Saturday, August 19, 2006

Liverpool Pre-Season Preview Part 2

Yesterday, I introduced the new faces in the Liverpool squad and as I've said, we've improved both attack and defence throughout the Summer transfer window. The new signings ensures that we have the strength in depth as well as Rafa Benitez always said, 'Possibilities'. Now, let's look at what Rafa has done to our squad over this 2 year reign at Anfield.

2004/05 Season:

Dudek / Kirkland

Finnan --- Carragher --- Hyypia --- Traore / Warnock

Murphy --- Gerrard --- Hamann / Diao --- Riise / Kewell / Cheyrou

Owen / Diouf / Cisse / Baros

*Bold = Unchanged

2005-06 Season:

Reina / Dudek

Finnan --- Carragher --- Hyypia / Traore --- Riise / Warnock

Garcia --- Gerrard / Sissoko --- Hamann / Alonso --- Kewell

Crouch / Morientes --- Cisse / Pongolle

Now, see the difference in a season? The deadwood players and the 'clique' are gone. The squad last season was still mostly inherited from Gerard Houllier except for the few Spanish imports. Let's look at our 'POSSIBILITIES' this season.

4-5-1 System

This system will most likely be employed against the 'stronger' teams like Chelsea or ManYoo. We've seen the beauty of it last week against Chelsea. It's not a rigid system at all. It's a pretty flexible system and Rafa has made the players understand their role in this particular system and substitutions will not likely disrupt the system and throw other players into confusion.

Reina / Dudek

Finnan / Kromkamp --- Carragher / Paletta --- Hyypia / Agger ---Riise / Aurelio / Warnock

Pennan /Garcia --- Gerrard/Zenden --- Xabi Alonso --- Sissoko --- Kewell/Gonzalez

Kuyt / Crouch / Bellamy / Fowler

Note that some players can play in multiple roles like Garcia who's more likely to be employed behind the main striker as a shadow striker and Gerrard can play on the right wing.

Basic 4-4-2

The 4-4-2 system actually doesn't differ much from the one above. Just that instead of deploying Garcia or Gerrard as the supporting striker, another striker will most likely takes his place with exclusion of one of the central midfielders. This will be the most played tactics especially in the Premiership.

3-5-2 Wing Back

I remembered we used this tactic and defeated Newcastle easily at St. James' Park last season. It's kinda experimental in another way, as we're not really sure how well it'll work in the Premiership.


Agger --- Hyypia --- Carragher / Paletta


Gerrard --- Alonso --- Sissoko / Zenden

Kuyt/Crouch --- Bellamy/Fowler

This are the few tactics we might use over the course of the season. But as we know, Liverpool has become a team that not only have the strength in depth, it's also pretty unpredictable. Who'll start and who won't will always keep the opponent guessing and it might just spring a surprise like we did against Chelsea last week. Notice the number of players for each position is at LEAST 2 and that will mean if one player gets injured or suspension, we can be pretty sure there will be adequate cover. It's a system made to make the players play in unison, not a tactic that suits their play.


I was looking through the fixture list for the upcoming season and discovered that the most crucial period of our season will be before the Christmas period, where we'll have t play against the top teams away from home. It's gonna be tough, but let's take a look.

09 Sep, 2006 Everton (Away)
17 Sep, 2006 Chelsea (Away)
20 Sep, 2006 Newcastle United (Home)
23 Sep, 2006 Tottenham Hotspur (Home)
30 Sep, 2006 Bolton Wanderers (Away)
14 Oct, 2006 Blackburn Rovers (Home)
22 Oct, 2006 Manchester United (Away)
12 Nov, 2006 Arsenal (Away)

That's not all, but that's one whole chunk of tough games and potential banana skin(s). The thing to note is almost all the games above are consecutive, means we'll play ManYoo then Arsenal next, which is never gonna be easy.

So let's hope that we'll start our engine today with a win, a boost in confidence and rythmn will set in naturally. Let's hope that we'll build on that 2-1 victory over Chelsea and remain consistant throughout the season without much blips.


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