The Bordeaux game represents a chance for a faltering Liverpool FC side to restore their confidence. With the game set to kick off later in the evening, we look at how Brendan Rodgers should line up to win the game in France.
The French town of Bordeaux, famous for its wine, is just under 1000 km away from the city of Liverpool. The short trip across the border to neighbouring France is an opportunity for Liverpool FC to put things right, especially in terms of approach.
Reds’ legend Jamie Carragher’s analysis on Monday Night Football with Gary Neville on Sky Sports illustrated just how left-back Joe Gomez’s inexperience was a major reason the formation became too defensive, despite the idea being to set up the way the 2013-14 Liverpool FC side did to counter attack (Carragher showed clips of the 13-14 season to prove his point).
The wide-spread criticism of playing Danny Ings on the wings was brushed aside by the analysis of the former Reds’ defender, who said that the way forward was an inside forward out wide, just like in 13-14, when Suarez and Sturridge took turns to play that role.
I personally agree with Carragher’s view about playing a wide forward because Liverpool FC have to have goalscorers in the front three on the pitch to compensate for the lack of goals elsewhere in the side. The more the team plays in the formation, the more they will settle in. The starting XI on Saturday included six new players including a completely new front three. That is 60% of the outfield team. From the players that were at the club last season, Emre Can was not a regular in the first team. It is only natural that Rodgers’ men will take time.
With Coutinho missing, the problem is particularly grave, considering the three best, most creative passers in the squad after the Brazilian in Henderson, Lallana and Joe Allen were also missing.
However, with the return of Lallana and Coutinho, and the fact that Bordeaux themselves have six players out, we look at how the Reds can line up against the Ligue 1 side to ensure they take away three points.
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
Reports in the British media suggest that new signing Adam Bogdan might be given the chance to shine and a ‘rest’ for goalkeeper Mignolet is on the cards. While it is understandable that the second choice goalkeeper should be given chances in order to keep him sharp, if not for morale reasons, the game is a chance to make a statement and Mignolet will hardly be tired being a goalkeeper. Rodgers should re-consider his decision to draft Bogdan if he has already made up his mind.
Defenders: Gomez, Toure, Sakho, Moreno
The back 4 picks itself, with no full-back or central defender present in the squad that travelled to France. Alberto Moreno and Mamadou Sakho will finally get a chance to stake a claim for a first-team spot and young Joe Gomez can revert to his natural position at right-back.
Midfielders: Rossiter, Can, Coutinho
While Adam Lallana is fully fit, having returned to full training on Friday, it is important that the Reds play Coutinho from the start and then bring on Lallana. Once Liverpool FC put their best players out and the game is in their hands, they can rest Coutinho for Sunday’s home game to Norwich.
Attackers: Ibe, Origi, Ings
Although Adam Lallana can play in one of the wide positions, the pace of Origi and Jordan Ibe should be preferred to add another dimension to the creative spark provided by Coutinho. Lallana also likes to play with the ball at his feet, as do most Liverpool players including Jordan Ibe.
The hallmark of the 13-14 side of Liverpool FC was not just the breathtaking attacking play, but also the penetration offered by the likes of Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge as well as Jordan Henderson, with his runs from midfield.
The Reds have been missing that badly and the balance between the players who went to get on the ball and who want to penetrate with their running has skewed rather unfavorably towards the former. Origi can add balance to the Liverpool FC XI in that sense alongside Ings, and the opportunity should be used to test the duo more and help them further learn the role. Ings and Origi can swap the wide roles as Sturridge and Suarez used to, while Ibe can provide the width from one flank.
How it works:
Just as in 13-14, Ings or Origi will make it a two up front when they attack, but when it is the turn to defend, it will become a 4-3-3 with one of the wide forwards tracking back till the half-line, but not beyond it when the left-back and one of the midfielders (Can here and Henderson back in 13-14) will bear the onslaught of the attacking right-back and right-winger.
Right-back Joe Gomez will stay put mostly as will defensive midfielder Jordan Rossiter, while Philippe Coutinho will be given a free role. Meanwhile, Jordan Ibe will be hugging the touch line to provide width from the right-hand side, with Moreno bombing forward from left-back.