'I believe our best midfield doesn't include Gerrard'

Steven Gerrard Celebrates

Here's something sent in by Liverpool fan Joe Thomas.

'Like many Liverpool fans, I find it incredibly hard to work out our best team. For instance, the 3-5-2 formation allows us to accommodate all our players, but I think the games against Newcastle and Arsenal highlighted the formation shortcomings - namely the lack of width and vulnerability of being overrun out wide This formation also lends itself to some pretty slow build up play.

I believe, however, that the best formation is a 4-3-3, with attacking fullbacks and utilising at least one introverted 'false winger' - in my view, Coutinho's best role at the present.

I also feel that Liverpool's best midfield doesn't contain Gerrard, as from a tactical point of view we need more dynamic, fluid and athletic midfielders. Gerrard doesn't have the mobility for this anymore, and has a tendency towards playing long balls, which doesn't lend itself to ball retention. Gerrard's lack of mobility also means that he doesn't have the ability to press the opposition like our current trio of Lucas, Allen and Hendo can.

Then there's Sterling. He's young, so I wouldn't yet consider him an automatic starter as his form does fluctuate. He has such pace, however, and is a game-changer, so he has to be around the Liverpool team.

Sturridge and Suarez are two of the best strikers in the Premier League. But as I believe a three man midfield is vital, two up top is not an ideal scenario. As much as he doesn't want to play there, however, I think Sturridge should play right wing. His pace and finishing mean he's got the natural assets to cut in and shoot, with an overlapping Johnson to provide the width. Sturridge could also have the freedom to venture into the box. Equally, if Liverpool wanted to play him up top, I'd slot Suarez in behind. 

Defensively, Glen and Jose are 100% our best senior fullbacks at present (props to big Jonny Flans though - the Scouse Cafu). CB is a dilemma. Agger is a club hero, but has been at fault for so much recently - Southampton, Everton and Norwich to name but a few. He's Liverpool's best ballplayer, but on current form Sakho takes the LCB slot. I'm not keen on Skrtel, whose style of play epitomises 'thug life', and he just doesn't understand the concept of ball retention and short, neat passing. He's done well this year, it can't be denied, but I think Kolo probably has to be in there for me - assured and experienced and still with a lot to offer to the team.

In summary: 4-3-3

Mignolet, Glen-Kolo-Sakho-Jose Lucas CDM, Allen as a playmaker, Hendo at Number ten, Sturridge-Suarez-Coutinho up top; Coutinho as a false winger and Sturridge playing as an introverted one, starting wider than Coutinho.

Or 4-2-3-1:

Mignolet, Glen-Kolo-Sakho-Jose Lucas Allen as holding players, setting play. Hendo and Coutinho as false wingers, Coutinho introverted, Suarez in the hole and Suarez up top. If Liverpool wanted to play with fast build up play in a counter-attacking fashion then Gerrard should play ahead of Allen due to his greater passing range.

This all of course is based on Liverpool implementing tiki-taka style, pressing, high-lined 'death by football' as we have done quite noticeably in the past two performances (when Allen has come in for Stevie).

What do you think ? Is the Liverpool midfield better off without  Stevie G ?

image: © ruairadhG

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