Liverpool face a tough set of fixture, starting from today against QPR. The Reds face seven games in the next 21 days that includes back-to-back Champions League meetings with Real Madrid and Capital One Cup showdown with Swansea.
Brendan Rodgers will be without his star striker Daniel Sturridge who has suffered a calf injury during training. The England international was on the verge of recovery after he picked up an injury whilst on international duty; his absence, could be up to four weeks, from the squad will force Rodgers to tweak his system a bit.
Sturridge offers a tactical flexibility that other strikers – Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini – can’t provide. His intelligent movement alongside Luis Suarez helped Rodgers to tinker with a flexible 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 diamond from game to game, or within games last season.
“To lose both him and Luis has been a massive blow,” said Liverpool defender Glen Johnson. “It’s more than just the goals, it’s the all-round performance. No defender enjoys playing against him and he gives you options when you’re on the ball.”
So, how Liverpool will line up in his absence? Rodgers may continue with a 4-2-3-1 with Balotelli as a lone striker, or he could use a diamond using Borini or Lambert alongside the Italian striker.
The thing is Rodgers has already tried all these formations before without Sturridge, but without a desired result. Rodgers may use Balotelli as a lone striker with Steven Gerrard operating in the advanced role.
It’s an old myth that legs get old with age, ask Frank Lampard for that matter. In the last match, Gerrard played in the hole for the last 15-20 minutes, and he looked a different player. Why not use him as #10 and play Adam Lallana as a central midfielder? Also, Raheem Sterling could be used as a secondary striker alongside Balotelli.