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Thread: Libero or desequilibrante?

  1. #31  
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    Wonderful! At last not an "if you had £xmillion" thread!

    I believe the first thing to establish is which players are in our current formation that we would consider irreplacable (or irreplacable within realistic financial constraints). Torres, Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Agger, Skrtel, Carra, Reina are about the extent of it.

    The clear overloading in the middle of the park means and the centrebacks. We can either 'lose' Gerrard to a 2nd striker role or play 3 in the middle and lose a quality centreback for an average, traditional right back / left back.

    Gerrard will be a 2nd striker one day, no doubt, but that would be a waste at this stage of his career. Wingbacks seems the only option, so why not blend both the formations previously and have a sweeper and a flair player.


    ----------Reina-----------
    ----------Carra-----------
    ----Skrtel-------Agger----
    -Kuyt-Masch-Alonso-Reira-
    ---------Gerrard----------
    -------Torres-(+1)--------


    I am not sure the deepest lying CB should be the ball player, I believe they should be the smartest and that is undeniably Carra. The presence of Agger (and to a lesser exten Skrtel who has proved a capable ball carrier) adds the impetus from the back with natural left and right footers.

    Gerrard is not sacrificed as a 2nd striker, meaning he can continue to make an impression on games in the middle of the park with the advantage of Masch to cover. The +1 would be the flair player, the ace in the pack, the unpredicatable one that is not a striker but not a CM. I dont fear for a lack of width here as the ability of Gerrard and Torres to pull wide is undoubted and extremely flexible. Their ability to draw 2 player means that any shortage we may have in the wide areas will be compensated for.

    Cantona is about the best example I can think of for the +1, not a 'hole' player or an edge of the box player but a complete loose cannon. Zola too maybe, but they are both a bit past it. Ronaldinho in more recent years, or Kaka but this is pie in the sky thinking. Aguerro may fit, but he may be too much of a striker for this role and would leave us with a front 2 which isnt my intention.

    This means the addition of only 1 player to the first team, I may be in FM world and I am sure Rafa has already thought of it but I think it makes sense. I am not sure it will offer the beautiful game we are searching for, but the addition of some flair without compromising would be a welcome addition.
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    Cracking post WTM, i must admit a lot of what you said is new to me, i'm not as analytical as most on here when it comes to the overall tactics and logistics of the game but i understand the concepts of it to a point (prefer old school, jumpers for goalposts and all that!)


    Quote Originally Posted by Fowi View Post

    Overall our biggest problem is that our players are uncomfortable with the ball as a unit. Some of it is down to the tactics we employ, some down to coaching and some of it is because of the players themselves.
    True, a more direct approach is needed in the final third, far too many passes from players who regard the ball as something they dont want to have to handle, on too many occasions in the last few games passes were made to players who were not ready for the ball and we were closed down too easily

    Quote Originally Posted by Fowi View Post
    The problem with libero in today's football is that you make the pitch longer for yourself if you apply this tactics. When you play a flat back 4 they can play higher up the pitch. The only problem is that you're putting a lot of faith in the linesmen to get the offside decisions right.
    Most linesmen couldnt call bingo numbers, nevermind a correct offside decision.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevieMe View Post
    Wonderful! At last not an "if you had £xmillion" thread!
    Let the children have their fun you killjoy

    Those threads completely annoy me. All created by ignorant school children who know nothing about eloquent retorts or basic spelling and grammar. Mind you if they weren't in their bedrooms creating these poorly thought out, overtly optimistic threads that shouldn't exists in the world of enlightened Liverpool fans, they would only be in town annoying me when I'm trying to have a drink.

    Right anyway, rant over With regards to the desequilibrante debate, I have been suggesting this system to various friends for ages now but it always fell on deaf ears (probably due to my friends being thick!!). I am so happy that somebody else actually knows what it is.
    I think Diego of Werder Bremen would be quite a logical choice; however it's whether we can afford a player of his stature at the moment...
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    Wonderful thread - thanx!

    Seen from Copenhagen I´d say it´s our wide areas that cripple us - and has been for a decade now (our spine - Reina, Carra, Agger/Skrtel, Alonso/Masch, Gerrard and Torres - is as good as anyones in my view).

