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Thread: Libero or desequilibrante?

  1. #1 Default Libero or desequilibrante? 
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    I've been thinking lately about the things that are preventing us making the step up to title challengers. In my opinion, it appears that the current team and philosophy can go one of two ways. Both differing in their culture and influence. In a way it is fitting that Rafa having studied in Italy under Saachi may not even be aware of what progression will be because of tunnel vision. Many credit Saachi with the downfall of the 'libero', when he introduced a ball playing CD into a back four coupled with zonal marking.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arrigo Saachi
    ďPressing isÖabout controlling space. I wanted my players to feel strong and the opponents to feel weak. If we let them play in a way they were accustomed to, they would grow in confidence. But if we stopped them, it would hurt their confidence. That was the key: our pressing was psychological as much as physical. Our pressing was always collective.Ē

    When attacking it was all about dictating play and when defending it was controlling space."

    Now a libero would have no place in such a controlled and disciplined unit, so thus, the deep lying midfield playmaker was born, at the sacrifice of a true midfield player, and so began the death of the 5-3-2 *** 2-3-5 system.

    The main thing about having a libero in your team is the great amount of concentration you have to have and the ability to know when to stay and when to go. The offside rule was mastered in the hands of a great, having just one person to step up and step back in demanded great reading of the game.

    When quizzed about the progression of the tactical side of the game, Rafa said this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rafa Benitez
    Since you started coaching how has the game evolved tactically?

    The game has become faster and more technical, that is true. I remember when we started and we used a sweeper. Now nearly everybody operates with a flat four-man zone. The formations have also evolved and today most operate with only one striker. It has become more important to get players into the penalty box rather than have players already in there. This is the major difference of the game.

    There are certain things that thrust themselves to the forefront of my mind when thinking about employing a libero in our own system. That is, we have a ready made one in Agger, who is wasted just putting his head on things and tackling.

    Second, we have three class centre backs in Skrtel, Carragher and Agger, and we should look to play to their strengths. Kuyt and Riera are both hard working players if unspectacular, who could provide good wing back support, and this would quantify their lack of influence in the final third.

    The last thing is I feel the game has changed a lot since this inception, indeed Rafa even said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rafa Benitez
    What do you emphasise in training?

    The first priority is to improve defensive tactical play because this is less complicated than the attacking side and is important for success. The most important thing for me is to be organised. I work a lot on patterns of play and, of course, as the statistics prove, counter-attacks and set-plays are very important. When we talk about set-plays, I agree with Sir Alex Ferguson that delivery is everything.
    The offside rule is no longer reliable and is prone more than ever to the whim of an official, so I believe the ability to control the offside mechanism is now largely out of the hands of the managers and players. I couple this with the ever increasing late support to a lone forward as Rafa mentions, and the interoperability of forward lines like Arsenal, Barcelona, United, even Villa and City, Sampdoria and Napoli (to illustrate it's not just big teams) are becoming more and more common.

    For me, this is an upheaval of certain styles of our play, but combines tough rigidness and defensive solidity with the ability to quickly launch counter attacks or build up a sudden five man rapier like thrust forward with the confidence of enough players back to cover.

    * * * *

    The other way I see us going, which is my preffered method is the 'desequilibrante', basically an Aimar or Riquelme type player.

    I don't see Gerrard as that player before you ask nor did I ever see Robbie Keane as that player, I also believe it is the riskiest thing to try as it involves putting all our eggs in one basket with the most brilliant and unpredictable type of player available.

    Maradonna has shown the influence and impact such a player can have on what is a semi-decent side.

    We have the stones in place here, such a team as ours which unifies its strength on the sum of its pieces, needs that typoe of player; indeed it is one of the few setups that will ever allow a player like that to become great.

    For me, this current set of players cannot get any better defensively than we are, apart from set pieces. In open play we are as good as we can be shown by our records, it is time to make the transition we are all waiting for, and hopefully a new arrival in the summer will be a catalyst for a sudden change and fortunes in our forward line.
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    Excellent post. I hope it provokes an equally measured response on the tactical approach of LFC.

