4 Oct 2014

€20m travesty: Has Brendan Rodgers made a huge man-management mistake?

Seven games into the season, and the Premier League table makes for painful reading: Liverpool languishing in 14th place; three points above the relegation zone, with a negative goal difference. Overall, it's only one win in five games for the Reds, but things have to change at some point...right?

On paper, a game at Anfield against West Brom should be a home banker, but the Baggies are currently ahead of Liverpool in the table, and the result is by no means a foregone conclusion.

The game is a proverbial 'must-win', though. Anything but three points is unacceptable, and will inevitably lead to more hysterical knee-jerkism.

On the injury front, Joe Allen, Emre Can, Jon Flanagan, Glen Johnson and Mamadou Sakho are all out of today's game, but according to Brendan Rodgers, there's a slim possibility that Daniel Sturridge may feature. Liverpool desperately need him back, but after a month out, it's doubtful he'll start the match.

In his press conference on Thursday, Rodgers tenuously claimed that he's being forced to employ a 4231 formation due to injury, and since nothing has changed on that front, it's likely he'll go with the same formation again today. As such, I expect to see the following line-up:

------------------ Mignolet

Manquillo ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ----- Moreno

------------- Gerrard -- Hendo

------ Sterling --- Lallana ----- Coutinho

------------------ Balotelli

I dispute the notion that 4231 is the only formation available to Rodgers right now. He has the players to utilise a 442 diamond, too, which is arguably the most effective formation for the players available:

------------------ Mignolet

Manquillo ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ----- Moreno

------------------- Gerrard

------------ Hendo ----- Coutinho

------------------ Lallana

----------- Sterling - Balotelli

It is blatantly obvious that Balotelli is not an effective lone striker; it's not his game, and if Rodgers persist with playing Italian up front on his own, then serious questions need to be asked about his tactical approach.

Reports yesterday claim that Rodgers might drop €20m Balotelli for Lambert, but that's hardly an enticing solution. Plus, after his ill-advised public criticism of the striker earlier this week, dumping him on the bench is not (IMO) the most effective form of man-management.

Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson seems optimistic about the game, though. Predicting a 2-0 win for LFC, he noted:

"West Brom arrive at Anfield in great form having won three on the trot and they will probably...defend in numbers and attack on the break. I just feel, though, that this time Liverpool will win, especially if Sturridge is involved at some stage. This is a good game for them to find some form"

Defeat is unthinkable. A draw will probably see Liverpool slide even further down the table. The pressure is on, and the players really need to earn their money today. Ultimately, if West Brom cannot be beaten at home, then the club deserves to slide into the relegation zone.

My prediction: 2-1

Author:



73 comments:

  1. -----------------Mignolet---------------
    Manquillo-Skrtel-Lovren-Moreno
    -----------------Gerrard-----------------
    --------Hendo------------Lallana------
    ------------------Sterling-----------------
    ---------Borini-------------Balo--------- (or Lambert for Borini)

    Or

    -----------------Mignolet---------------
    Manquillo-Skrtel-Lovren-Moreno
    -----------------Gerrard-----------------
    ------Coutinho---------Hendo--------
    ---Sterling----Balotelli----Lallana---


    That is what I would go with


    Once again, if we are going to sit back and invite the pressure like we have of late then we will get hammered. We need to take the game to the opposition.


    No convinced that we can win this match especially if Rodgers is making excuses that 4-2-3-1 is being forced on him due to injuries. What did we make all these new signings for then? Every signing we have made is more than capable of playing in a pressing system. We do not need to be saddled with laboured and cautious football.

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  2. I got your email - I'll post your article later today.

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  3. Playing lambert will make the situation worse, too slow and touch of a rapist. Sturridge has to start if fit, otherwise stick with mario which seems the best option right now.

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  4. Agree, Balotelli needs to have a strike partner alongside him to perform to his best, the lone striker role just does not suit him. Failing that he needs attacking mids closer to him, the energy of them seems to have dipped of late and they have been too deep leaving him isolated. Think Lallana might have a big game today and I reckon Mario, if he plays, will benefit with a goal or two.

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  5. Totally agree when Rodgers made all these signings he must surely have realised that when injury prone Sturridge is out of the team Ballo would need another partner up front ...... Presumably he thought Lambert would be good enough or Borini if retained or even try Stirling alongside . Things just aint working so he has to be more flexible . We have to win this afternoon to restore confidence with both players and fans . Let's do it !

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  6. I just want to see us win convincingly!

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  7. Thank god you didn't predict 2-2. You should ban yourself from that prediction, or your liverpool-kop family will find an intervention order.

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  8. And a much needed clean sheet would be nice !

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  9. Second one is the one we should go with.

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  10. I sense a 3-0 defeat. It'll probably be the death of me, but I can't see us magically improving if we can't seem to score goals with Rogers' formation setup...