    By the wya I think Gerrard should be up there - being a scoring threath as much as possible. In a couple of years he´s passed that role and will naturally drop back on the pitch (ie. as CM).

    Main concern: Our delivery from the wide areas simply isn´t good enough though - both quantitative and qualitative.

    Our wingers doesn´t get good enough crosses in, and is not supported good enough by our backs. This is where we need new signings - and rather a few topguns then yet a string of maybes. And yes, another proved striker would also be nice.

    Regarding the libero, as it´s been said, game´s over for that role. But playing Carra and Skrtel + Masch means we´re not good enough getting the ball forward - we need Agger and/or Alonso in there if we want to play on the floor.

    Greetings from Copenhagen,
    Heimann

    PS.
    Delivery from our set pieces is also frustrating poor - even Alonso and Gerrard seems to
    Last edited by Heimann; 9-2-09 at 19:17.
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  5. #35  
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    Sometimes you want Rafa to release the beast so to speak, I think we can play good attacking football at times, though sides like Newcastle United made us look very good; though the performance the players can take credit for. The only problem is this few and far between, we like to play a "controlling game" with Rafa wanting every player doint their job and doing it well.

    I can see the ideas Rafa has, maybe he feels with the players he has that he'd rather be more cautious and not everyone can play open expanisive football the way Barca play; even Manchester United who are reknowed for their attacking football sacrficed their attacking game and allowed Barca to keep the pull whilst plugging the gaps in defence; which ulitimatley worked.

    That said though, SAF tries to make sure he has a team unit and the work ethic of United is for all too see. Has he changed is approach to a less attack orientated team to that of one who likes to control all aspects of the game and defends and attacks as a team, but focusing on keeping it tight at the back? Has he realised that you have to mix up elements of defence and attack as the game has evolved a lot since he took over and United trail blazed through the Premier League?

    So many questions but I would say United don't set out to defend and are always looking for the win, but their approach these days is much more controlled imo. Maybe this is what Rafa would like, but we lack the personell to do this.

    On side that always impressed me was the AC Milan sides under Fabio Capello, this was a team that controlled all aspects of the game and would often "thrash" teams 1-0 or 2-0, pressing the ball all sides of the pitch together with every player knowing their exact role and when to execute it.

    Excellent OP btw Lach.
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    In the 2002 / 2003 season we played Rafa's Valencia the reigning Spanish Champions twice in the CL and Twice we lost.

    We first played them in the 1st group game at the Mestalla in September were Rafa played Valencia's strongest team in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

    ___________Canizares_____________

    Carboni___Ayala___Pellegrino___Curro Torres

    ________Albelda_____Baraja__________

    Rufete_________Aimar_________Vicente

    ______________Carew_______________

    We were battered 2-0 and according to the report.

    "no Liverpool player emerged with any credit - particularly in the first half - when the home side were too quick, too slick and too good.

    Argentinian star Pablo Aimar gave Valencia the lead with a low shot after 19 minutes after the home side had cleverly worked space behind the Liverpool defence, and that advantage was doubled seven minutes before the break when Ruben Baraja smashed home a long range drive inside Dudek's right hand post.

    We then played them at Anfield in October. Were although Rafa once again played 4-2-3-1

    ___________Canizares_____________

    Carboni___Marchena___Pellegrino___Curro Torres

    ________Albelda_____Baraja__________

    Rufette_________Aimar_________Kily Gonzales

    ______________Carew_______________

    Once again we were battered 0-1

    "Liverpool fell behind after 33 minutes following a sustained spell of Valencia pressure. From one of their many attacks, the ball fell kindly to Rufete outside the area and his low left footed drive was deflected past Jerzy Dudek by skipper Sami Hyypia."

    Obviously Rafa is looking to build a similar side to his Valencia crushing machine.

    Looking at those team sheets our wide men are obviously miles behind Rufete, Vicente and Kily Gonzales. I can't quite remember how good the full backs were but as they won a few things I'm assuming they were better than what we have currently.

    Obviously the biggest difference between the teams is Aimar although with Benayoun we have a cheaper version.

