29 Aug 2009

It looks like Rafa Benitez has finally seen the light. But is it already too late?

After two defeats in three league games, it looks like Rafa Benitez could be about to make an obvious tactical change to the team for today's vital, must-win game at Bolton.

In his press conference yesterday, Benitez stated:

"We have to change something if it’s necessary… moving Steven back into central midfield is an option, we have done that in a few games."

I argued earlier this week that starting the season with an untried, untested midfield partnership of Mascherano and Lucas was a mistake, and that the consequent uncertainty, inexperience and unfamiliarity at the heart of the team was causing a real problem for Liverpool.

If Gerrard moves back into midfield, the team should revert to 442 (4411) and my preferred line-up would be:

---------------------- Reina

Johnson ------ Carra --- Skrtel --------- Insua

Kuyt ------- Gerrard ----- Masch -------- Riera

-------------------- Benayoun

------------------------ Torres


1. Moving Gerrard to midfield solidifies the heart of the team and reintroduces some of Alonso’s qualities into the fold.

2. Benyoun’s natural position is just behind the striker; he has proved this season and last that he is more than capable of playing there. It is a natural solution – playing him on the left imbalances the team and wastes much of his talent.

3. It’s obvious, but Albert Riera brings balance to the team. What is the point of having him if he doesn’t play? It’s possible that Benitez is planning to sell Riera, which would explain why he’s not playing. I don’t think that’s a possibility, which makes his absence even more mystifying.

4. This team can still switch to 4231 when necessary, i.e. when other teams try and overrun us by flooding midfield, something that Bolton will probably try and do.

Knowing Benitez’s stubbornness though, it's unlikely he will drop Lucas, especially after his passionate defence of the player last week. This means we will probably see a formation like this:

----------------------- Reina

Johnson ------ Carra --- Skrtel --------- Insua

------------- Gerrard ----- Masch

Kuyt --------------- Lucas ------------ Benayoun

------------------------ Torres

Whatever formation Benitez chooses, one thing is certain: anything other than a win at Bolton is unthinkable.


  1. Lucas is poor so its just common sense 2 put stevie back 2 midfield

  2. I really hope Benitez does putGerrard back in midfield and play him there until Aquilani is ready for 1st team footy.

    I also believe players like Lucas and Babel will play there part to - they oew their team mate, manager and supporters.

    Babel like Beayoun's best position is the 2nd striker and this could be his best chance to prove what quality's he has - I hope!

    Jamie, the first formation you have up is our best team we currently have. Can't help but feel Bolton will make this game hard for us - COME ON YOU REDS

  3. What uninformed and flawed article really.

    1) Riera has been injured.

    2) Look at the 2 formaions again, and ask youself; is it the same players?

    3) The formation today, according to reports is going to be 433, with Gerrard, Marscherano and Lucas in midfield. So no axe for the young Brazilian it seems.

  4. Re point 2: I have no idea what you're trying to say there.

    Re point 1: please post a link to ANY news story online that states Riera has been injured for the last 3 games.

  5. Masch and Lucas in mid field = untried???????

    I'm buggered. we know that they have a similar game Masch with a good one and lucas not that good. Get real we all know that Lucas HAS NOT GOT IT. Good and solid at best but just not class. Sorry even with his great form this start its still not good enough.

    Is he RBs love child??

  6. 1. If Riera is injured then he shouldn't be on the bench. Whichever way you look at it Rafa is wrong.

    2. Rafa will start with Voronin which is a joke. I would prefer formation 1 above with Benayoun behind Torres.

    3. Playing the same formation is not a bad thing. But Rafa should drop Lucas and bring in Riera on the left as above with Gerrard back and Benayoun behind Torres

  7. I heard a similar story that Vorinon is going to start - can't see how he will influence the game in this formation ( I pray to be proved wrong though).

    If Lucas starts in the 4-3-3 it will make the team un balanced slightly but could give Gerrard occassional space to get up forard to support the attack.

    This is something i'm sure theyhave worked on all weak and doubt Benitez will risk such an experiment when WE NEED all 3 points.

    Riera has been on the nech for the last 2 games - he isn't injured!

  8. Liverpool team in full: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Riera, Gerrard, Torres. Subs: Gulacsi, Voronin, Benayoun, Plessis, Kelly, Skrtel, Dossena.

    This is the starting line up taken from the official website. No changes apart from Riera for Benayoun

  9. Who the heck is posting articles under the moniker of Jaimie Kanwar?
    It's pretty obvious that someone has kidnapped the original Jaimie (yay!) and replaced him with someone(thing) who/that has an understanding of football.

    Long may this continue!

    Oh yeah, agree with the article 100%. Brief but accurate, especially about the Yoss.


  10. lucas played well v bolton,especially getting into the box,

  11. What a horrible performance! Third match that we've conceded from set-pieces, and more importantly corners. Its not zonal marking thats to blame, just that we're piss poor at any kind of marking. We need to work on that. Also, we only really started playing when they had a man sent off. Kuyt was good, Torres was good, Gerrard was good, Carra was poor. We need a good left winger, not a flanker like Riera, and for Skrtel and Agger to get fit right away!! The Greek guy wasn't bad, though. 

    I hope we start getting into rhythm soon. (btw, did you know rhythm is the longest word without a vowel)

  12. No, Dirk Kuyt is Rafa's love child. And Lucas isn't that bad after all. He has shown some nice skills too in recent games and was unlucky with the own-goal against Villa. Surely he's more suited to a more attacking role than next to Mascherano just ahead of the back four. Our poorest players so far this season in starting elevens and apart from Babel is Carra. Why on earth was he having a nap in the box when Bolton scored their second?

  13. If Carra played at the same level as Lucas does so far, we would have conceded less goals and may have a few more points to the good. Don't know why the local lads get away with everything whilst most can't see the vast improvements Lucas has made?

  14. http://www.liverpool.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=164638


  15. http://www.liverpool.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=164638

    Numpty - took me about 30 seconds to find that

    Also, good job Rafa knows more about the team than you do. If Gerrard had been playing deeper we probably wouldn't have won today

  16. That story is from the 6th August - 23 days ago; 6 days before the season even started.  Rafa even says 'it's not serious'. Since that time, there's been nothing about his injury.

    And how do you know we probably wouldn't have won if Gerrard was playing deeper today?

    We almost didn't win anyway, lest we forget the win was against 10 men.

  17. Masch and Lucas have similar games? What are you going on about mate? Gerrard and Lucas are the ones with similar games. Lucas is a box to box style midfielder and when given the oppurtunity to get further forward is when we see him at his best. All you Lucas haters will eat your words, this lad had got the goods and will deliver, he is a big game player, he was immense in the thrashing we gave Man U at Old Trafford last season. I believe in Rafa and I also believe in Lucas.

  18. gajendra from nepal8:37 am, September 01, 2009

    i dont know why is benitez backing lucas so much?is there such a necessity of him being in the team?why cant benitez drop him?riera is much more creative player and competent than lucaqs..i dont know why is rafa doin this to liverpool?he cant mess with his squad for his own likes and dislikes