17 Nov 2013

LFC legend warns: 'Tinkering' BR is taking the WRONG approach at Anfield. Agree...?

Earlier this week, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers revealed that he plans to consistently rotate his players over the next couple of months so that they can see 'the light at the end of the tunnel'. Given the fierce competition in the squad, and the reduced number of games this season, keeping all the players happy (arguably) requires an element of rotation, but constantly tinkering with the team may also bring its own set of problems. Anfield legend Jan Molby is not in favour of constantly changing the team, and he's urged Rodgers to stick with a settled first eleven.

Speaking to the official LFC website on Thursday, Rodgers outlined his plans to keep the team fresh:

"Between now and January we have one game a week. The players are working very well and very hard but I need to give oxygen to some players, so they can see a light at the end of the tunnel. It is important that I use the players well".

Responding to Rodgers' comments, Molby dismissed the idea of rotation, and insisted that the Reds 'need to...pick a settled side between now and Christmas', adding:

"The manager has hinted that he can keep players fresh but tinkering with the team but I’m in favour on a settled side. Years ago, we called it the Liverpool Way. By returning to [that], it will mean some players are left out and disappointed".

Rotation just for the sake of it is never a good idea (IMO), and that is exactly what Rodgers seems to be proposing. He states that although the players are working 'very hard and very well', he needs to play others to keep them happy. That's fair enough, and certainly understandable, but is it the best decision for the TEAM?

Take defence, for example. I'm sure most fans would concede that the secret to defensive solidity is playing a settled defensive unit week-in, week out. Well, constantly changing the defence around just to 'give players oxygen' seems counter-intuitive in that regard. How can the centre-backs build up a rapport/understanding if they're constantly being swapped out?

As I've repeatedly argued, Rodgers has given himself a gigantic headache in central defence. He may not see it that way, and some fans will blindly argue that competition is 'always a good thing', but that's not how it plays out in reality. Players want to play, and when they're regularly dropped/'rested' for (what they perceive to be) no good reason, they get frustrated, and Daniel Agger's recent comments are a prime example of this.

The area of the team that (arguably) needs the most rotation is central midfield, but based on the season so far, it's seemingly the least-likely to be subject to change. Come rain or shine, Gerrard, Lucas and Henderson will be in the team, which doesn't seem to tie-in with Rodgers' pledge to give other players 'oxygen'. The same applies to the attacking positions - if they're fit, Sturridge, Suarez and Coutinho are always going to start, so where does rotation fit in there?

As such, it seems that most of Rodgers' rotation is likely to take place in defence, an area that should be the most settled part of the team (!), and the irony here is that Rodgers is forced to rotate due to poor transfer planning over the summer. He basically has no choice.

With the greatest respect to Rodgers, he doesn't have the cojones to consistently stick with Agger and Skrtel, especially after spending £18m on Sakho over the summer. He has to play the France defender, or at some point, he'll be forced to explain to FSG why an £18m asset is rotting on the bench.

With Joe Allen, Rodgers got away with it due to injuries, but Sakho is a different story. He's fully fit, and pushing for a place in the France World Cup squad, so we can expect regular defensive rotation, even if it's detrimental to the overall effectiveness of the team.

Ultimately, I agree with Molby: playing a settled team is the way forward, and if I had to choose a regular XI, I'd go for the following players/formation:

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

Johnson ------------ Skrtel ----- Toure ------- Enrique

--------------------------- Lucas

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

------------------------- Coutinho

-------------- Suarez ------------- Sturridge

* Keep the back four settled for as long as possible. Only change it when LFC lose, and/or concede more that two goals in a game (depending on circumstances). It's easier to justify changing defenders after mistakes and/or bad results. Changing things round after winning 4-0 or 4-1 is hard to justify. Maybe Rodgers has already done this, but if it was me, I'd sit them down and explain the situation, and outline exactly when/how/why rotation takes place. Just saying 'I need to give other players chances' doesn't cut it. If the defenders know the parameters beforehand, then it also becomes easier as they then understand exactly *why* they've been rotated.