    The only problem I see is where was the Gerrard type player in Rafa's Valencia???
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thespian View Post

    Obviously Rafa is looking to build a similar side to his Valencia crushing machine.
    I really don't think he is you know. If he was, he'd have done it by now. Remember that Valencia side you printed was that of Rafa's second season there. The line-ups may be similar, but the way we play is too obvious, too easy to defend against, while that Valencia side walked past us. But that may be due to the fact that we were so poor, as poor as Newcastle were against us maybe? What do you think?
    Last edited by LFC_Fan_1_2; 9-2-09 at 19:38.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    I really don't think he is you know. If he was, he'd have done it by now. Remember that Valencia side you printed was that of Rafa's second season there. The line-ups may be similar, but the way we play is too obvious, too easy to defend against, while that Valencia side walked past us. But that may be due to the fact that we were so poor, as poor as Newcastle were against us maybe? What do you think?
    I agree we were very poor I don't think we ever saw the balll.

    However I do see definite similarities between the two sides. The personnel is different but the tactics and formation is the same. For starters Valencia always played a pressing game and used a definite 4-2-3-1 formation.

    Baraja and Albelda where the Alonso and Masch while Gerrard plays the Aimar role behind the lone striker. Carew back then was in his pomp and was a faster and more clinical Crouch.

    Improve our wide areas either at full back or the Wings and I think we will be even better than that team.
    Last edited by Thespian; 9-2-09 at 19:43.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thespian View Post
    I agree we were very poor I don't think we ever saw the balll.

    However I do see definite similarities between the two sides. The personnel is different but the tactics and formation is the same. For starters Valencia always played a pressing game and used a definite 4-2-3-1 formation.

    Baraja and Albelda where the Alonso and Masch while Gerrard plays the Aimar role behind the lone striker. Carew back then was in his pomp and was a faster and more clinical Crouch.

    Improve our wide areas either at full back or the Wings and I think we will be even better than that team.
    Improve the wide areas is what we all want, but Rafa insists on playing Kuyt and Riera first choice, mainly because I believe he thinks they offer better defensive protection. Now, at Man United, they have Ronaldo and Tevez out there at the moment, and they don't even look close to conceding, so I think he might be wrong with this particular defensive philosophy of his.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    Improve the wide areas is what we all want, but Rafa insists on playing Kuyt and Riera first choice, mainly because I believe he thinks they offer better defensive protection. Now, at Man United, they have Ronaldo and Tevez out there at the moment, and they don't even look close to conceding, so I think he might be wrong with this particular defensive philosophy of his.
    But wouldn't you say that Tevez and Rooney are defensive strikers as they chase after the ball and snap at defenders ankles?? In fact I even saw Berbatov chasing back at West Ham so is Rafa really wrong because Fergie employs the same tactics.

    Despite all their success Man U still defend from the front.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thespian View Post
    But wouldn't you say that Tevez and Rooney are defensive strikers as they chase after the ball and snap at defenders ankles?? In fact I even saw Berbatov chasing back at West Ham so is Rafa really wrong because Fergie employs the same tactics.

    Despite all their success Man U still defend from the front and despite what the press may say still rely heavily on Ronaldo.
    Sure things, but they also advance a lot more forward than our wide players do. Riera barely even comes inside as well.
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    Brilliant post. as a relative newcomer to these boards, I'm often struck by the frequency of banal offerings. This however is wonderful! Nice one!

    'Where Arrigo Sachi and Rafa's philosophies merge is quite simple. All players must play an equal part in a system and be just as important in attack as they are in defense. The mentality of all players is that like a symphony, you can great individual instrument players but its perfect when you work together as a unit going forward and coming back to defend. Sacchi calls it the "script of football". Its not all defense/suffocating football...its a sense of unity....total football with metal in it.'

    I totally agree with the above. The movement of the team, as a unit, in perfect harmony was the hallmark of Saachi's greatest team. It was also what Rafa achieved with Valencia, and it's what he is trying to do here, albeit in a style more suited to the speed of our game in England.

    Someone mentioned the superb display that Rafa's Valencia put on against us a few years back - the passing, the pressing, the interchange bewteen players who were equally comfortable on the ball and more than happy to take it when in space. They moved as one unit, united and dedicated - a true team display. I really don't think the idea is that different to what Shankly brought in - it's just been adjusted to the modern day game.

