2 Apr 2015

LFC Line-up vs. Arsenal: Massive double-boost; big change ahead? Surprise start for Manquillo?

Finally, the interminably boring international break is over, so it's back to business for Liverpool, who face Arsenal this Saturday in one of the most important Premier League games of the season.

Team news:

* In a minor surprise, Brendan Rodgers confirmed today that Daniel Sturridge is fit for selection.

* Lucas Leiva and Jose Enrique are back in training, with the Brazilian available 'from the start'.

* Adam Lallana will train on Friday, and then be assessed for Saturday's game.

* Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel are suspended for the game.

In his press conference today, Rodgers claimed that Arsenal is a 'must-perform' rather than a 'must-win' clash, but looking at the Premier League table, I respectfully disagree:

* If results go against Liverpool, the club will end the weekend in 7th place in the league.

* If Arsenal win, and Man United beat Villa at Old Trafford (and they probably will), Liverpool will be 8 points behind United, and 9 points behind the Gunners.

* Whilst not insurmountable, fourth place will be out of Liverpool's hands, and the club will then have to rely on other teams losing games.

Clearly, despite what Rodgers says, it's a must-win game, with the added wrinkle that it's at the Emirates, which automatically makes that much harder to achieve.

Blackburn, Swansea, and Man Utd figureed out how to nullify Liverpool's 343 formation, which means Rodgers needs to once again adapt and overcome. What are his options, though? How about a 352, which allows Liverpool to retain three at the back, and utilise Sterling in a more effective manner?

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

-------- Can --------- Toure ----------- Sakho

Manquillo ----------- Lucas --------------- Johnson

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

------------- Sterling ---- Sturridge

* Give Moreno a rest. Johnson has played well on the left before, so give him a shot out there, and give him a license to get forward as much as possible.

* Bring Manquillo back into the team. He's been on the bench long enough, and will be fresh and raring to go. The Spaniard is good defensively, so he can stay back and cover Johnson when he goes forward.

* Sterling and Sturridge both like to drop deep, so they can alternate with that approach. Plus, Sterling is good defensively, so he can drop back and help out if necessary.

* Being overrun in midfield should not be an issue with Hendo and Coutinho dropping back alongside Lucas, Johnson, and Manquillo. Ditto in defence, with Manquillo and Johnson available to help out the back three.

* Sorry, but Lallana is a passenger at Liverpool, and he does not deserve to be in the team ahead Coutinho, Sterling et al.

The 352 has worked in the past, with Suarez/Sturridge leading the line; there's no reason why it can't work again. Alternatively:

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

----- Can ------- Toure ------ Sakho

- Manquillo --- Hendo - Lucas ---- Johnson

---------- Coutinho - Sterling

--------------- Sturridge

Whatever formation Rodgers puts out, this is going to be a very difficult game:

* Arsenal have won the last 6 games in a row.
* No league defeats at home since November.

Liverpool have only lost once in fourteen games, but the warning signs were there in the last three games.

My prediction: 2-1 to Arsenal.



  1. I love it when you predict losses :)

  2. Oh dear,

    Before the horrible Man U game i was so confident we were gonna rule the world....and then, good old swansea 'worked out' how to play against us?!?!?!? - just saying that makes me beggar belief as to why we even have to struggle against a team like them when we clearly have the far superior players....

    Anyway, that game saw the isaac newtons ba***rd child gary neville have a 'eureka' moment in the post match analysis.....he pretty much rubbed his hands in glee like a pa**do outside a school....saying 'i'm giving louis van haal a dvd breakdown of how swansea nullified us in the morning.....live...on air!!

    Didn't brendan bother reading the obvious signs???...it was in plain open sight....

    Anyhow now we go to emirates and I am duly shi**ing myself because if that busload from manchester can do us over we are in for a mauling in london....

    I'm gonna watch because recently I've got into femdom acts of pleasure - and the teasing and edging are painfully pleasurable.....so a bit of 'football fan torture' never hurt...however, if the pain becomes too much I'm gonna have to abort mission and concede that optimism and the anticipation of serious pleasure alone ...just isn't worth it.....

  3. Look, international break is only boring when your country is shit and irrelevant, like Scotland.

  4. I disagree with your and others prior opinion that teams have sussed our formation Jamie. Also, and maybe I'm wide of the mark but perhaps your playing devils advocate in citing Rodgers belief that the arsenal game is merely a 'must perform game'
    I'm sure you don't really think that the reality of the points vs. remaining games situation has escaped his attention or mean to infer that he would be content with just a good show.
    I don't mean to paraphrase you wrongly and hope I haven't but I think our current formation/s, winning and 'performing' are intrinsically linked and that is clearly the message Brendan was trying to convey, - put the effort in, press more to get the ball and make better use of it when in possession and we can get back to winning ways.
    Maybe a few tweaks in personnel are needed but although it doesn't make for great discussion, I cant see how one can make any headway with that until we know if Sturridge is likely to start or at least make the bench.
    Having said that if he does have a verified muscle tear I can't see the club risking further damage to an important asset and in that case I'd go with Sterling back up front as he was against City.

  5. Arsenal aren't going to play a succession of long diagonal balls to a target man which is what the last few teams to give us trouble did.
    Tbh I can't see there being drastic changes to a system that's brought much success. If we had been playing a back four all season there would be no talk of changing systems because we hadn't been at our best for 3 games, 2 of which we won.
    The reality is, our system is totally reliant on how effective our pressing is. When we're off colour like in the first halves of the Swansea and Man U games, our pressing isn't good. Against United especially we were uncoordinated in our pressing, leaving too big gaps between our pressing players and so becoming easy to pass around

  6. yeah I get what your sayin Jock, maybe I'm being too hasty about the Man u game - to be honest, I didn't get on any website or this forum since 'cos it was just too painful...!