    I'll contribute myself hopefully over the weekend.
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    While it is a good post, I think its an awful lot to digest and to then write about to have a free flowing debate on here. Responses usually take a while to construct, and by the time people post points will have been missed or skipped. Great post though, have a rep point.
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  4. #4  
    TheGhostOfDotTeeVeePast is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Great post WTM.

    I personally fear that Rafa spends almost all his time in training on defensive patterns, and that he just thinks attackers should take care of themselves.

    I am not convinced he is going to be able to deliver a free-flowing footballing side.

    I sincerely hope i am proved wrong.
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    Simo429 is offline Boot Room insider
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    great post but why has everyone started posting about saachi all of a sudden
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    classy attacker are hard to get and very few cheap ones turn out to be success... hopefully in the summer we will have 30-40mils to spend on 1-2 classy attackers... and its make or break summer for Rafa...
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  7. #7  
    TheGhostOfDotTeeVeePast is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simo429 View Post
    great post but why has everyone started posting about saachi all of a sudden
    It's because we play in his style, but he should not be held up as a footballing genius.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgster View Post
    Great post WTM.

    I personally fear that Rafa spends almost all his time in training on defensive patterns, and that he just thinks attackers should take care of themselves.

    I am not convinced he is going to be able to deliver a free-flowing footballing side.

    I sincerely hope i am proved wrong.
    Although that is possible I think his Valencia side were one of the best attacking sides I ever saw at Anfield. They had around 70% possession and interchanged at whim.

    That was one of the best free flowing football teams I'd ever seen.

    So no doubt Rafa can do it.

    We are in desperate need of a playmaker though and for all this talk about David Villa it is the other David that we need and that is Silva.
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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. In my opinion, it appears that the current team and philosophy can go one of two ways. Both differing in their culture and influence. In a way it is fitting that Rafa having studied in Italy under Saachi may not even be aware of what progression will be because of tunnel vision. Many credit Saachi with the downfall of the 'libero', when he introduced a ball playing CD into a back four coupled with zonal marking.





    Now a libero would have no place in such a controlled and disciplined unit, so thus, the deep lying midfield playmaker was born, at the sacrifice of a true midfield player, and so began the death of the 5-3-2 *** 2-3-5 system.

    The main thing about having a libero in your team is the great amount of concentration you have to have and the ability to know when to stay and when to go. The offside rule was mastered in the hands of a great, having just one person to step up and step back in demanded great reading of the game.

    When quizzed about the progression of the tactical side of the game, Rafa said this:




    There are certain things that thrust themselves to the forefront of my mind when thinking about employing a libero in our own system. That is, we have a ready made one in Agger, who is wasted just putting his head on things and tackling.

    Second, we have three class centre backs in Skrtel, Carragher and Agger, and we should look to play to their strengths. Kuyt and Riera are both hard working players if unspectacular, who could provide good wing back support, and this would quantify their lack of influence in the final third.

    The last thing is I feel the game has changed a lot since this inception, indeed Rafa even said:



    The offside rule is no longer reliable and is prone more than ever to the whim of an official, so I believe the ability to control the offside mechanism is now largely out of the hands of the managers and players. I couple this with the ever increasing late support to a lone forward as Rafa mentions, and the interoperability of forward lines like Arsenal, Barcelona, United, even Villa and City, Sampdoria and Napoli (to illustrate it's not just big teams) are becoming more and more common.

    For me, this is an upheaval of certain styles of our play, but combines tough rigidness and defensive solidity with the ability to quickly launch counter attacks or build up a sudden five man rapier like thrust forward with the confidence of enough players back to cover.

    * * * *

    The other way I see us going, which is my preffered method is the 'desequilibrante', basically an Aimar or Riquelme type player.

    I don't see Gerrard as that player before you ask nor did I ever see Robbie Keane as that player, I also believe it is the riskiest thing to try as it involves putting all our eggs in one basket with the most brilliant and unpredictable type of player available.

