Picking a Potential Starting Liverpool XI for 2012-2013
Liverpool will be looking at the 2012-2013 season with high expectations. They suffered a disappointing 2011-2012 campaign, but I don't need to discuss that with you—we all saw it.
While fans have gotten excited about new boss Brendan Rodgers' attack-minded 'tiki-taka' approach, he has told liverpoolfc.tv that, "It doesn't matter if it's Tiki-Taka football or possession football—the supporters and all of us want winning football. That's what the philosophy will be about."
Those words can only be great words to hear from the young manager.
In this scenario, I will be using a 4-2-2-2 formation to pick the starting 11.
Let's do it.
Goalkeeper: Pepe Reina
Barring any major catastrophe, whether it be a transfer, injury or suspension, expect to see Liverpool's No. 1 'keeper between the pipes for every Premier League match.
RB: Glen Johnson
Glen Johnson gets better every time I watch him play, and he's one of those players that has progressed in his abilities in every successive season.
His attacking forays will be valuable for Liverpool throughout the season, making those tearing runs up the right flank.
CB: Daniel Agger
Daniel Agger, along with Martin Skrtel, was a rock in the Liverpool defense last season.
You have to expect him to hold down his spot next season.
CB: Martin Skrtel
Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger were one of the most feared center-back pairings in the league last year.
Don't expect Brendan Rodgers to mess up their defensive chemistry.
LB: Jose Enrique
I was a big fan of Jose Enrique in his first season. He performed pretty well overall on the left side, even though his production dropped off a little at the end of the season, but it was most likely due to fatigue.
Wow, the back line was pretty straight forward.
CM: Lucas Leiva
Right as he was becoming Liverpool's best and most consistent player, a knee injury cut Lucas' season way too short.
He seems to be recovering well, which is good news for Liverpool fans. While it still may be a long shot for him to start the season, Lucas will eventually take up his position in the middle of the park next season.
In the meantime, Brendan Rodgers has the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson waiting in the wings, as well as a potential incoming transfer in the form of Icelandic starlet Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Liverpool has no shortage on options—just none as good as Lucas.
CM: Steven Gerrard
Who else? You can't leave the captain on the sidelines.
While it may be getting close to that time when Steven Gerrard starts getting phased out of games (sorry, Jaime), he still has a starting role with this Liverpool squad, providing he can stay healthy.
RW: Petr Jiráček...but It Remains to Be Seen
Liverpool would do well to snatch Petr Jiráček up at the end of the European Championships.
The man has been a revelation for the Czech Republic, scoring the opening goal against Greece and the winner that put them through to the knockout stages against Poland.
He possesses the pace to get up and back down the right side of the field, and he has shown he has a good eye for goal.
At £3.5 million pounds, according to transfermarkt.com.uk, Jiráček is affordable and at 26, he is in the prime of his career.
If Liverpool don't sign Jiráček, they still have Jordan Henderson on the right side; Maxi Rodriguez is still with the side, although he looks like he's on the way out and a young man by the name of Raheem Sterling is waiting for his chance to shine.
Regardless, Liverpool need to address the situation on the wings.
LW: Clint Dempsey...but It Also Remains to Be Seen
Clint Dempsey had a top-notch season with Fulham and is now facing the choice of where to move his career. Many teams want Demps' services and Liverpool is one of them.
A lot of people aren't happy that Liverpool is linked to Dempsey, saying that he's too old (29), doesn't have the skills to play for Liverpool (need I remind you, Liverpool finished eighth; we are, as it stands, a mid-table club); some people even use the argument that he's American.
All things considered, Dempsey knows how to score goals, which is something Liverpool just sometimes failed to do last season. He can play on either wing, in the middle of the park or even up as a striker.
Liverpool has been keeping tabs on the American, according to the Daily Mail, so it remains to be seen whether or not Brendan Rodgers will pull the trigger on a deal.
If not, he has Craig Bellamy, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling who can play the left flank.
ST/CAM: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez struggled at times being the leading man for Liverpool last season, but with the addition of some offensive players (hopefully) and Andy Carroll looking like he's regaining his form, that burden should be off his shoulders for next season.
Playing alongside Carroll up top, in addition to the emphasis on wing play in this formation, allows Suarez, if need be, to drop behind the big Geordie and play more of an attacking midfielder role ahead of the center middies and between the wingers.
The versatility of his position will be an asset that Liverpool will look to utilize, since Suarez will still be able to be effective as a goal scorer but also as a game-controller, pulling the strings in the attacking third.
ST: Andy Carroll...but Again, It Remains to Be Seen
Andy Carroll scored the opening goal against Sweden in a 3-2 thriller off a Steven Gerrard cross.
If that connection can happen more often next season, Liverpool will be a lot better off.
For some reason, Liverpool failed to make good use of Carroll's huge frame in the box. With the addition of good wing players, this could be the season Andy Carroll shines and shuts all his detractors up.
However, Liverpool are still in need of a lethal goal-scoring striker. Luuk de Jong, and more recently, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Fabio Borini, have all been linked to Liverpool. It remains to be seen if Brendan Rodgers can get his hands on a pure class striker.
What do you think? What would be your ideal formation/starting lineup for Liverpool next season?
Let me know below in the comments section!
YNWA and cheers!