So we can now begin to gauge the difference in philosophy and tactic beginning to be instilled by Brendan Rodgers, as the start of the Revolution begins at Anfield via America.
Clearly from the outset we can assume that a certain style of player cannot & will not fit amongst the Tika-Taka style endorsed by Rodgers at Swansea, now being implemented at Liverpool – Namely Andy Carroll, as much as we can be disapproving of the alleged way in which the big man appears to be being treated by the new manager, it is also quite clear that the new style and tactic applied by Rodgers has no place for a centre forward of the style of Carroll.
The main reservations I see in the managers thinking are linked to that high pressure line, where forwards & attacking players alike are given the task of putting pressure on opposing defenders and midfielders within the last 3rd of the field – something it must be said that not only Andy Carroll appeared to lack in his game at Liverpool last season and indeed previously at Newcastle, but also Luis Suarez is no Ian Rush when it comes to pressurizing defenders on the ball.
We can then take a look at the midfield of Liverpool and we can quickly pick holes in players with a less than perfect record when it comes to this same tactic – Downing, Adam and although Spearing does at times attempt to do this, unfortunately he constantly gives away that yardage gained in winning the ball by giving it away soon after.
Charlie Adam is the one player we could assume would fit nicely into the Rodgers mind-set and system, especially now he has his Anfield baptism season behind him – contrary to what a few around Liverpool believe, he is a quality player needed by this new system for sure – unlike Downing who I believe will add nothing to this type of tactic. We can also with confidence believe that Jordan Henderson will thrive in this type of play, having looked like an ideal player for the pressing game.
Even though we have only witnessed two games into the American tour, friendlies at that, lined with reserves and young players – It does give a clear impression, clearly on show is the way that Rodgers wants this side to play. One worrying aspect from my point of view is the lack of a plan B, not once, even when the side was behind was the ball lumped up the field by the goalkeeper or outfield players, indeed with 3 minutes of extra-time still to play, with Liverpool a goal behind – The philosophy continued pass, pass, pass. With every Tika-Taka on show another nail was driven into the coffin that has become Andy Carroll’s Liverpool exit.
However great the personnel recruited by Rodgers to complete this system may be, it has become very relevant that at the heart of the revolution is “The Defensive Backbone” which has to possess the confidence to PLAY within the system and with that a great deal of trust must come from the terraces – The odd stray pass is inevitable within Tika-Taka unless you are amongst the games greats – A new system also adds its pressures.
We do have those that we can rely upon and TRUST – Agger, Skrtel, Johnson who have all appeared comfortable with a football at their feet, also Enrique whose form has without doubt dipped, has the tools to play.
The return of Lucas is a massive plus for Liverpool akin to signing a £20 million holding midfielder – someone who without any doubts can slot easily within Rodgers new system and tactics. I believe that Steven Gerrard’s role within the system will also find itself redefined, a much more defensive role where our captain will have to choose his moments much more cleverly to burst through defences. One of the modern games greatest passes of a football you would assume will be in his element.
Whether Brendan Rodgers already has it in his mind as to which of our youngsters he wishes to promote to the first team ranks , is yet to be seen. Once the senior players join the tour, my guess is that he most probably has an idea as to who fits the bill and more relevant who does not – So far from what has been seen ALL have worked incredibly hard to incorporate the system to their own game – Clearly the strikers are the most worrying decision that Rodgers will have to make – Morgan, Eccleston and Sterling, do we send them out to educate them or throw them back to the reserves – For me none are quite ready yet for the vigour of The Premier League and maybe a top Championship side may hone their skills and undoubted talent.
Clearly the system is designed around passing that football in triangles and as an opportunity presents itself – STRIKE. Unfortunately if the opportunity does not appear then we need someone to make some magic, a point not lost on Swansea last season, or Arsenal for that matter – This is where Tika-Taka can lose its beauty to a less than patient watching public – Lately Liverpool fans have been anything but patient, but it is essential that we allow this system to grow, nothing will happen overnight , certainly when we see our opening fixtures scattered with the very BEST defences in not only England but Europe and the World.
Even if we do have a quite magical little Uruguayan – It is a well-known fact that the 2nd season tends to be the hardest, we all know it cannot be any worse than his previous season – can it? My thoughts are that Suarez will get a hat full this season, unless the FA start charging you for being foreign and not speaking the lingo….Oh hang on!!!
I for one wait with mouth closed and brain engaged – Over to you Tika-Taka and Brendan Rodgers – Let The Games Begin……..
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