    Maradonna has shown the influence and impact such a player can have on what is a semi-decent side.

    We have the stones in place here, such a team as ours which unifies its strength on the sum of its pieces, needs that typoe of player; indeed it is one of the few setups that will ever allow a player like that to become great.

    For me, this current set of players cannot get any better defensively than we are, apart from set pieces. In open play we are as good as we can be shown by our records, it is time to make the transition we are all waiting for, and hopefully a new arrival in the summer will be a catalyst for a sudden change and fortunes in our forward line.
    Very interesting post. One of the best I have read. I enjoy trying to get hold of these technical aspects of the game so here is my response.

    With the desequilibrante style, how many players would you say that could take on this role, or for that matter could do this role to the standard that would be required. In my opinion these types of players are few and far between, and that's before you look for the top quality ones.

    The libero system is an interesting one. Basically it's using wing backs, right? I agree with the idea of using Agger as the player who can use the ball. But then could Alonso not do that as well? He played there for the reserves a little while ago and everyone was saying he was like Molby. A lot on here have called for Kuyt to play as a right back anyway, and the fact that he has become more defensive to make him a very interesting candidate for the right side. Problem then is what happens when he can't play etc. Arbeloa couldn't do the same sort of job could he? That brings me to the left side. I honestly believe that Riera is the type of player we want up top. He can make things happen, and he can go through players. Granted he's not Ronaldo, but who is? Then it comes down to Aurelio, Dossena and Insua. Out of those three I think Aurelio and Insua could do it. Ideally we would need to strengthen in these areas before the system could be put in place, but again which players would be able to do it?

    Just a few little thoughts as I'm a bit pushed for time at the moment but I will hopefully be able to get back in here over the weekend.
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  10. #10  
    TheGhostOfDotTeeVeePast is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thespian View Post
    Although that is possible I think his Valencia side were one of the best attacking sides I ever saw at Anfield. They had around 70% possession and interchanged at whim.

    That was one of the best free flowing football teams I'd ever seen.

    So no doubt Rafa can do it.

    We are in desperate need of a playmaker though and for all this talk about David Villa it is the other David that we need and that is Silva.
    Agreed, but Rafa didn't build that team did he. Now i am not saying he deserves no credit for it, because obviously they were playing to his instructions, but it is yet to be seen if he can build one.

    I also agree that Silva would be a much better signing for us.
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  11. #11  
    aylesbyred is online now First team regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgster View Post
    Great post WTM.

    I personally fear that Rafa spends almost all his time in training on defensive patterns, and that he just thinks attackers should take care of themselves.

    I am not convinced he is going to be able to deliver a free-flowing footballing side.

    I sincerely hope i am proved wrong.
    Great post.

    Agree Higgs his set up is defensively first and foremost - Carra confirms this in his book.

    Many are looking for the 'Valencia Crushing Machine' but would that team work in the Premiership week in week out, I'm not so sure.

    There have been times where our hunger for the ball has looked second to none; it was a long time ago now but Roy Keane once said he'd never seen anyone as hungry for the ball than a young Gerrard and Murphy at Old Trafford when we won there (remember that....).

    As far as free flowing attacking football goes; we have some spells and some games where we see it - Newcastle for instance, twice on the trot in fact, but it doesn't happen often enough for many's liking.

    Top teams have alot of players who are footballers; we, in some areas, have players who play football.
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    TheGhostOfDotTeeVeePast is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnfieldFaithFul View Post
    With the desequilibrante style, how many players would you say that could take on this role, or for that matter could do this role to the standard that would be required. In my opinion these types of players are few and far between, and that's before you look for the top quality ones.
    Diego.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgster View Post
    Diego.
    Anymore? He's nearly 29. I think we could do with someone a bit younger if we're going to structure the team around him. Or would you argue that the short term winning the league is the important thing, or possbily if it works the long term of league dominance?
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    TheGhostOfDotTeeVeePast is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnfieldFaithFul View Post
    Anymore? He's nearly 29. I think we could do with someone a bit younger if we're going to structure the team around him. Or would you argue that the short term winning the league is the important thing, or possbily if it works the long term of league dominance?
    Diego is 23.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgster View Post
    Diego is 23.
    So he is, that's what you get for doing a quick search.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnfieldFaithFul View Post
    So he is, that's what you get for doing a quick search.
    =D that made me giggle.