* Rotate Lucas and Allen regularly. Let them basically share the defensive midfield role. Depending on how the game is going, swap out one for the other in the second half of games (around the 60 minute mark) to keep both sharp/interested/motivated.

* Does Henderson need to start every single game? His goal/assist ratio this season is poor, so it should be easy to justify rotating him with other players. Hendo often plays right of the midfield three, sometimes further out wide/advanced, and Moses can play that role too.

* Same applies to Coutinho. Give Luis Alberto a chance every now and again, or give him 20-30 minutes (where possible) in every game.

I don't pretend to know better than Rodgers (!), these are just fan-opinions, and it will be interesting to see the effect (either positive or negative) or Rodgers' rotation over the next few months.

One other thing: Rodgers states LFC have 'one game per week' between now and January. He clearly hasn't looked at the fixture list!

* 3 games between 1st-7th December.
* 3 games betwen 26th December and 1st January.
* 7 games overall in December (!)

Clearly, there is scope for rotation, but it's only going to be effective if it occurs in the right areas of the team.



  1. i thought rodgers only change the defence when the team lose or suffers any injuries?like against southampton where agger went off injured and the loss against arsenal

  2. We have the derby coming up as well. Against Everton, Spurs, City and Chelsea play your strongest team. For the Hull, Norwich, West ham and Cardiff matches Rodgers can give some of the other players a run.

  3. This is interesting, I'm curious as to why Rodgers put out his 'plan to rotate' comment. As much as I appreciate how well the team has done this season, this comment smacks a little of inexperience in my opinion. Rodgers shouldn't have to answer to anyone but himself and the owners to be fair and I don't think Rodgers is naive enough to just rotate for the hell of it. One of the qualities he has that I have grown to admire is that he has no problem scrapping a player/s or system if it isn't working. I'm pretty sure the team can cope with a few players being kept fresh here and there, it's not as though we have the squad to make wholesale changes week in week out anyway.

  4. seyyidriziki tsumo4:21 pm, November 17, 2013

    Congratulations Jaimie K. I wish Rodgers has read this article.Am sure if he did,he will remember you one day in his carreer at LFC.I fully support what you have said as an LFC fan.Please bring more articles of this type as I have liked the facts in the context.

  5. I'm not totally against playing 3 centre backs when we play city or united, as they both play two high quality strikers, but otherwise i agree with you that we should mostly play a back four and rotating defenders is a bad plan. I'm also really keen to see joe Allen back in the side and I would bring him in for lucas. The number one priority of most fans is sign a replacement for Lucas in January so why not a look at Allen again for a few games. Might save us a chunk of money if he works out and I don't think there is any reason why he shouldn't do well.

  6. Fergie's Third Nipple4:38 pm, November 17, 2013

    The next game is a given that Sakho plays, considering he doesnt get bullied as easily as Skrtel and Agger. Considering Lukaku will play, either Sakho or Kolo will have to play (kolo did well against Benteke). Think the author of this site would prefer Sakho to be sold given the choice, but i have yet to see get sakho bullied, positional sense needs a bit of work with Sakho though. Its early days like with Vidic and he was hardly pulling and trees, when he came to united. Midfield will need Hendo's energy and if fit at present Stevie and Lucas pick themselves (no better options). The attacking front three is a no brainer..

  7. why are u all so pessimistic and always find something wrong with BR. its like some of us just don't like a Liverpool with a certain BR in charge. for all u know spewing out his plan might be a strategy as well. all we have to is to support the man, he is really transforming Liverpool. you guys especially the author of this article never gave him a change and were saying he will be sacked and that Liverpool is still a mediocre team. there u have it, second on the table. just think of SAF when he was first given the Man U job, he was also tinkering and everybody know about it until he was able to assemble a strong squad. leave BR alone and wait for his sack as some of u want.

