A Seamless Tactical Reintegration Of Luis Suarez Will Be The Cornerstone For a Strong Liverpool Campaign

Liverpool haven’t had a bad start, have they?

They sit atop the Premier League with maximum points obtained, no goals conceded and in possession of a striker in red-hot form. The early signings of Iago Aspas, Kolo Toure and Simon Mignolet have all settled well, whilst deadline day captures of Mamadou Sakho, Tiago Llori and Victor Moses also look astute acquisitions. The squad looks hungry, vibrant and most importantly, as though they are progressing under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers.

It’s been the perfect opening to what promises to be a wholly significant season for the Merseyside giants, and in practice, it can only get better. Let’s not forget, Rodgers has Luis Suarez sat in the stands. He is now just three games away from taking to the pitch for Liverpool once again and presumably especially keen to fling himself back into the thick of the action.

But with Liverpool playing so well, will Suarez come straight back into the side? After all, in the seven games Liverpool have missed with the Uruguayan suspended, the Reds have won six and drawn just the once, conceding only a solitary goal in the process; that compared to the seven goals conceded in the five games before Suarez’s suspension.

In short, yes he will. The fact remains that the former Ajax man is a world-class talent who would improve the vast majority of teams on the planet. So, if Liverpool are going to find a place for him, where is it?

The two berths the Uruguayan has occupied most frequently in his Liverpool career to date are at the spearhead of the attack and as a second striker/number 10. But currently, those two slots are being filled with distinction.

That is, of course, because Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have struck up a marvelous understanding. It would be a shame to disrupt a relationship which continues to blossom as the weeks tick by.

Subsequently, the general consensus seems to be that Suarez will occupy one of the wide positions. And with Jordan Henderson currently performing admirably in his role down the right-hand side, expect the former Sunderland man and loan signing Victor Moses to alternate their turns down that side.

So Suarez, it seems, looks as though he will line up on the left flank. And from an attacking point of view, it will have Liverpool supporters mouths watering. Whilst Henderson will likely maintain plenty of width in his right-sided position to cover for the rampaging Glen Johnson, Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho will be given the freedom to interchange their positions, going in search of the ball and pockets of space. Goals certainly won’t be difficult to come by.

How Liverpool look likely to line-up once Suarez returns

But there have been subtle changes made to Liverpool’s system since Suarez was banned. They look a much more cohesive unit in the current set-up, with every player keen to move the ball on quickly and incisively.

The players are all well drilled and disciplined within their roles and that has made them a remarkably difficult side to break down. In the early stages of games they have pressed relentlessly, and as the matches have drawn on, dropped deeper and maintained an unyielding shape to frustrate the opposition.

This is where the introduction of Suarez could become a potential detrimental factor. He offers a unique attacking dimension, that’s for sure. But he is a player who likes to take on a major portion of attacking responsibility; his standing as the top dribbler and most frequent shot taker last season only back this up further.

Suarez is a free-spirit, and playing at the spearhead of the attack – a position where he played his best football in the infancy of the last campaign – allows him roam and wander wherever he pleases. Granted, with young players like Raheem Sterling, Suso and Fabio Borini often partnering him in those early encounters, it is understandable he tried to take on such a significant portion of the attacking burden

Out on the left, you expect he will have to work back and help out defensively. His remarkable work-rate suggests there will be no issue there, but having the appropriate awareness in those deeper positions is another matter entirely. Whether or not he has that specialized nous in his locker remains to be seen.

The key for Rodgers will be reintroducing Suarez into the current set-up, whilst maintaining this wholly disciplined, tactical unity that he has introduced. If he can do that quickly, then the Reds can be a major player this campaign.

Tactics board courtesy of EPL Index

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball

12 thoughts on “A Seamless Tactical Reintegration Of Luis Suarez Will Be The Cornerstone For a Strong Liverpool Campaign”

  1. Welcome aboard, Matt! (j/k)

    Your second to last paragraph is the key question. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

    1. So many articles along the same lines – baffling. Suarez is LFC’s only world-class striker, yet your concern is how well he can defend?

      I suspect the change will be minimal.
      Currently Aspas is 2nd striker behind Sturridge with Countinho at LM. LS will just replace Aspas. That’s it! Seamless reintegration.
      Of course I may be wrong but just can’t see why BR needs to get more complicated.

      1. Ish, a major requirement of every modern player’s role, including strikers, is to defend, especially crucial, in a fluid system like Rogers’s.

        Ironically, Liverpool built its empire by the likes of Rush, “defending from the front.”

        Aspas is an out and out striker. Suarez is not.

        1. See ‘cnl. onions’ posting. He explained it very well.

          When defending as a wide player, LS has to track FB deep into our defensive 3rd out on the flanks. Worst possible position we want LS to be when we regain possession. When defending as a No 10, he stays central and on edge of our defensive 3rd. Best position for LS when we regain possession. From here he combines with Sturridge to form our counter-attack strike force. Notice this has been lacking in last 3 games.

  2. Coutinho’s been playing a majority of the time down the left so far this season, with Aspas behind the striker. I’d honestly just slot in Luis right in that no. 10 role for Aspas. Luis was dead on 60′ last year when he was tried on the left at the Emirates(also Fulham, I seem to recall?). It seems good in theory because he is a tireless worker, but he simply doesn’t get enough attempts on goal out wide. It’s the same reasononing that eventually pushed Bale central…you want your best scorers to be in the middle of the park and the 2 players with the least defensive responsibilities are the 9 and 10 positions.

    1. Exactly. After that disastrous experiment Vs Arsenal, don’t think BR ever fielded Suarez out wide again. LS does drift wide on his own but from a central striker position.

      NB: Suarez didn’t play Fulham – already suspended.

  3. Definitely agree with the 4-1-2-1-2, the question is where to play Gerrard, in the hole or on the right? Moses to play the opposite wing. Would love to see that happen.

  4. Why do people want Liverpool to play 4-1-2-1-2-?

    Have you seen any evidence in the past year that would suggest that formation would bold well with the current side?

    Also, for the people that think playing Suarez out wide on the left is a mistake, you do realize he plays out wide for Uruguay, right?

    1. 41212 aka 442 diamond midfield. I guess some feel that our 3 key players should be fielded in their best positions?

      Uruguay often adopt this formation. Because it is narrow and lacks wingers, the 2 forwards often drift out wide to provide width. To the casual observer it would appear that Suarez is playing as wide attacker. In his first season with LFC eventho as sole striker, he tended to drift wide left and he provided many assists for Kuyt Maxi etc.

      BTW ESPNFC and Transfermarkt consistently place LS as central striker in their formation for their various match reports. Average Position graphics/stats also indicate this is true.

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