8 Nov 2013

Barnes: 'Terrific' £20m maestro would be a 'good signing' for LFC, but only if...?

Reports this week suggest that Liverpool are very interested in signing Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye during the upcoming January transfer window. The Reds midfield three is not functioning effectively this season, and reinforcements are definitely needed, but is Cabaye the answer? Anfield legend John Barnes is in two minds over the potential deal.

According to the Northern Echo this week:

"Liverpool are monitoring [Cabaye's] situation, but the Magpies’ stance hasn’t changed.

"They remain reluctant to let the influential midfielder leave unless their valuation - thought to be in the region of £18-20m - is met"

Discussing the Cabaye link on the 5-Times podcast this week, Barnes argued that Liverpool need two bona-fide Mascherano-style ball-winners in midfield, and questioned whether Cabaye would work in the current 352 formation. He observed:

"Cabaye is very good player. He works hard, he can attack, but in a 343, I don’t see Cabaye as one of the two central midfielders, but if we’re going to play 433 or 442 then, yes, I think he would be a good signing".

Barnes argued that LFC's attacking front-three of Coutinho, Sturridge and Suarez need extra defensive insurance in midfield due to their lack of consistent tracking back, and he seemed to suggest that Cabaye - an offensive minded player - would not provide that to a sufficient degree.

I can see Barnesy's point here: with five attacking players (3 forwards; 2 wing-backs), the midfield two needs to be able to retain possession and protect the back three on a consistent basis, and that isn't happening at the moment. Take the Arsenal game, for example: both goals (arguably) came as a result of Arsenal players exploiting huge gaps in LFC's midfield:

* Santi Cazorla raced onto Sagna's cross completely unopposed. None of Liverpool's midfielders were anywhere near him, and all three - Hendo, Gerrard and Lucas - failed to track the Spaniard's run toward the box.

* Aaron Ramsey was completely free outside the 18-yard box, with none of the club's midfielders alert to the danger. He even had time to reset his body position and line-up the shot.

Cabaye almost left Newcastle over the summer, but he decided to stay, and his form so far this season is delighting manager Alan Pardew, who told reporters recently:

"Yohan has just got on with his work and settled down. He's getting on with the job in hand. He's been terrific and he's just got his head down to get on with life."

Cabaye is an excellent player, but where would he fit in Rodgers' current 352 formation?

- He's not a defensive-midfielder, so he'd be directly competing with Gerrard and Henderson.

- It's impossible to fit Cabaye, Gerrard, Henderson, Lucas, and Coutinho in the same team.

- For Cabaye to be in the team, TWO of LFC's first-choice midfielders would need to be dropped. Example:

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

------- Toure --------- Skrtel --------- Sakho

Johnson ----------------------------------- Enrique

----------------- Gerrard ---- Cabaye

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

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

* A Gerrard/Cabaye pairing would be ineffective IMO. One of the two would need to be defensive, and Gerrard doesn't have the legs or the mobility to play that role for 90 minutes. Forcing Cabaye out of position and into the Lucas role would be a total waste of the player's creativity and playmaking skills, though given Rodgers penchant for misusing players, it wouldn't surprise me if he took that route.

One other thing to consider: 14 goals in 83 games for Newcastle is a pretty meagre return, and Cabaye's assist rate is not much better. Is that worth £20m? Not a chance. If LFC spend £18m-£20m on a midfield playmaker, he better be a prolific goalscorer/creator, or there's no real point.

It's the system that's the problem! 352 doesn't suit the players LFC have, and the sooner it's scrapped, the better. How many top-class teams in world football play 352? There's a reason for that, but it's one that Rodgers can't see right now.



  1. I don't think the system is the problem (always). What top side plays 3-5-2? Juventus, and they don't seem to do too bad. As you say the players don't suit the system, maybe, however good players will fit any system - so a bit of a revamp of some of the players is needed. GK Good, the 3 defence, and 2 strikers, good. The 5 is where the issue is, which has been mentioned ad-nauseam.
    Of the 5, Johson is alright, Gerrard is alright, Enrique ok, Coutinho alright.. Lucas has 0 offensive contribution, and Henderson has a bit of both defensive and offensive, but not enough of each.
    I think switching it up is not a bad idea, so long as the players can adapt ok, going 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 3-5-2, whatever suits the game - however no formation will address weakness like the lack of mobility in the midfield. You can have one slow guy (pirlo or gerrard), but having 2 is a liability.
    As for the wingback back roll, it should be almost essentially the same as a full back - they bring the ball up, they track back - their duties are almost the same, except they have a little more offensive flexibility. Some get confused and think they are wingers.

  2. Also not a fan of Cissokho. NIce I guess for one year stop gap. Just hasn't won me over from what I have seen. Kind of wastes a spot. Is just there. Doesn't do much of anything outstanding. Don't see him linking up with anyone on the field with creative passing. 1-2s etc. Crossing is average. The suarez header goal was actually a mistaken cross behind LS and he managed to pull of that far header which was cleaver-a typical LS reaction.

  3. Lucas and 30M for Vidal in Jan. Problem solved.

  4. 4-4-2 Gerrard Cabaye Coutinho Henderson. Interesting...