    Diego is a fantastic player, and could play the xabi role with greater effectiveness.

    He's not a battler, but he is a flair player. he'd score goals and provide a little edge in assists.

    xabi is more long passes to either wing, diego is about a little one two in and around the box. it's a question of sacrifice...we'll see at the end of the season if we need to replace xabi with him.
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    But wouldn't having a 'desequilibrante' player go against Rafa's philosophy?

    I don't think I could ever see Rafa "putting all his eggs in one basket", I think Rafa will keep his 4-2-3-1 system as it is, but just hope to add one or two better players and hope we just outmuscle the opposition, or just create so many spaces by switching the ball with pace to make an opportunity.

    I loved Gerrard behind Torres last season, but felt that Gerrard missed more through balls to Torres than he actually put through, Kuyt and Babel were also guilty of this. I would have loved to see a Diego type player behind him instead, but I just see pacier wingers coming in to be honest, or even just someone like Kuba and then a focus on quicker full backs.
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    You say we cannot get any better defensively, I do agree with that but I feel the good and solid full backs we have are part of the problem we have in attacking, especially when it comes to supporting our widemen and offering support in terms of bombing forward and making runs to allow the widemen to have an option of either cutting inside therefore having more space to work in or making the pass to the onrushing full back. What we currently have, which is typical of Rafa, are workman like full backs who mainly concentrate on the defensive side of things, Dossena is very attacking as we know but lacks defensively which is why he only gets selected for certain games, problem he has is that he hasn't struck up that chemistry yet with Riera yet for that to fully bear fruit, we did see the two of them linking up to great effect about a month ago, I forget the game now but the two of them really looked good on the left hand side, the next game the inevitable happens, Dossena is dropped so the momentum is lost.

    Our right hand side is a huge problem for me, we have Arbeloa who's maybe above average, does occasionally get forward but not often enough for my liking considering the lack of productivity ahead of him from Kuyt, what confuses me, is more often than not is we end up playing the ball more to the right hand side than the left, the recent Chelsea game was a prime example of this, although we won the game, before the match itself I was sure that with Bosingwa being the more attacking full back out of him and Cole and Kuyt not having the being in the best of form recently too, we would focus our attacks down our left, but that just didn't happen and we again produced nothing from the right hand side which is why people noticed how poor Dirk was. What I will add is that Benayoun has looked decent on the right recently and we've looked more of a threat going forward but he just isn't consistent enough to maintain his recent form.

    Obviously pushing our full backs forward and taking more chances will leave our defence more open to attacks especially from good wingers, this is where a more mobile version of Alonso and Mascherano come in to help break up these kind of attacks in a Gattuso like fashion. We could also play wingbacks so we could have all three defenders of Carragher, Skrtel and Agger, this would keep all three centre backs happy and would allow Agger to move forward with the ball to start off more of the attacks. Skrtel too lately has been showing good signs of bringing the ball out of defence. Carragher of course is an out and out defender and will simply hold between the two almost watching the game as it pans out around him, keeping back just in case one of his last ditch challenges is necessary. Defending, this
    could be classed as 5-3-2 but when going forward it would be a 3-1-4-2 with the correct personnel that would provide us with six players who can competently play a quick passing game and be comfortable on the ball while getting in to scoring positions. This of course is not even close to how Rafa sets up tactically, if he had a bigger budget then maybe we might see something similar but I doubt it.

    The desequilibrante method is more toward the way Rafa thinks, I believe he has his Aimar player in Gerrard and I think Rafa does too, but what we do have is options, if he's prepared to do it Gerrard could drop back to the centre and play a more deeper role or move over to the right, I'm not so sure this is a good move though as what Gerrard offers us in his present position I do not believe can be matched, never mind bettered by any other player in the world. Plus we've already seen what the Gerrard-Torres partnership can do, it's devastating when both are at full throttle so why fix what isn't broken.

