot for osmeone like meireles who similar to lampard can ghost into the final third and nick goals. he’s also got a lethal shot and can keep the team ticking with short give and go’s as demonstrated last year.

  • Akash@Superstarfc says:

    .
    .
    FORMATION: 3-1-3-3 Attacking

    ………………Reina…………..
    .
    …..Carragher….Skrtel….Agger….
    .
    …………….Meireles………….
    .
    ….Gerrard…..Aquilani….Adam…..
    .
    ….Kuyt……..Carroll….Suarez….

  • steve mcauley says:

    …….reina…….
    kelly…carra….agger
    johnson..lucas..adam..downing
    stevie
    suarez…carroll

    • Haider Ali says:

      i dont know why lucas would ever be in there, im sorry to say. he has improved, but aquilani, cadams and even henderson in opinion offer more in that role.

      • steve mcauley says:

        i DO see henderson backing up lucas for a period and hopefully REPLACING him long-term but i really don’t see the other two occupying the holding midfield role!

        • Haider Ali says:

          The way I see it is the midfield has to offer goals and assists. Even Scholes in the holding role managed to bag a few goals and assists from the holding role. Lucas doesn’t offer any of that. I think he got one assist last year in the premier league, that’s not good enough for me. Like I said he has come through a tumultuous period and had a solid season. but if we;re going to win the league we need more. Adams loves a tackle and he can play the alonso role with his aboity to spray the ball about. gerrard i prefer their, with meireles or aquilani more adavnced.

  • Joe says:

    My formation would be a 4-3-3
    Reina
    johnson-carra-skrtel-kelly
    gerrard-lucas-meireles
    downing- -Suarez
    Carroll

    I think also think Adam can switch with lucas when necessary, and downing can alternate with kuyt

  • Joe says:

    I dont necessarily agree with that. While Downing will provide much needed wide play and crossing, Kuyt is a million times more reliable, and with Kuyt you’ll know you’ll get 110 percent every match, plus Kuyt is also a natural striker so he always possesses a goal threat. Same with Adams and Lucas, Adams tends to control the tempo of the game more and can be a potential game winner while Lucas breaks up plays and provides very solid defense. Each player provides a different asset.

    • Haider Ali says:

      but my argument is with kuyt, as hardworking as he is, against the lesser teams has he been affective? when teams park the bus and we have to unlock defences, can kuyt skip past a few players and cause havoc? joe cole’s got that bit of flair, that something different, and he works hard too, unfortunately he been injured. i’d pick him over kuyt. id use kuyt as a back up striker.

  • Joe Nammin says:

    Kenny’s tactics will change from game to game I think we all know that. Stevie will be out until September and so he wont be in there the first few games.

    Projected lineup vs Sunderland(8/13):

    Reina
    Kelly, Carra, Agger, Flanagan(or new signing)

    Lucas
    Adam

    Suarez Aqua Downing
    Carroll

    Subs: Doni, Kuyt, Henderson, Shelvey, Kyrgiakos, Miereles, Aurelio

    Gerrard would fill in for Adam when he’s fit. If Aquilani stays (I pray he does), he should start since he is our best short range passer. His creativity and vision will allow him to pick apart defenders and send players like Downing and Suarez in on goal.

    I also wouldn’t be disappointed to see Shelvey get more playing time. He’s a youngster with loads of talent. Dalglish seems to fancy him too.

    • Haider Ali says:

      if it was 4-2-3-1 i would go reina, glen- carra, agger, enrique(i heard he is on his way) holding two would be meirles and adam and suarez aqua and downing with carrol up top. that way you got more attacking threat cos of meriles and adam passing range is second to none. he can play holding role, cos the lad loves to tackle.

  • Adam Burnett says:

    i think we should use a 4-2-4 formation

    reina
    johnson–carra—agger–enrique
    miereles–adam
    Downing–suarez–carroll-bellamy

    johnson can swap with kelly, stevie (when back) can swap with either midfielder,agger can swap with coates and belamy can swap with maxi, henderson or kuyt

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