Liverpool FC have made a wonderful start to their new season, conceding no goals and collecting 7 points from a possible 9. Their season may have just gotten better with the return of Daniel Sturridge to training. The striker is on schedule to make his return after the international break when the Reds face Manchester United. We look at the possible starting XI that the club can play when Sturridge is back.
Liverpool FC signed a total of 8 players in the summer transfer window, after having recruited 9 in the previous summer. The club have lost two crucial players in the process, Luis Suarez to FC Barcelona for A?75million last summer, and wonderkid Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for A?49million this time.
Martin Skrtel and Jordan Henderson are the only two first team regulars who are still key this season, like they were three season ago at Anfield.
Amidst so many changes, it may get confusing for the manager to know his best XI (no wonder Liverpool FC endured a poor season last year). Compounding the problem was the injury to star striker Daniel Sturridge.
The striker has finally returned to Melwood, the training ground of Liverpool FC, earlier today and is expected to be back to face Manchester United after the international break.
As he continues his road to recovery, we look at the possible starting line ups the Reds could play when he is fit and firing. It is fair to say that manager Brendan Rodgers has a host of options, but must guard against the fact that him not knowing his best XI can come back to haunt him badly.
Formation 4-3-3: Rodgers had been saying over the summer that he may go back to the 4-3-3 formation that he deployed in his time at Swansea and in the first few seasons at Liverpool FC, including a large part of the successful 2013/14 season. He abandoned that approach last season following injury to Sturridge and poor form of his other strikers. But there is enough to suggest in the opening three games that it is the formation the manager is going to use for most of the season unless a situation forces his hand.
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
The stopper is most likely to be his preferred goalkeeper throughout the season having recovered pretty well following a spell out of the side last Decemeber. Unless he repeats those kind of performances, Mignolet should have no problem holding off Bogdan for a place in the Reds’ starting line up.
Defenders: Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne, Mahamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel.
While Lovren is preferred by Rodgers currently over Sakho, it is surely only a matter of time before the Croat commits hara-kiri. While we may have been harsh with that statement as Lovren has been very solid in the first three games where Liverpool FC kept three clean sheet in a row, enough evidence over the last season suggests that Lovren has very little positional sense and sound decision making to start week in, week out for a side looking to beat one of last season’s top 4 to a Champions League spot.
Sakho, at some point, will come in and given the fact that he has been the best Liverpool defender over the last season, he should not find it a problem to retain his place. Martin Skrtel and Nathaniel Clyne pretty much select themselves.
We do back Joe Gomez to retain his place in the squad for the majority of the season at left-back given the way he has played in his first three games. Alberto Moreno will get his chances though.
Midfielders: Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Philipe Coutinho
Liverpool FC are spoiled for choices for the three central positions in midfield. However, the trio of Milner, Henderson, and Coutinho not only provide the perfect balance of graft and craft, they are also the best three midfielders in the side.
Lucas, Emre Can, Allen will be rotated whenever the trio need rest or are injured.
Forwards: Sturridge, Benteke, Firmino
Daniel Sturridge may very well be deployed in a similar role he played when Luis Suarez and the English forward were played up front. The duo swapped places between playing centrally and out wide.
Expect Benteke to do the same with Sturridge with the forward having a tendency to pick up the ball on the left hand channel and run at defenders in his time at Aston Villa . The big Belgian has shown enough over the three games and with his time at Aston Villa that he is good enough for the Reds.
Roberto Firmino is another player who will have to fight off competition from Lallana, Ibe, Markovic for his place in the front three. But expect him to be successful in doing the same.