17 Jan 2014

Redknapp warns: £28m LFC trio face axe threat vs. Villa. Who to drop...?

The return of Daniel Sturridge is a massive boost for Liverpool FC, but there's no escaping the fact that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers now faces a selection dilemma for this weekend's Premier league game with Aston Villa. Someone is going to have to step aside to accommodate Sturridge, and former LFC midfielder Jamie Redknapp suggests that any one of three LFC players could be benched this weekend.

In his column for Sky Sports this week, Redknapp noted that Rodgers has a 'tough decision' to make, adding:

"Does he [Rodgers] go with both Sturridge - who scored on his return from injury at the Britannia - and Suarez?

"That could mean benching Coutinho, who has done really well while Sturridge was out, or replacing Jordan Henderson, who's been in great form, or maybe Lucas".

It's a foregone conclusion that Sturridge will start against Aston Villa, so who is most likely to be left on the bench?

* Coutinho: One goal and two assists in the last ten games for the £8m Brazilian shows that his creative impact on the team is not really up to scratch right now. Sturridge practically guarantees a goal/assist every game, so in that respect, a straight swap would upgrade LFC's goal threat.

* Henderson: Absolutely no chance, IMO. Hendo is one of Rodgers' favourites, and without him in midfield, there's very little athleticism, dynamism, or mobility. His creative ouput isn't the best, but it's improving, and with five goals/assists in the last ten games, Henderson - who cost LFC £20m - deserves to keep his place.

* Lucas: Again, there's very little chance of this, though with Steven Gerrard now playing a deeper holding role (as he admitted over the weekend), then perhaps Lucas can be sacrificed? Why do Liverpool need two deep-lying (ostensibly) defensive midfielders?

Redknapp didn't mention Raheem Sterling, yet despite great form over the last couple of months, his position in the team is possibly most at threat. Coutinho is a Rodgers signing, and the manager repeatedly goes on about how he's integral to the way Liverpool play, so it's probable that he'll sacrifice Sterling ahead of the Brazilian.

For me, Lucas is the player who should make way. A home game against struggling Aston Villa does not require two dedicated holding midfielders, so the following line-up would be great to see (based on currently fit players)

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

Johnson ----- Skrtel ---- Toure ------- Cissokho

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

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

-------- Sterling

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

Go for the the throat from the start, and if things need to change later, bring on Lucas to shore things up.

polls & surveys








  2. In my opinion he should play








    Playing this formation will stop Villa's counter Attacks from hurting us and gives us width with Sterling and Johnson bombing forward. Only reason Henderson got the nod and Coutinho is on the bench is because of current form but bringing on 60 mins into the game and Villa's tired legs will not keep up with him and his tricks.

  3. I agree, seems like the most logical - maybe Coutinho could come on, and Sterling could move to RB under current form this would have to be better than having Johnson there.

  4. I would vote Lucas if I was feeling brave but I decided to vote Coutinho cuz I'm worried about 2mra's game, Aston Villa beat us last year at Anfield and deservedly so, it was counter attacking at its best, they will be set up to do the same again 2mra and that's why Lucas IMO has to be in the starting 11 to minimize Aston Villas counter attacks.

  5. I like your line-up. It leaves room for somebody to enter at the 65 minute mark to spell who's tired or add defense if we are comfortably ahead. Personally I would love these challenges if I were BR. If we go up early, I'd use it as a chance to put some young talent in for 20-25 minutes of work.

  6. Let Lucas Rest This Game, Been Playin a lot

  7. You didnt even mention SG, or give us a choice for his omission, for me he would be benched, and what a player to come on and rectify things, although I think a Lucas replacement is imminent, only the blind cant see that. Please just give us a win, coz its crazy how all our contenders seem to eek out wins every week, a win is a must, which by now is expected, and essential, all our contenders I would expect, to beat Villa at their ground.

  8. Agree with you re Gerrard, but I think we both know that isn't going to happen, hence why I left him off the list.

  9. I agree, drop Lucas.
    Still really not sure what he can offer if Gerrard is in essence taking up the deeper role.
    I long for the day when none of the aforementioned defenders are holding down a starting place!!!
    Forward progress is good no matter how slight.

  10. We've already experimented with this. No.

  11. Liverpool's midfield was virtually perfect against Spurs without Gerrard.
    I like the Henderson, Allen, Lucas combination. Allen is more controlled than Gerrard with passing and more nippy to win the ball back. We all forever love Gerrard for giving everything to Liverpool but he isn't the young man he once was and coming off the bench for 20/ 30 minutes a match might get the best out of him.






    If I'm being honest I can't see Rodgers dropping Coutinho because he's the playmaker. It's the first time this season nobody has a clue what Rodgers team will be because there's so many talented options to pick from. It's going to be interesting looking at the team sheets that's for sure.

  12. My biggest concern about this game is Benteke's strength against are reeling CBs. A couple of set pieces or well places crosses could see Villa easily sneak a few past us.

  13. Lucas to be dropped without a doubt. Its way too soon to give up on Coutinho. He has been creative, and is clearly rounding back into playing shape. He is shooting more which he needs to do to get better at it. As he does, he will have to be taken seriously and will draw attention further out. His passing is a bit off but not by very far. Hendo and Sterling should start with IBE getting a chance if possible during the 2nd half. (long overdue) SG and Lucas should split the task of defending mid. Can't wait for flanno to return since I don't yet feel Cissoko is as effective.