    I've heard Diego' name being mentioned by a few in recent weeks but I'm not sure what we'd do with him, we'd have to move Gerrard to accommodate him and as I've said above is something I don't believe to a benefit to us.

    Rafa himself has to change his tactical approach to attacking as the way we play now often looks disjointed in the final third, Mascherano and Alonso seem to just hang around stationary in the middle, Kuyt and Reira cut in far too much with no support whatsoever coming from out wide once we do this, which leaves Gerrard and Torres who are clever enough and have the game intelligence to get in the right positions and make something happen. Going back to the Chelsea game again, we had a corner in the second half and we had three players in the box, at home, big game, need to win, and we have three players up for a corner, that's very poor and I have no idea at all why we did this.

    Overall we need a few better players who can create on a higher level to what we currently have and Rafa has to look at himself sometimes and be more agressive when it comes to selecting his tactics against certain teams.

    We all know he can play good attacking football as that team he created at Valencia was absolutely fantastic to watch and they got the desired results, they made us look like a bunch of part timers when we played his team back then. What is it holding him back or preventing him from playing a similar brand of football?
    Last edited by sevenman; 6-2-09 at 20:00.
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    TheGhostOfDotTeeVeePast is offline LFC Hall of Fame Resident
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLS View Post
    But wouldn't having a 'desequilibrante' player go against Rafa's philosophy?

    I don't think I could ever see Rafa "putting all his eggs in one basket", I think Rafa will keep his 4-2-3-1 system as it is, but just hope to add one or two better players and hope we just outmuscle the opposition, or just create so many spaces by switching the ball with pace to make an opportunity.

    I loved Gerrard behind Torres last season, but felt that Gerrard missed more through balls to Torres than he actually put through, Kuyt and Babel were also guilty of this. I would have loved to see a Diego type player behind him instead, but I just see pacier wingers coming in to be honest, or even just someone like Kuba and then a focus on quicker full backs.
    I would settle for that.

    I just want us to look like a football team a bit more often.
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    Fowi is online now Hall of Fame Resident and Top Poster Who Shook The Boards
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    I think our problems are the players and not the formation as such. If our current full backs are not the answer then that's where the problems are. I also think we have a serious problem on the right of midfield while a player behind Torres wouldn't go amiss either.

    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.

    I'm personally a fan of the libero in a sense that you can give more freedom to one of your centre-backs. I'm also a fan of having a player in the hole in attacking positions as long as that player can justify being given that luxury.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgster View Post
    Diego.
    Expensivolibrante

    Arshavin could've been acquired for less than Keane.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thespian View Post
    Although that is possible I think his Valencia side were one of the best attacking sides I ever saw at Anfield. They had around 70% possession and interchanged at whim.

    That was one of the best free flowing football teams I'd ever seen.

    So no doubt Rafa can do it.

    We are in desperate need of a playmaker though and for all this talk about David Villa it is the other David that we need and that is Silva.
    I agree but I can hardly believe that that was a side managed by Rafa the way Rafa has become. That was as close to seeing Total Football as I have ever seen live, that Valencia side.

    I can't see a flat back four changing any time soon in the modern game, even with the increasing normalcy of a lone striker. Managers need more time at clubs for that type of dramatic tactical change to take hold, and there is too much changing of managers these days for any settled system, let alone a long-term philosophy.

    Excellent post, by the way. Looks like you've read your Jonathan Wilson.

    About time stuff like this was on here. Let's hope this thread doesn't devolve into the usual "you're not a fan" or "you're not scouse" or "you're a Manc" crap that has infested this place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fowi View Post
    I think our problems are the players and not the formation as such. If our current full backs are not the answer then that's where the problems are. I also think we have a serious problem on the right of midfield while a player behind Torres wouldn't go amiss either.

    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.