  5. Yes we did but I am referring to Carroll in specific. Do you honestly think FSG are going to play Ashley's game again by signing one of their best players and overpay again?

  6. yes-Vidal-yes please

  7. All Italy plays 5-3-2. It is a formation that gives you great possibilities in both directions,but when it does not work it is awfull in both.

  8. Does somebody know on line bookmaker I can offer a bet?
    My money would be on us being above manu at the end of the season, and them out of top 4.

  9. I think the closest you could get is Man U out of top 4, Liverpool in top 4, their at about 2.5/1 each, but no parlay option.

  10. Thanks.. I know there is a bookmaker that you can say what you think will happen in one game or season and they give you the odds.. Ill try to find that..

  11. Just go to any of the sites (eg. bet365) there usually is an option to email for other odds. You'll get about 5/1 for that bet.

  12. Getting a player in the mold of a inform Cheick Tiote would be more appropriate for the system were are using at the moment

  13. I understand you're referring to Carroll specifically and you said that we would never do business with them again after that deal...

    But then we signed Enrique from them the following summer...

    Furthermore, Andy Carroll is such an isolated incident... We sold a striker for 50m and had to buy another one in the same day. Newcastle reaped the rewards of the situation. Good for them.

    To categorically say that we'd never do business with Newcastle again because of it though... I think that's a little far fetched.

    For the right price and the right player and the right situation, I think we'd do business with just about anybody.

  14. ok.. Expected 9 or 10 for the combination of two...

  15. Cabaye will be a good signing for sure. Wheres the money? Do we have it? for a 'good signing' in 20mil.

    It's all about this reality. The one in which money ruined any good taste football competition.

  16. Thats the thing. I think we generally look good in both boxes but it's the middle of the park that seems weak.

  17. Too many pockets in our defence. especcialy when we play against better teams. and attack woud be same or better in 442 or 433.
    and for the middle- Gerrard should be closer to the goal and rested more,plus Coutinho fit and we can grab another 20 in next 10 games..

  18. Nah, because as you say, we WILL finish ahead of United - it's not a real longshot ;)

  19. I know that, just hoped they dont...

  20. Your wrong. Cabaye's strength is he CAN play defensive midfield or far higher up the pitch. You would know that if you watched him regularly.

  21. He may be able to play that role, but it is not his natural position (like Lucas, for example) - that is the point. And he rarely plays as an out and out defensive mid - that's what Tiote is there for.

  22. I think the gaps come from the lack of tracking by the midfield. The defenders themselves are doing a good job but your right in that this formation can create room as the two CBs on the sides get dragged out wide. For me there needs to be more work done in recovery by the mid and WBs. I'm not sure a 442 is the way to go either though to be honest the midfield is left in a similar position with the possibility of getting over run. I would prefer the 433 myself or perhaps a lopsided 442. Maybe as I am not sure Enrique will be fit yet we could play either Agger or Sakho LB but not too advanced with Moses ahead giving width, Johnson pushing right up in a WB/ modern FB type role with Coutinho tucked in on that side drifting in and the two strikers basically drifting around at will. There would still be an issue with tracking on the wings a little though and it would mean having legs in CM, start with Henderson and either Lucas or Gerard swapping late on.

  23. There is a difference between the the best AM and the best AM available.

  24. Gerrard and Cabaye could play together but only in 4-4-2 formation.Not sure if Cabaye is even on our radar to be honest . He will be 28 in January so no danger of selling him for a profit then. I am starting to think we need to go back to 433 with our midfield needing revamped.Cabaye.Matic etc and Mvila .FSG have to fund a top 4 push now or never as we might not get this close again.

  25. After all these years I hate the fact Lucas is a DM, I loved his attacking flair when he was in Brazil :/ imagine the Lucas of today with a bit of his old flair, he'd be unstoppable! But on a serious note you say that it's not Cabaye's natural position, yet you mention he doesn't create or score many goals, maybe that's because he does more defensive work than people realise, do you perhaps know where I can find these statistics?

  26. Like your idea and I think that Sisoko would be great with Moses ahead of him, Sisoko just can not do it in 5 3 2 we play.
    4 4 2 with diamond- Hendo and Coutinho Vertically, Gerrard and Allen horizontally. I really believe that is the best we can do, with Moses coming in to make it 4 3 3 if neccesary.

  27. vidal is great, but 45 mill?!?

  28. Hendo
    Gerrard Allen

  29. Cissoko shouldn't be scapegoated, truth is BR did not strengthen in the right areas. Too many CB, no DM! By the way, it's not a coincidence the Saints have kept clean sheets since wanyama's arrival!

  30. The front 3 all do adequate work defensively as far as I'm concerned.

    It's the midfield that are consistently failing to track their runners, particularly in the 532 formation where the full backs don't know whether to push up onto the ball or drop back in line with the centre-backs

  31. Surely the 3-5-2 formation is just a temporary one? I like Cabaye and think he would be quality if played in rotation with Gerrard as we manage his workload over the coming seasons, especially if we have CL football fixtures to add to the list next season.

    However, for £20m you're gonna want a better goals and assists ratio. If we spend wisely we could buy a box-to-box midfielder and a holding midfielder for that kind of cash.

  32. Try squawka.com - they have a lot of stats for Prem games.

  33. dont just vote down, explain...