  8. Jamie you haven't got a clue it must be said. Do you even watch the games? Toure has been an excellent acquisition to replace Carragher and Sakho also. It's called forward planning, Agger is injury prone has been our worst CH this year and made just as many mistakes as Skrtel did last year, but far too many people had rose coloured glasses on. We now have 4 top CHs, a position that is very hard to fill. If we get a bid for Agger or Skrtel the money can be reinvested into other parts of the squad and we won't be running around looking for a replacement who is good enough and available to come in at that precise time. £15m for a Young International with plenty of experience, who's strong and good on the ball is great business.

  9. Mourinho and Ferguson, the two most successful PL managers of the last decade regularly rotated their Squads. Highly successful manager Rafa Benitez rotates his squads. I find it such an old fashioned approach to believe that squad rotation isn't an integral aspect of modern day football.

  10. Does Rodgers know his best side? or does he speak out of his backside? It's the managers job to give the team the best chance to win the match, so he should put out his strongest available team always, no good taking the blame and 'holding his hands up' after we have lost. It's up to the players to play their way into the team, they don't have to try or train hard if they know they will play ever other match, it's ridiculous.

  11. IMO Sakho was a great buy, he will be playing many many years for LFC, a future Captain probably.
    I dont think BR overdid it with the CB's, we lost Coates to a long term injury, Carra retired, BR bought Llori and Sakho, thats 2 out and 2 in, no great mystery there.
    Fortunately we also got a freebie in Toure, who has surprised many with his performances, and total commitment to LFC, his attitude is exemplary.
    Toure is the spanner in the works, nobody expected him to be so good, including BR,
    add to that the form of Skrtel, he has been a revelation so far this season, hence the dilemma at CB.

    As for the rotation I suppose its only natural in a way, to keep the fringe players interested and on their toes.
    However, rotation will a bigger problem come January, when as expected, we should be bringing in a further 2 top players to challenge for first team places. That means the current squad players, should be pushed even further from first team action. Of course BR knows this, and at this stage will already know, if not the players he will bring in, then the type of players he will bring in. I think this has a bearing on his recent comments also. The EPL will only allow 11 players on the pitch, which means there will be disappointed squad players, which is normal at any top club, just look at the benches of Man C and Chelsea every game, they have to leave excellent players out of each team they field.
    I have no sympathy for those left out, it is part and parcel of the modern game at every top club, the way to get out of it, is to improve, make yourself a player to be considered for each game, by performing at your highest level when given the chance.
    Overall I think BR has improved since first arriving, and continues to do so, though at times it is obvious he is not the finished article just yet.
    The next 6 weeks is gonna be the most difficult in BR's reign, if he can get LFC through those games with an acceptable points tally, then I think rotation will be least thing we will worry about.
    Myself, I have to go to Indonesia for 3+ months, so I will miss posting here, the internet down there is not very good but hopefully I might get a connection every so often. I leave in 7 days, hope to get back on here before I go.

  12. I think you are mis-interpreting this mate. Most posters on here rate Rodgers very highly, as does JK as far as I can tell. The point is that we spent a lot of money on Sakho as our 'marquee signing' at the expense of perhaps a top quality midfielder, and that has led to Rodgers adapting his tactics considerably to accommodate as many as possible. You're definitely right to remind as we're second in the league :-)

  13. absolutely agree :) have a nice time in indonesia! YNWA mate

  14. The place where we have the most depth is the place we don't really want to tinker with the most. I am all in favor of a horses for courses situation but a settled back four or at least CB pairing is beneficial I think. Having said that I am not against rotation, Old Whiskey loved rotation and it worked for him.

  15. I can understand why Rodgers pay £18 Million to Sakho at that time we really need a experienced C.B. One thing I still didn't understand is why he buys Aspas, Alberto and Ilori these three players cost us £22 Million. Until now these three players contributes nothing to the team.

  16. I have said this but despite the complaints and veiled threats in the media Skirtel has come back and is in the best form I have seen him in for a while. If a player isn't doing enough to start then drop him for someone who wants it more. Seems sensible for me, but changing for the sake doesn't.