    I remember the flowing football of the mid - late 80's - the passing and movement of that team was amazing but before that came to be our style, we were more of a machine, taking the ball into the opposition half and daring them to come and get it, as someone once said. There were loads of games where we broke teams down and controlled possession but didn't win by huge margins. We did however press opposition teams into submission. I dug out an old video '100 years of LFC' and watched it yesterday - there's a lot of snippets on there about the whole Shankly way of playing -and it reminded me a little of Rafa. And lo and behold, today someone posted this debate.

    Anyway, my tuppence worth. Top, top post and real food for thought on a cold night.

    YNWA
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    Also lets consider that Valencia won the league twice with teams that scored less than 80 points. Thats almost unthinkable in this country. Were they that good? Maybe in fits and starts but I don't think they were as consistent as people mention. I mean, in between those title winning seasons, they finished 5th! Whats that all about!? And they didn't leave an impression on the Champions League either. Do you think they might have been a tad overrated, not by some, but by all on here? Just playing Devil's advocate here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    Sure things, but they also advance a lot more forward than our wide players do. Riera barely even comes inside as well.
    You are absolutely right. But I would say that has more to do with the quality of the players as opposed to any managerial tactic.
    Teves and Rooney £62 million
    Kuyt and Riera £17.5 million
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    Paullfc1976 is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    Sure things, but they also advance a lot more forward than our wide players do. Riera barely even comes inside as well.
    Riera has started coming into Midfield too much of late; he does not hug the touch line as much he did when he 1st came to us; but then our fullbacks do not overlap as much in here in lies the problem; United have overlapping fullback who give them their width, occupying the oppostion fullbacks, thus allowing the likes of to come inside more and offer a goal threat.

    Now playing with two DM should give us enough protection at the back to allow our Fullback to bomb on and allow the likes of Kuyt and Riera to add support to Torres; but we don't IMO see this enough.
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    I think we can conclude that in the 4 wide areas, we could do with strengthening. But everywhere else, we're just dandy, thats what I honestly believe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    I think we can conclude that in the 4 wide areas, we could do with strengthening. But everywhere else, we're just dandy, thats what I honestly believe.
    Some of us were saying exactly that during pre-season. I still believe this to be the case. Sort those positions out and we really would be on par with united.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevenman View Post
    Some of us were saying exactly that during pre-season. I still believe this to be the case. Sort those positions out and we really would be on par with united.
    Actually I think we are OK at left back, we've enough options there. But for me, I'd bring in Micah Richards, David Silva and Ashley Young for our wide areas. I'd say about £50m for the three. Thats the kind of investment we need.
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    Paullfc1976 is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    I think we can conclude that in the 4 wide areas, we could do with strengthening. But everywhere else, we're just dandy, thats what I honestly believe.
    We could easly put Gerrard out wide on the right because he can cut in and also stay wide and do a very good job out there just like Riera does on the left. But we require a better RB then Arebeloa, who I do rate, but we need someone who is much better going forward.

    We can concentrate on getting a Midfield playmaker to play behind Torres, though Gerrard is our best option currently for that role.
    Last edited by Paullfc1976; 9-2-09 at 20:11. Reason: ....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paullfc1976 View Post
    We could easly put Gerrard out wide on the right because he can cut in and also stay wide and do a very good job out there just like Riera does on the left. But we require a better RB then Arebeloa, who I do rate, but we need someone who is much better going forward.

    We can concentrate on getting a Midfield play make to play behind Torres, though Gerrard is our best option currently for that role.
    I wouldn't consider moving Gerrard from behind, or even next to Torres.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    Actually I think we are OK at left back, we've enough options there. But for me, I'd bring in Micah Richards, David Silva and Ashley Young for our wide areas. I'd say about £50m for the three. Thats the kind of investment we need.
    I'd take that like a shot! We'd be lucky to get the three for 50million though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevenman View Post
    I'd take that like a shot! We'd be lucky to get the three for 50million though.
    Yeah we would. Break it down to Young for £22m, Silva for £21m and Richards for £7m (Man City don't want to keep him, they want instant success now)