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  11. I would like to see 2 strikers and the usual suspects..... Also, some long balls into the box for LFC, if they put in Lambert and Mario just for some variety as Balo needs someone up there with him. I am hopefully going in with 3-1 for LFC. Anything but a win means LFC is in Roy Hodgson territory.

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  12. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:45 pm, October 04, 2014

    this is the team we have to play:
    ........................................................balotelli
    lallana...............................................sterling.......................markovic
    ..........................................henderson............gerrard
    moreno..............................lovern...................skrtel.............manquillo
    .......................................................mignolet




    CONSISTENCY is key we need to stop chopping and changing we drew with everton so that team must have been doing something right

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  13. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:46 pm, October 04, 2014

    15 mins before team line up its so exciting
    same team vs everton please

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  14. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:49 pm, October 04, 2014

    thoose teams would get pulverized by west brom


    first lien up wont work we dont have allen or sturridge so we would lose liek vs west ham ,


    second line up no way gerrard cant be left to do defensive duties by himself he needs either hendo or lucas helping

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  15. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:50 pm, October 04, 2014

    this is my line up:
    ........................................balotelli
    lallana..............................sterling.................markovic
    ...................................henderson....gerrard
    moreno.......................lovren.............skrtel....manquillo
    ............................................mignolet


    bench: sturridge,lambert,coutinho,lucas,enrique,toure,jones

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  16. You are just making excuses.

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  17. Reports coming out that Balotelli has been dropped and Lambert will start. On his freaking own???


    Worst possible move.

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  18. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:54 pm, October 04, 2014

    gerrard cant play cdm by himself
    pain and simple


    last year we got away with it due to our firepower up front but now we don't ahve SAS so we got to be more compact

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  19. We thrashed Spurs with Gerrard playing on his own.


    I do not have time for your games.

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  20. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:55 pm, October 04, 2014

    rodgers is losing it
    lambert should never ever start for lfc
    from suarez and sturridge to lambert


    we will not win lets hope we can draw though

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  21. Nevergonnacrackthecode1:57 pm, October 04, 2014

    we had allen alongside gerrard


    you continuously undermine the importance of joe allen
    his role cannot be mimicked not by coutinho,lallana anyone
    allen is the most complete player at lfc currently

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  22. You are delusional.

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  23. They both don't fit a 4-2-3-1.

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  24. And here it is..... my take on what we should at least try. Lothar Mottahus slipped back into a sweeper role (unsuccessfully) but I think Gerrard could do it Koeman style.

    -------------------------Mignolet

    ---------------------------Gerrard

    -------------------Skrtel----------Lovren
    Manquillo-------------------------------------Moreno

    ----------------Henderson-------Lucas

    ---------------------------Lallana

    ----------------Sterling ------------Ballotelli

    I remember Hoddle and Gullit playing sweeper. I watched Gullit live play in there and his passing was exquisite. Hoddle also earmarked Jamie Redknapp to play their for England which could have been something special had he not been injured all of the time. This formation will never happen but I feel its the only position we can now accommodate Gerrard because it seems BR will play him at all costs. Sweeper will be a walk in the park for the lad.

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  25. Nevergonnacrackthecode2:00 pm, October 04, 2014

    teams out
    mignolet,manquillo,skrtel,lovren,moreno,gerrard,henderson,lallana,coutinho,sterling,lambert

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  26. Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Manquillo, Moreno, Lovren, Skrtel, Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling, Lambert.

    Substitutes: Jones, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Markovic, Borini, Balotelli.

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  27. Nevergonnacrackthecode2:00 pm, October 04, 2014

    rodgers out
    why is lambert playing ?

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  28. Rodgers playing with fire.

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  29. Nevergonnacrackthecode2:01 pm, October 04, 2014

    rodgers out lambert playing
    is it even worth winning anymore ?

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  30. If Balo and Borini are not getting goals, what other option does he have?

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  31. We were not going to win with your 4-2-3-1 lineup anyway so i do not know what you are complaining about.

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  32. Nevergonnacrackthecode2:02 pm, October 04, 2014

    i want us to lose now
    another loss should do it for rodgers playing lambert is undermining how great liverpool are we have a rochdale striker up front


    thinking long term

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  33. 14 goals in 39 games last season 15 in 38 the season before. Anything is better than Ballo up front on his own. As much as I hate the target man this is a good call. Lambert at least makes penetrative runs.

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  34. you're right. The 4-2-3-1 commands a center forward who occupies the two center halves and gives them something to think about both in behind and coming short. Now our strikers................

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  35. Nevergonnacrackthecode2:05 pm, October 04, 2014

    lambert is a striker who is big,fat,slow ,old and ugly


    how can a big,fat player play up front for lfc the 11th richest club in the world?