    Hendo plays as the legs of the preferred CM's are lacking. Allen now being fit can help that and I agree that he should be used to rotate in that area. I don't see why we should drop Henderson though as his energy is brilliant throughout. He will have to better his assists and goals ratio though.

    We will have to wait and see what Rodgers actually does in regard to rotation. As Jaimie points out the heavy fixture list in December may call for rotation and when the FA cup starts there should be some players getting much needed time too. I don't think this is a gigantic headache and more a good problem that we have lacked for so long we can't get our heads around it. Other teams have had these problems for a pretty long time now and still seem to be doing alright. It is a test of Rodgers balls.

  17. Amen brotha! Best post here so far. You need 4 quality center halves in a team fighting for the top league spots. For the first time in years we finally have depth, how is that a bad thing?

  18. Iv'e been banging that drum for a while now too. TBH I can't wait until the Int break is over so I can stop repeating myself.

    Yes I do have to post my opinion to this matter.

    Yes I do have to post my opinion to this matter.

  19. Fergie had to rotate his back four a lot last season and it didn't harm them too much.

  20. If what you say is true why do very successful managers rotate? If it is true why do we continuously see less strong teams in certain cups?

  21. Seems to me you're looking for excuses simply for excuse's sake. Why did Ferguson rotate? He had a reason: Both Vidic and Ferdinand are ageing, and increasingly subject to injuries. Both are much older than LFC's set of defenders.

    Man Utd historical stick with partnerships: Pallister/Bruce, Stam/Johnson, Ferdinand Vidic etc.

    Same applies to LFC down the years, and countless other clubs.

  22. Successful managers rotate effectively, and they rotate areas that *need* rotating. Rodgers rotates because he's trying to keep all his defenders happy, not because it's necessary.

    Benitez rotated too, but he didn't do it successfully. His rotation made no real sense much of the time, and it didn't directly lead to any kind of success for LFC.

  23. I don't think that it's fair lumping those players together. Aspas is 26 and should be in his prime playing as well as he can, the other two are young and have clearly got a lot of promise. They are coming to a different league and can very much improve.

  24. You need four quality centre-halves; you don't need four INTERNATIONAL centre-halves fighting for two spots. Name one other team in the Prem that has four top class (i.e. experienced internationals) vying for two places. Liverpool have got it all wrong, and it is not sustainable. Someone will have to be sold, and I this will happen, and I will be proven right.

    And we're not even mentioning Ilori here, who has absolutely no chance of making any inroads into the first team. Then Coates too to come back. It's a total mess.

  25. Your saying it as if it has already happened already Jaimie rather than it is about to happen. Agger lost his place as he got injured and those who played played well enough to get in the team. Skirtel has stayed in as he has played well.

    It's hard to say whether Rafa's rotation was successful or not. There was plenty who talked about it but we didn't see a team that was not rotated so we don't know if it was better or worse. People are sure if their opinions but we don't know if it was the case or not. He did win numerous cups as well as finishing higher in the league than anyone had done for quite a long time. Depends on what you think successful means.

  26. Fergie rotated other parts of team out of choice too. He is well known for it. It is hardly and excuse, I know its pedantic but it was an example of a changing back four that won the league.There are no excuses in my post. In fairness you could have pointed out that they conceded a lot of goals until their preferred pairing came in to the team.

    Vidic is a mighty 1 year older than Toure and Agger is a bit injury prone throughout his career. By your own logic its not all that unlikely that both those players may be out for long periods of time. So there is no problem when we have very capable cover/first choice players to play in their stead.

  27. Why or how people lost their place is arguably irrelevant. The question remains: how do you fit FOUR top class central defenders into the same team, and keep them all happy. You can't! It's impossible. If LFC had European football it would be a different story, but there aren't enough games to go around.

    What if Skrtel and Agger both play superb in every game for the rest of the year? Where does that leave Sakho and Toure? How will they get game time? If it's a merit system, surely A and S should stay in the team? Is it fair to take one of them out just to give another defender a game? This would disrupt defensive rhythm, and probably pi$$ off whoever gets dumped.

