Maybe Rafa have seen my match report on Thursday. Or perhaps he went round the fan's forum for a quick glance across the board. Because today, the manager has came out and shielded Momo Sissoko.
The reason being his recent performance, especially the one against Middlesbrough 2 days back.
The Malian international nearly went to the wrong side of town (you know what I mean) before Rafa rescued him and as cliche and like the previous 385 times, he was supposed to be the next 'Patrick Vieira'.
Judging by the number of mis-passes, which is now noted as 'his usual self', it's not difficult to see why the manager has come out to advocate for the midfielder. He even shared the blame by saying it was his mistake by placing him ahead of Mascherano, alongside Gerrard.
"The other day I tried to change things. I was using Mascherano behind Gerrard and Momo. But because the other team was playing really deep, compact and narrow, it was really difficult for him."Judging by the quote, Rafa seemed to be experimenting with his squad and a brand new 4-1-4-1 formation which is seldom seen as his personal preference is 4-2-3-1 and also due to the influence of the English game 4-4-2 was implemented on many occasions as well.
It's hard to believe Sissoko used to play as a striker because he seemed to have no basic foundation in technique and those attributes required to be an attacking player is sadly lacking.
Against Boro, when Lee Cattermole and George Boateng doing the destructive work in midfield, Sissoko was not allowed any space or time on the ball. Adding to the fact that he lacks the technique and also the composure, he looked lost seemed confuse.
Soon after he was withdrawn, Gerrard was pushed back to central midfield just ahead of Mascherano and Kuyt ahead. That was when the formation started to work and got the result ultimately.
It's fine for Rafa to experiment and test out various systems and players as he continues to learn along the way and gather experiences. This experiment could've gone absolutely wrong if 'Boro scored and Liverpool losing the game but at least now, Rafa will understand the players, the strength and their weaknesses.
In my humble opinion, Gerrard should always start in the middle with either Alonso or Mascherano. But with the Argentinian 'monster' picking up form and now a mainstay in the team, Rafa has an extra worry and I don't know he'll hate that at all.
With Gerrard ahead of the destroyer, Mascherano, and the deep lying playmaker, Alonso, Liverpool have one of the most potent central midfield anywhere. Sissoko should be saved for games where Liverpool is expected to defend a lead or when the 'under siege' alarm lights up.
He's only 22 and still has a lot to learn but under the new ownership, if Momo continues to struggle with form and fails to do the simplest thing with effectiveness, I foresee him leaving the Spanish armada.
I have sympathy for him as he has been through two major injuries in two seasons and I understand that it'll take sometime for him to regain his 'imperious' form last season but that's reality and if you're deemed a surplus, you're out.
Come on, Momo. Show us what you're capable of! We don't call you 'Boss' for no reason!