    This team is my dream at this very point in time

    -----------------------Reina-----------------------

    --Richard----Carragher-------Skrtel-------Aurelio---

    ---------------Alonso-----Mascherano--------------

    ---David Silva---------Gerrard------------Young-----

    ----------------------Torres-----------------------
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    Yeah we would. Break it down to Young for £22m, Silva for £21m and Richards for £7m (Man City don't want to keep him, they want instant success now)

    This team is my dream at this very point in time

    -----------------------Reina-----------------------

    --Richard----Carragher-------Skrtel-------Aurelio---

    ---------------Alonso-----Mascherano--------------

    ---David Silva---------Gerrard------------Young-----

    ----------------------Torres-----------------------
    Young would be far too expensive and I think we should stick to Riera anyways, Silva is good shout, Richards maybe, because Man City will not ask for over the odd price for him as they don't exactley need to money

    But that said, they are a club looking to build a future and I can imagine any manager whether it be Hughes are not, will want to sell one of their best young prospects.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paullfc1976 View Post
    Young would be far too expensive and I think we should stick to Riera anyways, Silva is good shout, Richards maybe, because Man City will not ask for over the odd price for him as they don't exactley need to money

    But that said, they are a club looking to build a future and I can imagine any manager whether it be Hughes are not, will want to sell one of their best young prospects.
    I'm been watching Young these last few months and I've been stunned at how good he actually is. I'm not sure if he's signed a contract with Villa since he signed in January 2007, and if he hasn't, then I think we should go for him. Man U, Arsenal are sorted for wingers, I think it might be between us and Chelsea. Speculation will be massive, and that stuff turns players heads. How much do you think he's worth then?
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    I'm been watching Young these last few months and I've been stunned at how good he actually is. I'm not sure if he's signed a contract with Villa since he signed in January 2007, and if he hasn't, then I think we should go for him. Man U, Arsenal are sorted for wingers, I think it might be between us and Chelsea. Speculation will be massive, and that stuff turns players heads. How much do you think he's worth then?
    He is probably worth about the £20m mark; but Villa win probaly slap on about £25m on him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paullfc1976 View Post
    He is probably worth about the £20m mark; but Villa win probaly slap on about £25m on him.
    I'd say he's worth the same as Shaun Wright-Phillips was in 2005, about £22m I think, and if someone came in for him, Villa should accept this figure, provided its us of course Martin O'Neill has a warped sense of value though so who knows if he goes and how much for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bain View Post
    I'd say he's worth the same as Shaun Wright-Phillips was in 2005, about £22m I think, and if someone came in for him, Villa should accept this figure, provided its us of course Martin O'Neill has a warped sense of value though so who knows if he goes and how much for.
    And imagine if the whole saga gets drawn out like the Barry one, he'd go mental would MON
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    Martin O'Neill has experience of letting big names go to Liverpool
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    Quote Originally Posted by waittillmay View Post
    I've been thinking lately about the things that are preventing us making the step up to title challengers.
    Very good post, but just wanted to pick up on this bit before i reply...Have we not stepped up this season as in challenging???..Or do you mean maybe winning the league moreso than challenging??..Just me being nit-picky after reading this part.....................

    In terms of the evolvement of our team i think what we do need is a desequilibrante and in the 'Hole' position but i would do things slightly different if i was in charge to what of course Rafa is currently doing with the squad he has, but he is doing a good job with this 4-2-3-1. We also need pace IMO on the right hand side, either from right back or more importantly right wing.

    With the current squad and with additions to the right wing and just behind the striker we could become a really potent attacking team to go with the defensive solidity we have as a team unit.

    I can pick 2 players we could sign that IMO could fill those positions but there are others to. I'd love Lennon from Spurs as he is direct, skilful and pacy and on our right side would cause danger to the opposition, but i'll go for Antonio Valencia from Wigan, who is quick, strong, skilful, direct and also has a very good end product with goals and assists.

    For the desequilibrante role, which is the 'Hole' position for our one it's a little more tricky as to who we could get. Stevie G plays there now and Yossi for me can do the job to a good level to if given the chance, but i think someone of top class ability should come in and do the job for next season and then we have a spine of Stevie, ?????? and Torres.

