Was discussing Rodgers and his tactics with a friend yesterday. He made an interesting point about managers being fully aware of Rodgers approach and his belief in holding the ball for as long as possible and attempting to negate it by 'doing a Chelsea' , basically allowing us to have the ball while keeping their defensive shape and attempting to counter intermittently. We saw with Chelsea how a well drilled and defensively disciplined team can negate even the best technical and passing sides by following a very specific strategy of maintaining their shape and not chasing the ball.
And that is why you need your Xabi Alonsos and Andrea Pirlos of the world in your team even if you are extremely good at keeping the ball and building your approach play with short passes and movement. When the opposition have no ambition of getting on the ball and are only interested in disciplined defending, you need players who can make a difference and do something unpredictable with the ball.
That is why I have doubts about a midfield of Henderson and Lucas, as good as they are at keeping the ball. We could pass teams to death but fail to make a breakthrough if we don't have players of the type mentioned above.
i'm not saying lucas is in alonso's class of passing, but i must say i think liverpool supporters vastly underrate his ability to pass attackers into space.
part of the reason we seen suarez become more erratic in his performances is because he hasn't had lucas to put him into positions where he can then turn and attack a defender. oddly, gerrard last season didn't seem to be able to spot suarez in dangerous positions unlike his link with torres, which was frequently immaculate.
back to the topic though. like neil on taw, like royhendo, rodgers was my first choice too given klopp was likely never in the running.
that said, i do harbor a few concerns, none of which concern mr. rodgers specifically so much as the players who are likely to fit into his system. for me, it's not about the usual suspects: downing, adam, carra, et all.
it's about gerrard and suarez.
if we're to trust what we saw with swansea last year, patience
is the name of the game. gerrard, for all of his qualities, often lacks it. and besides, why would you ask a player to play one role decently when he played another role to an often top-tier standard. it's worth noting that benitez often indulged gerrard's tendency to overcreate by sticking him in the hole behind torres.
rodgers might be able to accomodate gerrard again if he opts to play him in the 4-2-3
-1, but i'm led to believe the 4-3-3 rather wins out in his mind. as such, gerrard will likely play in zone5 alongside henderson/aquilani/shelvey/sig/a new signing. i'm as big a fan of gerrard as the next person, so long as the next person isn't andy, but we have to be honest here i think and say that gerrard is at his best when he is allowed to work outside of a framework. can he change while maintaining the threat that he still possesses? supposedly a dog can't be taught new tricks, but steven gerrard is a rare breed indeed. for me, one of the crucial questions of this upcoming season is whether gerrard shows he still has years to contribute in rodgers system or whether it is more evidence that a creative cm vacancy is up for grabs for shelvey, henderson, suso and others.
this brings me to suarez. i still don't believe we've unlocked more than 80% of the player. yet, i'm quite unsure as to whether he operates better when given the freedom to roam and take the playmaking into his own feet or otherwise. i'm unsure if that last 20% will come when he is set as a wide forward with specific instructions or as the lead striker or hole player megging and dashing off the last man. in either case, what i've been unable to reconcile is rodgers system and suarez' unpredictability. is there space for that in a system that demands possession? so often this year, we saw suarez take the game into his own hands. sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't. will he, like gerrard, be forced to reign it in?
is there space in the team for both players to continue the status quo?