    I'm personally a fan of the libero in a sense that you can give more freedom to one of your centre-backs. I'm also a fan of having a player in the hole in attacking positions as long as that player can justify being given that luxury.

    Yes, gfood point on both the libero role and the "hole" role, but that would require (as you stated) some freedom and license. We are too rigid at the moment for that, and too defensive-minded. I think the libero can do a kind of dual role - a CB pairing when needed and then dropping into a sweeper otherwise. But it must be someone who is a supreme reader of the game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pippin2 View Post
    Yes, gfood point on both the libero role and the "hole" role, but that would require (as you stated) some freedom and license. We are too rigid at the moment for that, and too defensive-minded. I think the libero can do a kind of dual role - a CB pairing when needed and then dropping into a sweeper otherwise. But it must be someone who is a supreme reader of the game.
    Like Baresi, Beckenbauer, Moore etc...
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    Snippes is offline First team regular
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    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.

    2. I don't agree at all that Gerrard cannot play the role of the "desequilibrante". I think because people have seen Gerrard come from that all round all action tackling one minute and bursting forward the next type midfielder, that people think he cannot settle into being the creative force that this "hole" player of the desequilibrante nature. No, Gerrard is not the dribbling, silky smooth, creative force that Aimar/Riquelme mode. But it doesn't mean that he cannot have the same effect. There are different types of that hole player. Diego Maradona is different from Riquelme and Aimar, Kaka has his own style as does Diego as did Zico.

    The question is not so much how you do it, but if you do it. Are you creating chances, are you causing havoc for the defense so that they are as worried about you as they are your striker and they have to account for you almost with as much marking attention as is given a striker. Over the last year, Gerrard has become that guy. I watched the goal rush episode on the .tv channel today of the goals we have scored this season and just look at Gerrard's goals and assists and movement that creates those goals. Look at the first goal against Chelsea...the movement and touches and passes that Gerrard creates in the heart of the Chelsea defense was super significant to that goal being scored. Gerrard CAN and IS that player now. Now am not saying we can't or shouldn't go after a more traditional

    Aimar/Riquelme/Aguero type player and push Gerrard back deeper in midfielder. Am just saying it ain't broke..why try and fix it? Are we 100% certain that a Riquelme would work in the Prem league? I don't know for sure. If Robinho were available then I wouldn't even blink once before pulling the trigger because I think he would be perfect. But he has a lot more steel to his game plus the natural fluidity that makes him work. I don't know how much steel a Riquelme has or if he can take that beating that Nando took the other day of that Gerrard takes and dishes.

    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.

    This what we all saw and gawked at in awe when Valencia came to Anfield and put on a show. Its what Rafa has been toiling for years to try and create and no question...its hard work, much harder at Liverpool when you are expected to win NOW while you are building up to it as opposed to Valencia where he could develop quitely over time and produce the final product when ready.

    I think we are closer than people want to believe because its not perfect all the time. When we were riding high against Bolton/Newcastle/PNE, and teams were walking off the pitch absolutely knackered and sucking wind like it was their last breath...that was a sample of what that system can be at its best. We are still 2 players, maybe 3 away from the perfect set up. Not far...very close. It can be done...given the chance it will be done if we let the man finish the job and not try and re-invent the wheel midstream. At least that's how I see it.
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  26. #26  
    Fowi is online now Hall of Fame Resident and Top Poster Who Shook The Boards
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    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.
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    One thing that I don't understand is how Benayoun is often deployed.

    Gerrard went off injured against Everton and instead of playing Benayoun behind Torres, who is capable of picking a pass and much more creative, Kuyt was brought inside, where he's pretty much ineffective. Benayouns cutting in may give our right back some space, but I'd rather he played centrally where he can pick a pass.

    Of course this might not work against certain physical teams as he's not the strongest on the ball, but I'm surprised it's something Benitez hasn't tried (given Kuyt isn't up to much good playing there).
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  28. #28  
    Liverdinner is online now Posts With His Faace
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    i suppose you can try to play in essence within both theories and myself i do like the aimar type behind a striker-more for the attacking football it usually produces and in times where defence is needed the am can drop into cm so afairly flexible idea
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  29. #29  
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    Top post.