    As for Benitez - I agree with you to an extent, but I personally believe Benitez's tinkering was detrimental overall. Two games stick out: CL finals in 2005 and 2007. In both games, Benitez's tinkering causes major problems. He started the 2005 final with Kewell in the starting line-up, and left Hamann on the bench. We all know what happened next.

    Then, in 2007, he left out Crouch and Bellamy, and chose Zenden (!) and Pennant instead. He even left Sami Hyypia on the bench for the game, which is total and utter madness.

    Rotation decisions like that cost LFC lots of games under Benitez, and I don't see how his rotation policy was responsible for any of the cups he won.

  28. I totally agree with molby having a settled back four is massively important for a team your two center halfs for me personally are the backbone of the team and need to have that understanding knowing without even needing to look were your partner is im sorry but you carnt get that by constantly rotating the back four its the same for me as your two central midfielders need to be playing together as much as pos to get that understanding , best 11 should be playing every week if fit if not then rotate, sakho is not good enough nor is cissoko end of.

  29. Exactly, effectively rotating the match day squad is integral and to be honest I think Rodgers has done it pretty well so far..

  30. Ferguson can rotate because he does it successfully. Look at his trophy haul. His transfer planning is superior to Rodgers. He doesn't overbuy to create unhealthy competition. He wouldn't, for example, spend £18m on a central defender if he already had Vidic, Ferdinand and another senior defender on the same level in the squad.

  31. Define experienced? Chelsea have four but play Ivanovic as RB. Rafa played him CB. Arenal have three but have had to play Sagna as a CB at times. Hardly the best option despite him doing well. It could be argued that United have five but that experienced thing comes back to the fore. Smalling is Sakho's age and Evans is older. Dawson has not had a lot of international play but with Chiriches, Kaboul and Vertonghen that is four players all older than Sakho. City have four, Nastasic is young but first choice. So like I said in another article we have the same problem as the teams who are in the position we want to be in, ie plating in Europe. We may not have it this season but there will be another season next year and fingers crossed we will be playing at the highest level of European football.

  32. Benitez squad rotation at Chelsea was brilliant and helped lead them to a third place finish and trophy.

    Mourinho rotates the three behind the strikers regularly, when you could argue he doesn't NEED to do it considering that Oscar, Hazard and Mata are three of the best players in the league. He's also played three different strikers up top as well. Four have also played at CB and Ashley Cole was dropped for two consecutive matches. Arguably the best manager in the league, arguably in the best squad, arguably one of the favourites to win the league..

    Huge range of benefits to squad rotation; fitness, being less predictable and different tactical set ups to combat the strengths and exploit the weaknesses of the opposition, to name but a few.

  33. I don't care if they are happy! What I care about is how they play. Skirtel wasn't happy, how would you say he is playing? Is it because he was left out or in spite of it? We don't know but if it is due to being left out then good. Leave out players when they are not doing enough.
    He didn't play well then got dropped last season, now he is playing well. We don't have Europe now but could do next season and those who are not happy about being left out can show there stuff next season like Skirtle is dong now. A millioniare footballer may say he is not happy but the fooker is not depressed so it is not an issue. If he wants to play then he best play well.

    Toure and Sakho can be given time in the FA cup. Fingers crossed we do quite well in the comp and they can get more games. Will neither Agger now Skirtle get a niggle? Where they could play though it but it is not best. How likely is it they will both play all those games? If they do and play superb then the others will just have to lump it. Like I mentioned numerous times, Skirtle was not happy. Look at him now.

    Another point is who you play. I have noticed that Benteke drifts left and comes inside. Lukaku tends to start central and go on to his right. In these cases I want our strongest players playing against these monsters on those areas of the pitch. So perhaps Toure or Skirtle and Sakho respectively. That is another reason to rotate. One Fergie was fond of.

    Didn't Kewel get injured or he acted like he did. Yeah I agree they were bad times to tinker. I remember a half time tinkering that did OK though, remember that? A certain cup was won.

