Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing says that Liverpool footballers have to adapt to playing a 4-3-3 system for the upcoming season.
“Every manager is going to have their different ways of playing, and he has brought in the 4-3-3,” Spearing told EPL Talk, in an exclusive interview. “We’ve all got to adapt to it. He’ll know exactly who he wants to play and who to play in those positions.”
Jay Spearing, who was an integral part of the last two Liverpool seasons, mainly due to injury, was solid in midfield. The traditional center mid is looking to, “progress from last year,“ as he wants to, “be more of a regular in the starting eleven.”
It is silly season in the world of European football and transfer rumors are in circulation. American Clint Dempsey has been linked with Liverpool, alongside Team GB‘s Joe Allen.
“I think the likes of Clint Dempsey won’t affect me massively,” said Spearing, “He is more of an attacking forward than I am. Joe Allen, he is an all around great player and he has done really well for Swansea. If he comes in, he is one of the ones that I’ve got to compete against.”
It appears that Jay wants, and believes, Andy Carroll‘s locks of wonder will stay in Merseyside. He even tipped the England international to be a fixture in Rodgers’ side.
“With 4-3-3, there’s always that lone striker up front, so there’s an opportunity for him to fight for his place, to get in, and for people to work off of him. I think if Andy works hard then he should play. He showed exactly what he is capable of in Europe.”
Liverpool Football Club continued their possession-oriented practices at Harvard this week before getting ready to jet to Toronto for today’s friendly against Toronto FC (4pm ET, FOX Soccer). Ian Rush was in attendance for the team’s morning session, joining owner John W. Henry and a sizeable number of supporters at Ohiri Field. The team plan to return to their Harvard University training base by Monday, which is when the England stars are set to arrive.
Thursday night, Rodgers’ Red Army attended a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, where they will take on AS Roma on July 25. Jamie Carragher threw out the first pitch under the lights of America’s most beloved ballpark.
When not passing the ball no more than ten yards, the Reds have enjoyed their stay at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel, in the heart of the Massachusetts capital. Joe Cole told LFC TV that he woke up to watch the latest American Pie film at 4 am Wednesday morning, while the youngsters played FIFA 12.
On Thursday, after nearly two hours of small-side matches, for the third consecutive day, the new manager went through a couple of corner kick routines with his players. Charlie Adam did not take any of the set pieces. Needless to say, LFC looked far more comfortable in the 80 degree weather. A violent storm system swept through Boston on Wednesday night, knocking down temperatures dramatically. Players have hinted that the heat would benefit them in the long run.
Scotland’s Danny Wilson has been enjoying his chance to impress the team’s Northern Irish manager.
“There’s a new manager and it’s a clean slate for everybody,” Wilson said, “We’re all trying to impress in training, and get a spot.
“Every manager’s different, there’s no right or wrong. The new manager has got his style. He likes it short, sharp, and tense. The boys are really enjoying it and it’s been a good preseason so far. We’re enjoying the sessions.”
The defender commented on the type of exercises the players have taken part in, which, he says, differ from a traditional warm-up campaign. However, Wilson and the team seem to welcome the new approach.
“There’s a lot of work with the ball. If you ask any footballer, he’d rather do work with the ball preseason, and that’s what we’re getting [for] at the moment. We’re working hard at the same time. It’s not like we’re having a jolly out with the ball.”
“It’s a massive challenge. You’ve got those two, Carragher and Coates as well,” said Wilson, when asked if he could compete with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, “It’s not going to be easy for me by any stretch of the imagination. I can only concentrate on myself and if I’m working hard then that’s all I can ask for.”
Since moving to Liverpool from Rangers FC, the footballer told the media, “I haven’t played as much football as I would’ve liked over the past few years.”
“It’s a bit of a mess, it’s still a mess,” was the youngsters comment on the situation at his old stomping ground. “There’s still things not sorted out, but I really don’t want to comment about it. Decisions have been made and people are just going to have to live with them and move on.”
In the next few weeks, “I’m just trying to get my fitness up,” said Danny, “I’m trying to get myself into the manager’s thoughts. I believe in my ability, but you’ve got to get fit, you’ve got to get yourself out there, and hopefully the manager picks you.”
“He is great. You pick things up from playing with good players and he is one of the top defenders of the last decade or so,” boasted Wilson of mentor Jamie Carragher, “It’s just little things you pick up from him. Not one thing massively, but you just watch the way he approaches everything, and he is just spot on in everything he does.”