    For years under Houllier and the first few seasons under Rafa I thought we should play 5-3-2.

    We had a long line of wing-backs that were being made to play as full-backs, as well as being strong in both central defence and centre-back areas, but the game has moved on and our squad has slowly evolved.

    Haven't read all the responses to the OP, but on the Libero then Snipes makes the point I would follow, which is:

    "The sweeper in essence is moved up higher in the pitch infrot of the CB instead of behind him".

    That in turn leads to one of my major concerns about the team at present:
    Mascher - Xabi - Gerrard
    all great at what they do, but are we most efficient with them all in the same team?

    That said, I like the current formation and it's success since we regularly implemented it comfortably backs it up.
    The frequent calls by some fans and some pundits to play 4-4-2 are naive.
    How many of the top teams play true, flat 4-4-2s now? There is a fallacy that just throwing an extra striker up front is more attacking. 4-2-3-1 is more attacking when properly applied because it should fluently move into a 4-2-1-3 when on the attack. 4-4-2s on the other hand are rigid, rely on old-fashioned wingers that are limited and hard to come by, and are therefore predictable.

    Obviously we need more attacking quality from the wide arrears. Arbeloa and Aurelio are average-v.average offensively, as is Kuyt. Benayoun is not a wide player in a 4-2-3-1 IMO. So a large part of getting our attacking game more consistent, versatile and varied would be adding/improving those ingredients...but I do also agree that we need a Silva rather than a Villa.
    Gerrard is not a natural playmaker. He lacks the close control, low centre of gravity, presence to ghost into space rather than sprint full throttle. We also lose his combative qualities, his whipped/direct throughballs, his driving runs. Secondly, if Pacheco keeps developing then we need to find space in the team for him...then Benayoun can be at his most effective as back-up. Thirdly, Torres does not work well with a second striker alongside him and I'm guessing it could be the same for N'Gog (who I have high hopes for).

    Looking ahead to the summer, the kind of squad I would like to see us build is:

    GKs
    Reina
    Cav
    Bouzanis

    RBs
    *replacement for Arbeloa who is would command a decent fee yet is offensively average
    Degen (assuming the best scenario that he gets back to fitness and settles in then he could be a proper attacking full-back)

    CBs
    Carra
    Skrtel
    Hyypia
    Agger
    +youngsters

    LB
    Dossena (again assuming best case scenario in terms of improvement, but he could well be our best attacking left-back if he does)
    Insua
    Aurelio

    CMs
    Mascher (as a more defensive option)
    Alonso (rotating with above depending on tactics and with the below player in for variety/freshness)
    J.Martinez, M.Johnson or similar (replacement for Lucas who is decent but possibly just not up to this league...young players who could even grow to replace S.G long-term)
    Gerrard (versatile as always, but principally playing as the marauding CM)

    RM
    just a case of buying some real quality here...Kuba or otherwise, don't think Kuyt fits in to any top 8-10 european team, anywhere. Maybe Babel is an option (don't understand why he doesn't get more chances there?). El Zhar needs to chance to prove whether he can or can't because he's getting too old to be a reserve-squad player.
    Anderson/Hamill

    LM
    Riera
    +1 other? would be nice to see someone put more pressure on him. maybe a new RM signing would be versatile enough to play on both sides?
    Leto, Weijl

    SS
    *new signing*
    Benayoun
    Pacheco

    ST
    Torres
    Babel?
    N'Gog
    Nemeth


    speculative and a way off I know, but hopefully gives an idea of what I would deem a world beating, realistic squad. aside from replacements (RB/CM/1xRM), it also only demands 2-3 signings.
    Last edited by WineForMyMen; 7-2-09 at 12:43.
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  30. #30  
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    At Liverpool we need to ask ourselves, what system do we play, not necessarily what formation. Firstly, we have all grasped Rafaís love for the defensive side of the game, as we can see that his philosophy is if you get your defending spot on, then you will not lose and then you can build your attack in the hope to win. This sticks up as being true as we have lost the fewest games this season in the league (one), however the problem being we havenít mastered the attacking side of the game, either to the potential of the team at present in terms of the personnel we have, and to the potential of the manager in terms of the personnel we could bring in.