  34. Toure was a revelation and tbf, not many were expecting more than a good infuence in the dressing room. I am unsure what the role of the transfer team is. The purchase of Sakho wasn't absolutely necessary and Rodgers had talked about an attacker coming in and then the Sakho thing happened. Its curios.

    In a fairness to Skirtle and Agger they have not been Ferdinand and Vidic and if you think that long term Sakho is going to be first choice then it does make sense. Both our senior players had terrible times last season and it meant that Cara who was aging and not at his best ended up being the standout.

    Are you saying it's OK for Ferguson to rotate as he has already been successful? I don't really get that point. He was successful before he started to rotate as much, that shows he saw how it was beneficial, and so if it is beneficial to the champions it is surely beneficial to those who want to be champions don't you think?

  35. Yes, but if you take in to account that we'll most likely alternate between a 3-5-2 and 4-3-3 variations during this campaign, we'll defo need all of our four "main" CB's, Agger, Skrtel, Sakho and Kolo. And since Kolo is getting old he wont have a problem sitting on the bench for a few games. And if Agger or Skrtel decides its time to leave in Jan or next summer (i don't think they will), we don't have to go looking for a new player in that position.

    Ilori is still young, and even tho i can't see him getting much time this season, he's more of a long term investment. Think next season with possible European games.

    Only problem i can see here is Coates, who needs to be sold asap.

  36. Jamie you have answered your own question !!! Man U have 5 International CHs - Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, Jones and Smalling! Jones was £16m when they had the rest, was that pointless? Spurs have always had 4 or more, all Internationals. Chelsea have 4, City will buy one more in Jan because they made a huge mistake letting Toure go.. Illori was bought for the future (€5m) to replace Coates. If he wasn't bought someone else would have got him - planning... Toure to replace Carra and Sakho for Agger (look at his games record each year) or Skrtel, planning.... BR didn't want Skrtel if you remember, even Wisdom was in front if him in pre-season. We will have 3 senior CHs are Illori soon with money to fix other positions without having to worry. Replacing before you sell is an excellent strategy and puts the club in the driving seat....Thank god you aren't in charge

  37. Jaimie, I am quite sure I remember you giving the green light to the purchases of two more centre backs. We were struggling for stability in defence, we were linked with Ilori and Sakho, and you said we needed to sign at least one more, or, 'why not both'.

    Maybe your opinion has changed due to the form of Skrtel and Toure, and I invite you to prove me wrong. But too much is better than not enough at least.

  38. Sakho was £16m - get it right for god sake. Excellent piece of business, Nasticic cost more with much less experience, Jones was the same cost (but more with inflation) and is injury prone. Incredible short sighted attitude. If it was down to you we would have wasted £40m and over £130k a week wages on Lamela and Erikson to warm the bench - they've turned out swell for the price haven't they.... Spurs fans moaning like hell about Lamela and Eriksen been subbed on early nearly every game, fades apparently just like the Ajax fans moaned about..

  39. What a bad article. Sakho was our best defender against Arsenal and also Sunderland... Improved every game after an understandable shaky start at Swansea as he had not played for months and was not used to the PL.. His passing us superb (see the stats) and he always looks to play a positive forward pass. His timing is excellent and he soon learnt from going to ground in the FIRST half of the Swansea match. Agger has been crap for 18 months and needed dropping (Saints goal, Stoke pen and loads last year) he's weak and gets bullied. Do a vote and let's see what real fans and people who watch and understand football think

  40. You get it right. Every credible news source on the planet (including the BBC and all the Broadsheets) list Sakho's transfer as £18m. In the absence of club accounts to verify the figure, this is as close as we'll get.

  41. Yes, I was in favour of signing two centre-backs (One experienced, and one young), but that was on the understanding that one of either Skrtel or Agger would be sold in the summer. I was never in favour of keeping Skrtel and Agger, and signing yet another starting centre back.

    If, say, Skrtel had left in the summer, then the Sakho signing wouldn't be an issue.

