Liverpool FC has had a turbulent season marred with some woeful performances, some average ones and some spectacular ones which included recent 4-1 thrashing of Swansea City. Understandably, Brendan Rodgers has been in continuous limelight and was deemed a favorite by betting sites to be sacked soon. Reports even suggested that the club owners, Fenway Sports Group, had started lining up replacements which included Andre Villas Boas and Frank de Boer.
In the last two weeks, Brendan Rodgers has shifted the team to a surprising 3-4-2-1 formation and it has fortunately worked for the Reds. It started with a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester United, but Liverpool were praised for their performance where they created a host of chances – but couldn’t finish any – and got beaten solely because of a shambolic defence. Following that was a convincing 3-1 win over Championship leaders Bournemouth in the League Cup. This was followed by a 2-2 draw at home against Arsenal, a game where the team performed superbly and should have won, but for some weak defending and failing to capitalize on some chances. This was followed by a hard earned victory against Burnley after which Rodgers’ side took on Swansea at home and beat the Swans comprehensively courtesy of a delightful performance all round.
Brendan Rodgers deserves a lot of credit for this as the change in the formation to a 3-4-2-1 has ensured the best has been brought out of a lot of players, mainly Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana. Club vice captain Jordan Henderson has been employed in the right wing back role in this formation, but in the absence of Steven Gerrard, played as a centre midfielder against Swansea and did very well, assisting two of the goals and almost setting up Raheem Sterling with a worldly through-ball, which resulted in Sterling striking the frame of the post. Henderson heaped praise on Rodgers
“The manager has been fantastic ever since he came to the club,” Henderson said.
“He’s working really hard for us on the training field to ensure that tactically we are better and improving all the time. It’s up to us as players to ensure we put that into practice on the pitch and we definitely did that against Swansea. We got our just rewards for that.”
“It’s been hard on everyone,” Henderson said of the shift from last season’s form.
“We’ve gone from winning every week to not winning as often. The manager has always been the same. He has always looked to improve things on the training field.
“It’s down to us as players to make sure we do that on matchdays. If we keep playing like that we’ll get that consistency and more good results.
“The manager has always tried to help me as a player and improve me. He does that with everyone in the squad. He wants everyone to improve. For me, he’s one of the top managers in the world.
“We just have to make sure we keep on putting in the hard work and listening to what he has to say. If we do that then we’ll keep going in the right direction. On the training field he’s always looking to improve us in every single way possible for us to have the best chance of winning games.
“You can see that during games. If it’s not going right in the first 10 to 15 minutes he will change something. He’s outstanding at seeing what’s happening in games and changing it whenever he needs to.”
And on the change of formation, Henderson added: “We changed to it towards the end of the Basel game.
“I thought we done well. He looked at that and went through it with us in the meeting room and on the training field. Everyone buys into it because we know he’s so good tactically.
“He has proved he’s a top class manager. We all know he wants to get the best out of the team and help everybody.”
“There’s been lots of highs and lows and that’s football,” added the midfielder.
“We had an amazing start to the year and then the disappointment of falling just short in May. We’ve had a difficult start to this season but we just have to keep going and playing like that. If we do that we’ll go in the right direction and hopefully we can finish the season well.
“And of course we can finish in the top four. We’ve got quality players here. You saw against Swansea that when we play well we look a top, top side. We just need to be more consistent and make sure we do that every game.”