    Who we could get....Maybe Diego, maybe Modric, maybe Iniesta, maybe Van Der Vaart....I personally would go for Iniesta if we could get him but in realistic terms there is no chance so i would have a punt at Modric. He's not done as well for Spurs but that could be due to being there and how rubbish they've been. He is still a class player and with a years experience of our league and playing in between Gerrard and Torres he would superb for us.

    In our current 4-2-3-1 formation i could see us lining up like this next season at times though not thinking about new players elsewhere, just the 2 i've signed in the 2 main strengthening positions for me:-

    -----------------------------Reina---------------------------

    Arbeloa------------Carra--------------Agger------------Insua

    ------------------Gerrard------------Alonso-----------------

    Valencia-------------------Modric--------------------Riera

    --------------------------Torres--------------------------

    I think this would be very potent and give us the pace and flair on the flanks with Valencia and Riera, plus the craft and guile through the centre with Gerrard coming through and Modric linking and feeding Torres.

    Just 2 additions for me that would give us more cutting edge and 2 players that now have PL experience (Yes i know that doesn't always work ) to go with there massive quality. Not to mention Valencia and Modric are still young to which would be great. Others might want different players but it's just 2 i've thrown into the mix.

    We could also maybe sign another right back and someone with skill and pace, plus defensive ability would be nice to rotate with Arbeloa but i can't be bothered just for now thinking about who i would want and have just signed Modric and Valencia and hope Modric is good enough for the role behind Torres. I think he would be.

    My own ideas of course differs slightly from Rafa's in that my favourite formation is 4-1-3-2 that switches to 4-4-2 when the central attacking midfielder drops back in when not in possession. The 1 in the formation would be Mascherano and would basically become a 3rd centre half allowing the full backs to bomb on. Similar to what Brazil do a lot and why they allow there full backs to get forward.

    With the above team my 11 would look like this with Masch being swapped for Xabi of course:-

    ---------------------Reina---------------------

    Arbeloa--------Carra-------Agger---------Insua

    -----------------Mascherano------------------

    Valencia-------------Gerrard-------------Riera

    -------------Modric--------------------------

    -------------------------Torres---------------

    Basically Modric would be behind Torres but more up with him and allowing Gerrard to move up and almost make it a front 5 and with the 2 wingers stretching teams to allow space for Gerrard, Modric and Torres to work and then the full backs come up on each side to stretch teams even more, especially at home.

    With the touch, pace, skill, vision and goals amongst the front 5 especially i think we'd rip teams apart and all 5 have good close control and ability to see a pass in tight spaces so could open up the 'Park the bus' teams and with our wingers and full backs stretching the play it would give us space in the middle.

    We could change it to 4-4-2 or even 4-2-3-1 for away games and tougher games and alow flexibility in our play and the importance of the desequilibrante in our team who would be Modric we'd have a real potent weapon working in between Gerrard and Torres.

    This of course would work with the way Rafa likes to play and of course the front 5 would be the same even in a 4-2-3-1 as Gerrard would step forward and of course Alonso would most likely play in the 2-3-1 front 6 whereas Masch would have to play in my 1-3-2 as he is pure defensive genius in front of the back 4.

    These are just a few of my ideas for how we could improve and thinking about that 'Hole' player and who we could get. Others may have a better player than Modric but i rate the lad highly and feel he is wasted at Spurs and would suit us and the 4-2-3-1 formation perfectly and with Gerrard, Torres, Valencia and Riera would make a really potent front 5.

    So, i'd say a 'Desequilibrante' would be a perfect addition to our team and to play in the 'Hole' position and if we get a right winger to for next season and maybe bring a couple of better squad players in as back up we could be even better next season for a challenge and win in the league than we are having this season.
    Last edited by Gazza74; 9-2-09 at 21:49.
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  30. #60  
    Target-Man is offline Academy prospect
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snipes View Post
    Great to see someone taking the time to put in a well thought out thread and post and opening it up for discussion instead of the nonesense that detoriorates into petty abuse.

    However, there are a few points that in my own opinion, might differ from the points made here.