  42. I rest my case http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/sep/02/liverpool-sign-tiago-ilori


  43. Why not post it Jamie?! Free speech and facts: http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/426298/Liverpool-to-sign-PSG-defender-Mamadou-Sakho-and-Chelsea-forward-Victor-Moses

  44. I wouldn't say a replacement for Lucas as IMO he's one of the best in the league in his position however I admit he has started to become more complacent probably due to the lack of competition for his position so someone who can challenge him for the starting position will do for me.

  45. Due to unexpected and improved performances of Toure and Skrtel respectively, we've ended up with maybe 1 more centre back than what is required in the present situation. However if they wait half a season, they can all be playing regularly because we are on course to be playing in Europe next season.

    I'd swap Toure for Agger in the 11 that you listed. Those 11 players IMO are the best 11 players in the squad. Players like Alberto, Allen, Sakho and Sterling can get game time off the bench. But other than that, no one else really deserves to be in the team. Everyone else is merely a squad player. No one out of the 11 is actually better than Hendo, Coutinho, Lucas etc...

    We are 2nd in the league, chopping and changing may cost Rodgers his job, and rightfully so if he makes yet another critical error in management that costs us.

  46. Based on past experiences, LFC is a club that banks on buying instant
    success, except no managers can do it well despite being given huge
    resources. There are countless young players that came to LFC over the years, started queuing up upon their arrival, mostly if not all, towards the exit rather than the first team.

    For the current crop of players in Joe Allen, Borini, Aspas, Luis Alberto and Tiago Ilori, the investments are destined to go to waste, at least early signs suggest so. If Luis Alberto could not even play a game when Coutinho was out injured, when can he? If BR rather played an on-loan Victor Moses out of position instead of Luis Alberto, then what's the rationale behind that 7 mil pounds spent? Just for note, Victor Moses is 23 and Coutinho is the same age as Luis Alberto at 21. It's a waste of breath talking about Tiago Ilori now. Not that he's not good, but because of the inept judgement of BR, his development is destined to be hampered. For a mature player like Aspas, his role will forever be a backup to SAS. Even if LS is gone this coming summer, he will still have absolutely no chance for the first team. All because the manager and fans will scream for a big-money replacement that is on the 'same' level as LS. That leaves me ponder why a young forward like Samed Yesil cannot serve the role as a backup forward in the first team? Will Borini have a future in LFC? He will go to a lesser team for half of what LFC paid for him in the coming season or two, at best, if you ask me. Now let's see if Joe Allen is capable of sharing the defensive midfield role with Lucas. This is an outlay of nearly 50 mil pounds, given the financial situation of LFC over the past 2 seasons.

    I would prefer BR to stick to his preferred team week in week out instead of rotating his team. That's all because I'm afraid he'll become the next RB, starting to request more money from the owner, just to buy another set of players for his suggested rotation. For now, he should spend more time thinking about solving the certainly not-so-happy overcrowding problem at the back and effectiveness of the present set of midfielders. Certainly not by playing that strange formation of 352/532 when we don't even have proper wing-backs to start with. Maybe it's not a problem with BR because to him all players are supposed to be widely versatile.

    LFC, the young player abattoir, that's the impression LFC gives me since RB's era. Myself being a loyal LFC fan, a total non-football person but sensitive regards to finances, balance sheets and statistics.

  47. Superb post. Agree with every word.

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

    -------- Original message --------

  48. I think Rogers has seen how Lucas and especially Gerrard look tired and out-of-sorts sometimes, He just said it so resting Gerrard and Lucas and swapping defenders does not surprise them

  49. Agger has always been injury prone and Jamie Carragher was preferred over Skrtel last year. Skrtel seemed to be on his way out of Liverpool with Sakho as his replacement and Toure replacing Carragher. Agger has not been himself this season and his injury situation does not help. Having 4 CBs is good. One might leave and Ilori will have his chance