    I understand that we are a pressing team - also actually did you read that sterling has complained to the bbc without LFC permission about his having to play rightback???

    apparently its why he's had a loss of form - yeah ok then - it may also tie into another stat you allude to where we havent been at our best for about three or so games - mutiny, sabotage - probably just my paranoia.....

    anyway, I know we've been successful and I'm a big big fan of Brendan rodgers just hope he can stay as cool as he seems to always stay and pull something out the bag for us mere peasants to cling onto.....

  7. When we actually started pressing United, they shat themselves.

  8. Our system isn't that flawed. Just intensely press from the first whistle and the system is fine. We started off the Swansea and United games slowly and apprehensively. Why? No f***ing clue. United weren't that good when we decided to raise our game end of first half. They're still an average team. Swansea couldn't handle us either from the start of second half. In the second half against Swansea, our intensity was so much improved right from the whistle. Had little to do with Swansea being 'tired'

  9. I was always sceptical about formations and the 'geniuses' who walk the halls of football clubs and share space with the scientists and thinkers who have shaped the world thus far - those football geniuses who have the 'knack' of sussing other teams and mashing them up.....

    Sceptical that is until the Man U game, where they did something that is beyond my very simple brain but which totally unnerved and undid us....

    Now, I'm not saying they are gary kasparov sorting out a check mate in a grand master game, but they certainly did something under the tutelage of one gary neville...

    Nevertheless, as I have agreed with Jockinthekop above I concede I dont know enough about football to say any of this with absolute certainty.....
    ...as well as saying I agree - if we just do our 'thing' and press and play good footie no one in any league or any amount of sussing out will stop them from getting a resounding thumping.....

    ....which I reallly hope happens on saturday....:-)

  10. sorry mate i was too wound up - I missed that bit.....!


  12. Agree , Don't read article just look for Jaimie.s prediction .

  13. All systems have flaws. But there are ways you can overcome your own and pick out the oppositions.

  14. I just read a transcript of the interview on another site and otvsays Rodgers said it is a must win and we need a point minimum.

  15. Stweling did an interview with BBC without permission. He complained about the criticism received about his contract discussions and how they are on hold until the summer so he can concentrate on football.

  16. I would be very surprised to see Manquillo in the team. He might make the bench

  17. and complained that he is being played out of position ?

  18. I would prefer him to Johnson tbh and Moreno hasn't played internationally has he? He needs no rest.

  19. What Complaint? He was asked a question in playing there and said it's not his most comfortable position but is happy to play there. Have you seen it yourself or is this just from twitter?

  20. No, that's why i asked ?

  21. I don't like the wording people use of being sussed out. Chelsea play 4-2-3-1. They've been 'sussed out' there are just not so many weaknesses so they aren't suseptible. We've played a couple of varieties of 3-4-2-1 tweaked here and there, it's not a case of being sussed it's having the consistent quality and application to apply said quality which is telling. Mourhino will not surprise people with tactical switching around but I bet they will still win most remaining games even though everyone knows who and what he will play.
    Pressing is key to this squad of players regardless of formation, if we don't press we look very poor. That was the problem with the first 6 months. Slow, laboured, inviting pressure. The formation change was helpful but it coincided with higher tempo.
    For the Arsenal game I am expecting more of the same formation and we can exploit their abject back line, while keeping the solidity the 3 cb's and wb's provide. Will not be easy by any means but we won't have to deal with long balls. We can press them and hit them on counters like at Anfield last year. That's how we perform best, just have to see if we do it.

  22. Lucas will be a big help in the way we play. We need a dedicated DM 'destroyer' if you will. Allen hounds and that's great but he doesn't get stuck in like a real DM. Lucas can and will then he can lay it off and let the forward players do their thing.

  23. Spot on mate

  24. Cool jay jay
    I saw the many headlines and then the apparent rebuttal from Brendan when journos asked him said question...

    Still..... without permission not the best plan you think......?

  25. Cool mate thanks will try check it out

    Still.... Interview without permission.....not the best plan to get everyone on side.......

  26. I'd rather see Flanno instead of Johnson at LWB. I don't see the merit in playing a 30 yr old struggling for form who's already left the club in his head. Experience counts for nothing if you're rubbish

  27. You know what I think we really need? A crowbar.

  28. With skrtel suspension in mind, i can't see anything short of a 3-0 victory to Arsenal.. Obviously we are not a team that play with intent against the big guns away., we tend to sit back and allowing them all the time in the world to dominate until they scored

  29. International break boring.... you must be from Scotland then....

  30. I like your train of thought there DinMan.
    Without doubt I know next to nothing about advanced level football tactics and perhaps the powers that be do possess some Yoda like level of knowledge and that must be why they earn so much.
    I'll be a smiling/gurning like an idiot if we get a win tomorrow, especially if it's of the resounding thumping type.

  31. Newcastle pressed Arsenal really hard in the second half recently and they fell apart. You have to play them with no fear and right in their faces.

  32. In big games, I've often wondered where Lallana is. I wish he showed more end product. JK you're spot on about Lallana.

  33. Bro, secretly I watch things like the messiah that was gustavo poyet last year get f***** this year and others much like him over the course of the years .....
    ......and i get the distinct impression no one in football has a clue what the f*** is going on and what they do is stick men on a field and pray to whatever god hoping for the best.....

    The yoda part is not the footballing knowledge or the deep charismatic ability to bend the univers eto their will.......the yoda part is getting some munchkin to sign over 3-4 million bank notes to begin with.... :-)