    1. The Libero debate...in the 70s and 80s and into the 90s, central defenders were essentially one good solid shut down man-marker (like a Jurgen Kohler for Germany was in the late 80s and 90s) who's job was to latch on the other team's best striker (one of the best battles I remember seeing from a young age was Kohler vs Marco Van Basten in the Euro '88 semis). This "Stopper" was the backed up by a sweeper - Klaus Augenthelar was Germanys for many years before Germany and even Italy found a Sweeper with better ball skills who was more comfortable moving the ball forward from the back and joining into the attack - Lothar Mathaus/Matthias Sammer for Germany who all started as midfielders earlier in their careers before settling into the libero role where they could use their ball skills to full effect like Franz Beckenbauer - the Godfather of Liberos. Franco Baresi was the other true libero. The reason why the libero started to die a natural death was managers like Sacchi started to demand that their central defenders, including stoppers like Kohler, needed to be better ball players, both of them. So you slide your sweeper up alongside your stopper to form 2 CBs...and then use your Mascherano/holding type defensive midfielder to provide cover for your CBs now that they don't have that sweeper as a safety net behind them. The sweeper in essence is moved up higher in the pitch infrot of the CB instead of behind him....so, getting rid of the libero in my opinion is actually an offensive, not defensive philosophy.

    The libero cannot work in the football we play today any more because we simply don't need it. Our CBs are all intelligent enough to play the offside trap/line...they are all supposed to be good enough on the ball unlike stoppers of days old like Kohler who treated a football possession like something with a contagious disease. If we play Agger as a sweeper/libero, assuming Carra is the stopper, it still leaves Skrtel out in the cold. Also, because you have 2 strikers these days in most teams, you can't mark one and leave the other one running free hoping the libero will locate them when necessary.

    Bottom line, you can't say playing Agger as the libero and dropping Mascherano as our DM is making us more offensive because as defensive as Mascherano is, and as good on the ball as Agger is, Mascherano gives the team more offensive outlooks than Agger can. And, you cannot have both of them and incorporate too many CBs so something has to give. The libero system is outdated and dead to today's football. It just is...and this is why no one else uses it anymore.
    .
    This is a great debate, and I am very sad that I have missed it in its early stages.

    I think I have to comment a bit on the libero thing, though. Snipes, it seems like you are saying that a libero system would have one stopper and one libero, but if you look at the teams who used this system in the '70s, '80s and '90s you would see that they usually had two CBs just like a regular back four, and a libero in addition to that. Germany in 1990 had Kohler and Buchwald as the stoppers with Augenthaler as the libero and Berthold and Brehme as the wing backs.

    The two CBs would man mark, and while on the defensive the libero would cover the gaps left by having wing backs in advanced positions and/or created by forwards dragging a man marker wide. The difference between a libero and sweeper lies more in the interpretation than in the positioning. A "sweeper" is thought of mostly in defensive terms as "sweeping up" the "garbage" that is not picked by the stoppers. A libero, being a "free man" is thought to be free to join midfield and attack when he chooses to, often carrying the ball himself. Coming from a defensive position through a midfield of players already marking each other, he becomes an attacking threat by creating local overload situations and by exploiting the seams in the defensive positioning thereby gaining ground unmarked. If played to perfection, it could often lead to a libero getting as far as into the penalty box before someone would pick him up.

    Actually, I think that when we have the ball, we position ourselves in a way not too dissimilar to if we actually had three centre backs. Alonso or Mascherano often play in a very withdrawn central role with Carragher and Skrtel moving wider than centre backs normally would in a flat back four, and with Arbeloa and Aurelio or Dossena essentially playing like wing backs. That means that we often have three players spread across the pitch at the back with a DM slightly more advanced than the to CBs.

    The difference against Portsmouth again seemed to have more to do with the interpretation of the roles than with positioning. With a DM occupying the central defensive position slightly ahead of the CBs, he is the one who moves forward first. With Carragher as a CB occupying the central position against Portsmouth, he would stay behind while Agger and Skrtel were allowed to move wider and further forward.

    I don't know if you agree, but that's what I see happening quite often.

    I don't recall the classic libero formations emphasizing closing down the opposition early. Instead, they emphasized flexibility of formation and freedom of movement for certain key creative players, as well as quick counterattacks with the libero joining the attack and exploiting the seams of the opposition formation.

    When AC Milan started using a flat back four, they also started applying much higher pressure and moving the defensive line much higher than Italian teams normally would at the time.
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