Liverpool FC: Formation Options to Accommodate Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool's attack is expected finally to be bolstered, as Daniel Sturridge looks almost certain to arrive at Anfield in the immediate future. Sturridge, 23, is frustrated at his lack of playing time at Chelsea, but more importantly to him, the fact that he is utilised primarily in the left-wing spot as opposed to his preferred striking role.
It is understood that Sturridge was so keen to be promised a striking role that he upheld contract negotiations in order to attempt to construct a clause by which he would be effectively promised a striking role when played, but no such agreement was reached.
Nevertheless, Sturridge still wishes to become a Liverpool player, and if all goes according to plan, he soon will be.
Here are some formation options for Brendan Rodgers to accommodate Daniel Sturridge.
This formation has width (providing Stewart Downing continues his form), defensive solidity in Lucas and Stevie Gerrard and creativity up front with Suarez.
Lucas would be given his standard traditional role, allowing skipper Gerrard to adopt a more free-flowing role in order to support Suarez and the attacking players in particular, while Sturridge, Sterling and Downing would be able to use their pace to a) open up gaps for Suarez and Gerrard to run into and b) create chances for themselves.
The downside concerning this formation is the absence of Joe Allen, who has been criticised of late for lacklustre outings but is similar to Xabi Alonso (similar!) in the sense that he is able to dictate the pace of the game.
Overall, a solid formation, and if Suarez and Sturridge are both to play centrally, this is the only option (though players can be switched around them, of course).
3-5-2 (No Wingbacks)
As the title slide reads options, this formation is eligible for use in this article.
Three at the back (Martin Skrtel, Sebastian Coates and Daniel Agger may be a better option though) would allow Sturridge and Suarez to adopt two striking roles while opening up a place for Joe Allen in midfield, flanked by Downing and Sterling.
Positives include more bodies going forward, and therefore it follows logically that there would be more chances created. It also would allow Sturridge and Suarez to be used in their respective favourite roles.
Negatives include a lack of supporting wingbacks, which would hinder the side offensively and defensively.
However, as I'm sure most will point out, this formation is unlikely to be used because it a) includes two strikers, not one, and b) it is weighted offensively and looks vulnerable to sides with effective wingers.
Assuming Sturridge will play in what should be considered our strongest side, this formation is (for me) the best option. Suarez gets pushed a little wider into the left-wing role that he adopts so effectively with Uruguay, while Gerrard and Allen play in midfield supported by Liverpool's rock Lucas.
This formation looks dangerous from all fronts, as Suarez, Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge are all capable of hitting them in. Defensively, the formation is very solid too, as Lucas and Allen can support Liverpool's strongest back four.
Overall, I think that if Sturridge is to play in the Premier League, this should be the side Brendan Rodgers fields.
I would even go as far to say that it is arguably the best side we can field.
If Liverpool were to face a side against which they would have to defend for large periods of the game, this formation would be effective. With Lucas covering the defense, the formation would become almost a 6-2-2, with Gerrard and Allen having to push the side out of defense in order to counter when possible.
Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique would provide the width, Suarez the spark and Sturridge (hopefully) some finishing touches.
Though this is an option, it isn't a particularly favourable one.
The Likelihood, However
Bench: Brad Jones, Nuri Sahin, Andre Wisdom, Jamie Carragher, Sturridge, Suso, Jordan Henderson.
The likelihood is that Sturridge won't start games in the near future, and it is up to him to prove to Brendan Rodgers that he should. If he wants to become a Liverpool regular soon, he has to break into the first eleven, which usually looks like that (above). Slide 3 holds what I regard as what Sturridge should be aiming for.
Thanks for reading!