  50. I don't think that anyone predicted Skrtel to come back like he has, not even Rodgers.

  51. Maybe Rogers will be paring Agger with Skrtel and Sakho with Toure. That is also stability in the back

  52. If he's one of the best in the league in his position and Gerrards stats (rightly) say he is one of the best in the league, why is our midfield considered our weak point? i just don't think Lucas is quite cutting it, but I hope I'm wrong

  53. Spot on Greg. Also, do we have to do EVERYTHING like Fergie did, and if not then it just plain wrong? Surely not. Also the Club has ambition and is planning long term. For that you need squad depth and talent that will sustain us for the long term. Thus Club needs to plan as for next year, and plan for Champions league football. Toure is coming to end of his career, so long term the club has 2 world class defenders in the prime of their career ( Skertel and Agger), one defender also world class and young in Sakho and one young defender highly regarded in Europe with bags of potentail in Ilori. So I would look at the club and say we are in a very health state. We have competition for places, we have depth, we have long term planning. A mess? Surely not.

  54. So how do you explain this year's form on the pitch. We've just been lucky, I guess, have we?

    Or maybe the "inept" manager's work has something to do with that.

    Do you watch the reserves or rather the U21s at all?

    Ilori is clearly talented and athletic but not ready for the first team. His heading in particular is a weakness.

    Alberto is as promising as any young midfielder you could ever hope to see, but needs to work on his strength and fitness before he's ready to thrive in the Premier League.

    Allen has been unfortunate with injury but is clearly ready to contribute from the bench and hopefully in the first team soon. If he can find his form we'll have a serious player on our hands.

    Yesil needs a lot of work before he's ready for real competitive football. His injury has taken a lot out of him.

    Borini is a good player who is recovering from an injury hit season on loan and is finding his form. Highly rated by coaches all over Europe, he looks the kind of player who will come good in his mid-20s to me. He reminds me of Giroud in that respect. There aren't many strikers his age who command starting positions in the top half of the Premier League. How much do you think we'd have to pay for Lukaku?

    I think your expectations are unrealistic and your assessments of players are poor, basically.

    The manager said repeatedly that he was working on building the squad: not gambling the whole transfer budget on starry individuals. Can't you see why that was necessary? Do you really want a team which has Mkhitarayan, Willian, and Eriksen, supported by crocks and rookies like Kelly, Wisdom, Spearing, Flanagan, Sterling? Do you really think that would work out well?

    I don't think you, and this goes for Jamie to some extent too, understand what footballers need, to improve and learn. What it's like turning up for work every day, how a squad works together to create the first XI on match day. Or if you do understand that, then must be unable to see that Liverpool's squad was in utter chaos after the Benitez-Hodgson-Dalglish regimes, and needed serious work, getting in technically accomplished players with tactical nous and competitive spirit, with the attitude necessary to learn and to grow as players and as people.

    But this gets away from the main question, which I'll repeat: how do you explain our form on the pitch this year, which suggests that we are not in a false position, but deserve to be competing at the top of the table? How has this "inept" manager accomplished something which Kenny Dalglish was unable to accomplish; to outperform Pellegrini, AVB, Mourinho, Moyes, with a fraction of their transfer budgets?

    Seriously. How?

  55. I agree the two wold be grate back up toure has great experience and in the pl sakho for me is not quite good enough maybe given time not to be put straight in to the team over agga or skertal is dangerous

  56. Again, I think using Agger in place of Lucas at DM or sharing time, keep Agger in the squad and gives Lucas rest. Both have a history of injuries so even more fuel for the split. If Henderson is spelled, Moses in PERFECT. I would like to see IBE! Give him some real time in December rather than burn out the same eleven guys. It's much better squad management. People are not machines.....

  57. Hindsight is great but maybe 1 out of 100 fans ever thought Skrtel would make the contribution he has made thus far. That's why Sakho made sense. Add Aggers history of nicks, also points to Sakho as a good move

  58. Brilliant article, I agree with almost everything the author suggests

    Surely the owners want CL football, it's the only thing that will make their involvement viable and allow us to compete

    So, if this means settled team with Sakho on bench, so be it