Why Liverpool Should Sign Sneijder & M'Vila
The Reds came out short on confidence, resolve and class. They showed an amount of deference unbecoming of such an illustrious club.
When you build a side around the 4-3-3 philosophy, things are not supposed to be this way. Passing is the name of the game, as is possession.
The three midfielders must control proceedings. For a great example, look at the job Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta do on a regular basis at the Camp Nou. Sadly, the work put in by Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick this week is also evidence of a controlling midfield presence.
With all the talk of the dearth of options up front, the midfield has been largely ignored in the transfer rumor mill surrounding Anfield. This owes in large part to the fact that Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen are new to the club.
Yet, Sunday revealed the stark truth that, while Liverpool's midfield three are a good setup, they are not great yet. Further, while confidence and form can change over time, it remains to be seen whether the level of talent is where it needs to be.
Here is a look at who floundered Sunday and a few international options available on the cheap that can fill the void.
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The Welsh international picked a bad time to have his worst match of the season.
This is the supposed midfield maestro. This is the man Brendan Rodgers has likened to a Spanish-style midfielder.
None of that was on display Sunday. The three pillars of his post—creativity, vision and confidence—were all lacking.
Allen can be given the benefit of the doubt this time of course. It was his first shot at Old Trafford, and the scene might have overwhelmed him.
But does he really have the talent to fill Xabi Alonso-sized boots on Merseyside anytime soon?
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Lucas Leiva's shortcomings are less worrying.
After all, we know that he can play at the highest of levels. Before the injuries that took over a year from him occurred, he was one of the best defensive midfielders in the league.
For him, the old adage—form is temporary class is permanent—should be reassuring.
For now, you can chalk his mediocre play down to shaking the rust off. After such a long layover, fans must be patient as he regains his form.
That said, it would not hurt to bring in an alternative while this process takes place.
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Yann M'Vila has been a reported target of the Premier League for some time.
The Rennes midfielder and French international plays the style of physical, imposing football that pervades England. He seems a natural fit to make the move.
This summer, the Gunners were apparently put off by an asking price in the teens for the midfielder.
However, now, because of apparent discipline problems, teams are offering as little as £7.5 million for M'Vila.
M'Vila stands all of six feet and is 22 years old. He is an excellent option to complement Lucas in the back of Liverpool's midfield.
Further, when you consider the competition for his signature, it seems the Reds would have a very good chance of landing him.
Finally, financially this makes sense as well. Certainly, the discipline issues make this a risk. However, at this low of an asking price, how large is that chance? Worse case scenario, the Reds sell him back to a Ligue 1 side at a small loss.
The upside is that you get a Javier Mascherano-style player back at the heart of the pitch for years to come.
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A bit old (28)? Sure.
World Class? Without a doubt.
The Dutch international is one of the premier attacking midfielders in all of world football.
His form is a bit off, due to clubhouse issues with his current club, yet his past exhibitions of class make those concerns moot.
Of course he does carry some baggage. His attitude has long been called into question. Further, his wages are far beyond what FSG likes to pay at this point.
However, Sneijder appears set to balk at the prospect of Turkish football. In could step Liverpool with a similar offer.
Even with the all the red flags surrounding him, a player of his level at this price is a must-buy if possible.
He could come in immediately and play the forward role with Gerrard in support, with either M'Vila or Lucas lying further back.
That trio, with the likes of Allen and Henderson in reserve has the looks of a type side. Not bad when you consider the price tag.