Forget the star players.
Benitez needs to focus on choosing his best XI and sticking with it throughout the whole season, barring injuries and suspensions. In this way he’ll be taking a leaf out of the Ferguson and Mourinho handbook when it comes to giving your team the best chance of winning the title.
In that case, the consistency of selection is key to settling the team into a rhythm thus giving them the platform to play football which is both entertaining and effective for getting results home and crucially, away from Anfield.
In my opinion given the players at Liverpool’s disposal (plus two additional world class strikers in the Villa and Tevez mould) Rafa should adopt a more radical tactical formation for the upcoming 2007/08 season. The 3-2-3-2 would be somewhat of a ground-breaker in the Premiership, but I believe it would give Liverpool Football Club every chance of winning the league next season, most factors withstanding.
The formation and it’s players would look something like this.
Carragher Hyypia Agger
Pennant Gerrard Kewell
Essentially the ‘balance’ in the team would be almost perfect with five men defending and five men attacking. With such a formation Liverpool would be able to score freely against teams ‘parking the bus’ at Anfield and their own patch. In reference to the formation, the five attacking protagonists can all inter-change and thereby creating confusion amongst the opposition in terms of their difficulty in picking up set players and so getting dragged out of set positions.
For example, Pennant and Kewell can switch wings as both are adept at using their so called ‘weaker foot’. In the case of Kewell he can also switch with Gerrard and play off the front two because of his intelligent passing and creativity while Gerrard has experience playing on the right side of midfield where he can drive at the opposing full back and whip effective crosses into the box.
Conversely, in this position Stevie G can offer increased stability when Liverpool don’t have possession as he has the energy levels and more importantly, the discipline to track back and help his full back put the opposition’s winger or full back, or both as the case may be, under pressure. Additionally, Tevez can drop into Gerrard’s position if Steven is out wide right and play off the front two in a traditional ‘number 10’ ala Diego Maradonna role.
Consequently Liverpool’s creativity would greatly increase from this past season and see them rectify the absence of goals which has in the end cost them the title. In conclusion, this formation would send out a clear message – ‘you can score 3 against us, but we’ll put 4 past you.’