Starlet Raheem Sterling, who earned his first Liverpool debut minutes in a cameo against Wigan Athletic, just months ago, said, “It’s great to actually come away and be part of the squad.
“It was really good for someone like me, a winger. The tempo of the football was much sharper than the reserve team. It was a really good learning experience for me. It was a dream come true really. To just make my debut was really exciting.”
The seventeen year old winger spoke highly of Rodgers‘ personality, approach, and playing style.
“He is brilliant, to be fair. He is brilliant with all the young lads, making us all feel welcome. It’s really nice to know. And the football he is playing is attractive as well, and that’s the sort of football Liverpool Football Club should be playing.”
Sterling looks to improve his game by taking the strengths of the world‘s greatest, including, “the obvious, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi recently. To model yourself after [these] players, you can’t really do that, so you have to take bits of their game and add it to yours.”
One of Rodgers’ phenoms is looking to benefit from the help of Stewart Downing, as he looks to improve his skill on the ball this summer.
“He’s helped me a lot with crossing and stuff like that. A player like that with loads of experience, it’s obviously good to try and gain some of his abilities that he’s got.”
Jamie Carragher was noticeably tired after playing in the hazy, hot, and humid Harvard atmosphere.
“I’ll be sitting down,” said the center back after asking for water before his interview.
In agreement with teammate Danny Wilson, Carra commented on Rodgers‘ approach to the preseason.
“The slight difference is that during the preseason you have your football work and then you’re running. It’s all incorporated in one, so it feels like you’re doing football all the time, with sometimes disguised running, but it’s better to do it like that.”
“Whenever a new manager comes in, it’s a bit fresh and a bit new. There’s a little bit more enthusiasm. Everyone is trying to impress a little more,” Jamie told the press, injecting professional words into the ‘New Manager Perfume’ joke, though he admits it is always hard to see a gaffer exit the Anfield outfit.
“I’ve only known him two or three weeks and he has been fantastic with me, but also with the young players. You’re always a little disappointed when a new manager comes in, because you know it hasn’t gone too well [before], or feel you feel for him, like Kenny, or Roy and Rafa before.”
“It’s been a great learning curve for me and this type of training is slightly different,” said the former England man, speaking at a mile per minute, “It’s something to learn from. He talks with the players about different positions. So, if I play in a team where he has picked me, I can understand what he wants of other players, if I’m trying to organize a team.”
“I’ve still got a lot to learn at 34,” joked the experienced defender.
In addition, Carragher paid plaudits to tiki-taka football.
“It’s silly to say that you want to play like Spain or Barcelona, because we haven’t got their players. There are times in football where a team like Spain or Barcelona come along and it does change football a little bit. Every 15 to 20 years a team comes along and people think, ‘We’re going to try and incorporate that.’ They’ve set something up that people will be talking about in 30 years time. We’ll play a similar system. In a way, we haven’t got Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta. Also, we play in a different league.”
“Some people are big on systems some people are big on players. I’m a bit in between. I think systems do play a part, or why don’t we all just play in the same system? That’s why I think it does play a small role, but at the end of the day it’s about the players. We’ve always had that in our history and DNA, as a team that plays good football,” commented the Red, on tactics.
Carra was asked what the team‘s realistic goals were for the season.
“We should be looking to challenge for the top four. When you look at the competition for the top four, someone’s got to go out. Chelsea are having a little bit of a blast in their spending. We want to get in. You’ve got to be in there. We want to do as well as we did in the cups. The cups we’re fantastic last season! It was days to remember, beating Everton at Wembley, going to Wembley three times, and winning a trophy for the first time in six years!”
Steven Gerrard said that he would rather have medals than a Champions League berth, but his friend and partner seems to disagree.
“I’d rather have a Champions League place this year, because we have enough medals,” said Carragher, laughing as he left the press zone.
Right back Jon Flanagan was strong in his first Liverpool start against Manchester City a little more than a year ago, though the headlines were snatched by Andy Carroll’s brace. Flano saw lots of playing time toward the end of that season along with fellow youngster Jack Robinson.
However, his maiden campaign with his boyhood club did not go as smooth. Jon had good moments, but they were overshadowed by the disastrous ones.
“You’ve just got to move on from them,“ said Flanagan of his errors. He specifically referenced his poor performance at Ewood Park, where his careless back pass saw Doni sent off.
With some international experience, Flanagan‘s competition includes compatriots like Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson.
The prodigy takes after, “one of the best right backs in the country, Glen Johnson. Training with him everyday has been a big help for me. It’s always good competition between us all.”