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  36. Agree, maybe BR is doing this to say to Balo this is what happens when you don't perform....risky to say the least

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  37. Feel Ballo has been made a scapegoat and will sap his confidence even more . Well now Lambert has his chance ..... no excuses shite or bust !

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  38. Yeah, not sure WTF to make of it all.


    We are either going to be pleasantly surprised or start getting the daggers out after this match.

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  39. Scapegoat? Dropping do bench after 6 matches and one goal. Plus he will come in, and sadly he is the best coming off the bench.

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  40. I dont think Ballo has been made a scape goat. He has no lateral movement, doesnt run in bhind and loses it when he comes short. His talent lies in his dribbling yet he has chosen close shop in this area. Maybe a goal coming off the bench will spark him into life.

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  41. Excatly, and I like the fact he is going in a direction, pretty much nobody would. And Mario has always been the best coming off the bench.

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  42. We should remember Lambert got 14 in 39 games last year playing exactly the same role. I'm not his greatest fan but he's proven by English strikers standards.

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  43. Where has the service been for him though. he has been left upfront on his own with three players behind him with no idea what to do with the ball.

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  44. Perhaps Rodgers should play to Balotelli's strengths, then, instead of trying to mould him into Suarez MK2.

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  45. By the way, it's pretty cool that you do "guest articles" :D

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  46. Best coming off the bench? Since when, and according to what?

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  47. What about other players who haven't performed. Gerrard, for example?

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  48. So was Suarez. Ballo has the abilty to keep an entire back line busy in a similar manner but his movement and form are off by some way

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  49. True, but player of his caliber should have made more out of it, I know Daniel would(DID).

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  50. According to me watching him his entire career.

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  51. Not the only one under performing and we all agree ( don't we ) that he is no good as a lone striker .Will Lambert do any better ? We will see .

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  52. I have only ever seen him play well as a striker for Italy. His best position for me is right wing. He pulls wide, no movement needed, and runs at his fullback. He's never a striker.

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  53. Well what has two holding midfielders helped our cause? Our midfield has been non existent.


    Three players behind Balo fiddling with the ball. Can you blame Balotelli for looking inept?

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  54. Lambert won`t `get in the way` as much Ballo did, and our midfield will know excatly what they should do to get him in the goal scoring opportunity. And he will take a couple defenders with him towards penalty area leaving more space for our flank players and with Moreno and Sterling on the left it is a very good prospect, right?

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  55. Nobody to do the job. Allen, Can injured, right?

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  56. He doesnt know where to run. The poor lad doesnt know whether to stick or twist. I've seen players like him before notably EL Hajji Diouf. Diouf was skillful but had no idea where to run as a striker. Eventually we helped him out by sticking him out wide which removed all 'movement' confusion

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  57. Totally agree. To much expectancy of Balotelli to somehow score at the same rate as Suarez.


    It is not going to happen when you deploy a system which has been absolutely useless.

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  58. He knew how to run for City. Are you suggesting he has forgotten how to play football?

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  59. His movement was still terrible

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  60. There has been no problem with his movement. There has been a lack of someone finding him.

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  61. Barcelona used to play both Ronaldinho and Rivaldo wide left in three where they were exceptional. However they both wanted to play through the middle which nullified their biggest threat notably their dribbling. They went from world player of the year to deteriorating footballer very quickly. Ballo is of a similar ilk.

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  62. Mancini would sub him after 30 mins because he wasnt running

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  63. Most midfielder make passes based on movement. A midfielder is under pressure and all he can see out of the corner of his eye is a teammate running into space and BAM! the pass is made. Ballo doesnt give gerrard anything to hit.

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  64. Mancini and Balotelli had major issues. Balotelli has not shown an ounce of 'It is all about me".


    If he was not left up on his own with nobody feeding him with the ball then things would have turned out completely different.


    If Rodgers is planning on sending out Lambert on his own then what are you going to have to say about it all?

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  65. I agree with everything you said about Mario. Do you think he can reach 15/20 goals in EPL once he is paired with Daniel?

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  66. I actually do because when we play 2 strikers with one in behind we play with our strikers between the full backs and center halves. They never play or stand on the center backs. Effectively our strikers play inside right and inside left. Mario needs to work within a fixed area of the pitch and this suits him down to the ground. Plus he has the added bonus of having Sterling and Sturridges movement create space for him and leave him isolated one on one.

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  67. Good luck Ricky Lambert hope you star Liverpool 4 -2

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  68. Is this the team that is supposed to beat madrid home and away?

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  69. Downing tins @ back of mass5:46 pm, October 04, 2014

    Awh don't ban him! he's funny... in a delusional, slightly simple way. Thinking long term he wanted us to lose so Rodgers could get sacked and he would have his way by getting a manager who'd finally listen to his genius and buy Shcnerdlin (purposely spelt wrong) the all conquering midfielder with the ability to turn us into instant title winners. No, he's right he'll never crack the code.

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