    Given that a flat back 4 is taken for granted in the modern game, and is the first priority for Rafa, we can look at the defence. Rafaís preferred centre back pairing is Carragher and Skrtel as these are our best 2 out and out defenders (stoppers of the opposition if you will), while opportunities for Agger and Hyypia are slim not least because they are not as good at stopping as Carra and Skrtel, while their strengths are in their passing and aerial ability (better all round footballers). So using Skrtel and Carragher as a base, then you might not expect Mascherano being needed in midfield, which in a lot of games this season, you will notice Mascherano hasnít started a great deal, as he is an out and out defensive midfielder, an archetypal player of this description. Assuming our best 2 full backs are Arbeloa and Aurelio, then we have the basis for the rest of the team to operate.

    In front of this back 4, Rafa prefers to deploy the deep-lying playmaker in Xabi Alonso, who is coming so deep these days that he often picks up the ball from behind our back 4. Partnering someone with Alonso herein lays the greatest difficulty in our current squad I feel. If he plays Mascherano with Alonso, then when Alonso picks the ball up, the only player in the middle of the field is Mascherano, unless the wide players come inside significantly. The problem with this is that Mascherano isnít a link up type of player. He could also decide to deploy Lucas Leiva alongside Alonso. The problem with this is that Lucas is some sort of indefinable midfielder whose qualities are unbeknown (heís not a defensive midfielder, heís not an attacking midfielder, he canít be a deep lying playmaker in the side while Xabi is there, so what is his purpose?) and he doesnít have the quality to be comfortable in possession, turn and go forward. The only player who is good enough to play alongside Alonso when we have Carra and Skrtel as our CBs is Gerrard. But, he is most effective as a second striker these days or as the man in front of these 2 midfielders if you like.

    This is what the midfield/defence dilemma might look like:


    ------------------------------------Alonso--------------------------------

    Arbeloa---------Carragher------------------Skrtel-----------Aurelio

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


    The formation we play is designed firstly from a flat back four, this is not in question, and secondly as a mechanism to be conducive to the strengths of our best 2 players, Gerrard and Torres. Attacking wise, we are at our most dangerous when these 2 players are playing near each other and on form. In essence our attack looks like this


    ----------Kuyt-----------------------------------------------Riera-------

    --------------------------------------Gerrard-----------------------------

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


    Assuming that we are most comfortable and dangerous with the well known 4-2-3-1 formation, our problems I believe can be simplified into two areas:

    1) The combination of centre backs and centre midfielders. If you play Carra and Skrtel together which is what Benitez prefers, you canít play Mascherano and Alonso together effectively. This necessitates the signing of a new centre midfielder-Gareth Barry perhaps? Maybe this is the reason Benitez was so keen to sign him, he solves problems in our team that Lucas Leiva canít do at present. While people will say ďoh but he wanted to get rid of AlonsoĒ, then Iíd say that heíd have wanted Lucas to play in Alonsoís position and do what he does. He may have accepted that Lucas wasnít as good as Alonso but the finances made such a switch necessary.

    2) The quality of our wide players. We are not striking any balance between attack and defence between Kuyt/Arbeloa, Riera/Aurelio. It is mainly defence. We need better players in these positions, simple as.

    We donít play a desequilibrante player. Imagine Gerrard as a second striker behind Torres these days. He is neither an attacking midfielder in any sort of mould as Juan Roman Riquelme as people have pointed as being the modern day desequilibrante, nor is he an out and out striker. Alonso is as close to a sweeper as youíre going to get in our team, but he doesnít go far enough forward, he controls our play from the back and the back of the midfield. What we need is a player who can link up between Alonso and Gerrard. This is all based on the assumption that we continue to play Carra and Skrtel as CBs. Who is this player? Iím not sure.
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