  14. @Jaimie K exactly my line up. Hendo will have to hold his runs a bit more but thats how i would line them up. I wouldnt mind benching coutinho but i didnt like lucas at advanced role he looked like deer in head lights everytime he was 3/4 of the field. i thought i even saw him attach suarez cuz he thought he was still a defensive mid. haha. But one thing they keep on showing is the skyrtels grabbing in the box and vs benteke idk if he will be able to handle it.

  15. theres no reason Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge should not be starting as they have earned there places with performances which are leading to goals. Coutinho on the other hand has been spurning alot of chances, so with a quality replacement in Sturridge its very clear he has to make way. if Coutinho wants to play he must start looking up before he shoots instead of just skying the ball wide or directly at the keeper. besides his goal at QPR and swansea coutinho has never actually scored a decent goal. theyve all been tap ins. his finishing is very poor and he must train very hard. There is even the possibilty of sending him out on loan if we can buy a truly world class starting 11 player and maybe recall Suso. Imagine Coutinho being the star of a team? he would improve this shooting that is costing LFC points and with the skills and intelligence we know hes definately blessed with, he would come back the finish article. just saying though, could be an option.

    My formation would be


    BR i very smart. he knows the DM position is the position right now most up for grabs. so he wants Stevie to make the role his own adapt to it and use all his experience to be effective. I trust stevie to adapt to that role well as he wont have to push on as much and with Lucas doing the dirty work Gerrard will be able to watch on and clean things up if necessary whilst also starting an attack. plus on plenty occasions as Lucas often sits back whilst playing DM he sometimes gets a clear oppurtunity to score on goal but always misses as shooting is not his strength. But every1 knows if stevie gets a clear cut shot on goal its gonna be a screamer. I personally agree with rodgers that the role could suit him. at Anfield i think inevitably he will start scoring from play as he will be the deepest midfielder and will have plenty pops at goal. this second half of the season, At anfield we could be in for some Gerrard screamers if he learns the holding role well

  16. I think BR will play 4-4-2, with Lucas-Gerrard centre, and Hendo/Courtinho left and right midfield. And then he'll have the option of bring on Sterling in the last 30 mins to replace Courtinho.

    I note many on here have been quick to jettison Lucas, in favour of a more attacking line-up. All I will suggest is compare Lucas's stats against others in the holding midfield role in the PL or across Europe, and he's #1. He may not set the game alight or be the most creative, but for what he does, he does very well. I know BR is lining up Stevie for this role, but as the stats for the game against Stoke show, he had a relatively poor passing accuracy compared to Lucas's season average. This is important in retaining possession and building from the back.

  17. If lucas was so effective then why is Gerrard having to play so deep. All what lucas does these's days is play kiss chase.....meaning he's chasing but not getting anyway near his opponent. Too slow in tracking back, gets side stepped easily and going fwd, less said the better. The only reason he's got back in the starting line up is due to Allen getting injured who has shown improvement like henderson. Because of his inability or limitations as a DM he's dragging down other players. If we are to get top 4 and play in the champs lge we need better quality than lucas, squad player at best. Downing was another player some people thought was good for us and look how much better we are without him. Lucas falls in the same bracket and just by looking at him you can just tell he has no pressence. I'd be very surprised if he's here beyond the summer coz he's had more than enough time to reach his potential, especially at his age....no excuses!!
    As a club we have raised the bar this season and i was at anfield last month against west ham and as soon as lucas came on, he gave away the ball, which lead to west ham's first goal. He constantly gives away possession in dangerous areas and lfc players of the past rarely did that.

  18. By the way jamie, totally agree with your line up, however would like to see kelly play at RB instead of johnson. Many sources online share your views on the line up so fingers crossed hey..

  19. Axe threat?......... pfffftttttt!!!!

    First selection option in months and it's an axe threat?

    Wait until we get top four and CL, and increase squad size, it will be a veritable blood bath each week

  20. I think Coutinho. As much as it hurts me to say this, He deserves to be dropped and come off the bench.
    I know he works hard and is creative but missed chances and over hit balls dont warrant a starting spot each week.
    I think one game where he starts on the bench could be the shock to his system he might need to spur on the improvement.

  21. At home, against a low scoring team like AV, we can play with 352 (Mignolet - Johnson, Skartel, Sakho - Lucas, Gerard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling - Suarez, Sturridge). However, if we go with 4 men back line, I believe it should be Gerard to sit out. With due respect, he is almost 34 now & not the enforcer anymore whom we saw in his 20s. He is not structured enough to play as DM & the only role I see for him is a back up AM for Coutinho. May be 60 minutes of Pipo & 30 of SG isthe wayto go.

  22. Mignolet
    Glen Skertel Ilori Aly

    Stev G

    Sterling Suarez Coutinho

  23. Your lineup is good. I expect Lucas instead of Coutinho and I think that will be the case. It will be disappointing to see Sterling benched.

  24. My team for today with Sakho if fit...


  25. or Allen if fit for Coutinho.

  26. We have actually conceded more goals with a back four than what we have with a back three.

  27. The Liverpool Echo yesterday wrote an article about Rodgers and his plan for Gerrard to prolong his career and that plan is giving him the pivot role.

    Rodgers also spoke about his preference for a 1-2 midfield. One can only assume that Lucas' time as a regular starter is now going to come to an end.

    I like Lucas, have been a huge fan of his for many years but as an attacker he is the least useful player in our squad. He never gets into the box, does not have the ability to dribble, his movement is nowhere to be found and his goal threat is non existent. He will be finding himself on the bench quite regularly soon...