Brendan Rodgers seems to have two of his midfield three sorted, but who is going to make up the trio?
Ahead of the new season, Liverpool’s midfield seems to be taking shape, a three man midfield with Steven Gerrard and Lucas the players who pick themselves.
Throughout pre-season it would appear that Rodgers has decided that Allen will be his first choice. Though we didn’t see much of Allen in the final third last season, he seems to be working on the more offensive side of his game, by being the man who can arrive late into the penalty area and chip in with a few goals – with his goal against Olympiacos the sort of thing Rodgers envisages from Allen on a regular basis.
In the same game we saw Jordan Henderson perfect this role with his first action when introduced as a substitute for Allen, and in the second half of last season, Henderson demonstrated that he does have a decent ability in front of goal – twice scoring at Newcastle, persistence in his goal at Arsenal, decent strike against Norwich but most impressive of all was the composure he developed to take his chance against Aston Villa – where as Joe Allen has one Liverpool goal to his name against Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League.
Rodgers seems to be in a bit of a dilemma with Joe Allen – who he paid Swansea £15m for. Whilst Allen does have certain qualities which can flourish in this Liverpool side, he has struggled to fit in with both Lucas and Gerrard keen to pick up the ball from the back four, something which Allen likes to do.
Though Allen did have one notable impressive display from the bench against Tottenham at Anfield, as an effective extra man in the middle to calm what at that point was a frantic game, and kept things simple, allowing Liverpool to grasp of bit of control in the middle of the park, and was encouraged to advance as much as possible.
The problem is that Allen doesn’t seem to have the energy of Henderson. If Liverpool are to play a pressing game, someone like Henderson pressing for 90 minutes is an essential quality to have – though one can’t help but feel that he has been underused by Brendan Rodgers given that Liverpool seem to have more of a grip on the game with Henderson in the side pressing the opposition.
The passing ability of the former Sunderland man is more impressive than it gets credit for as he is a sharp passer of the ball, even if the odd one does go awry, a lot of his play can lead to scoring opportunities.
Henderson has proved he can put in a shift for Liverpool and contribute in front of goal and there is more to come from him – and it seems Liverpool to have more of a grip on the game in the middle of the park with his presence.
These are two potential exciting midfielders, I have had to go with one, I’d choose Henderson, though Rodgers has to be applauded by trying to add more to Joe Allen’s game.
Who would you pick to play with Steven Gerrard and Lucas in Liverpool’s midfield?
image: © kong niffe