It was once said that Liverpool didn't have enough midfielders, but those times are long gone, with the Reds now boasting a massive array of talent in the middle of the park. Too much talent, some fans believe.
So just how are the Merseysiders going to fully utilize these players? To answer your question, here are three choices of formations can solve Liverpool's midfield selection dilemma:
You can follow me and track my latest content on my blog, Keep The Ball Rolling.
If the Reds want to try and pack as many midfielders on the pitch as possible, this formation is perfect; fitting in up to 5 midfielders at once depending on who's available and in form.
The 3-5-2 is bound to produce goals, with the creative talents of Charlie Adam (or Alberto Aquilani), Steven Gerrard (or Jordan Henderson), Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson all combining to create countless opportunities for Carroll and Suarez to capitalize on.
Defending could be a problem though; with a lack of numbers at the back. But with Lucas playing in that defensive midfield position, he will be dropping back 9 times out of 10 to help. Downing and Johnson could also get back and help out, but you wouldn't count on it, especially on the counter.
While this formation may not pack in as many midfielders as a 3-5-2, I feel that using a 4-3-3 for the majority of the upcoming season would be a smart move for two reasons:
Firstly, if you look at the clubs in World Football that use a 4-3-3 effectively, you're bound to discover something they share in common; these clubs all play a brand of football that is both exciting to watch and productive in terms of getting results. A recent example of this is of course Barcelona's exploits last season, following in the footsteps of great teams like the Ajax team of the early 1970s who won 3 European Cups with Johan Cruyff.
Secondly, if we stuck with a 3-5-2, 4-4-2 or a similar system for most of the season, it is most likely that Aquilani, Meleires and so on, are unlikely to get a look in mainly because Henderson, Adam and Lucas will fit in better with those formations. A 4-3-3 gives the creative talents of Aquilani and Meireles a chance to run riot and showcase their creative talents.
The 4-2-2-2 is another formation that could be useful for the Reds in 2011-2012 as they prepare to fight for their place in the top four. Often referred to as 'The Magic Rectangle," the system is one where new signing Jordan Henderson could shine.
All in all, it is something Kenny Dalglish will consider but maybe not a formation that he will put to use very often.
Liverpool fans will argue about the formation and starting XI that best suits the Reds all season long, but the reality is that there will never be a set formation or set starting XI.
King Kenny is a smart manager, he'll rotate the players and the systems he uses, keeping his players fresh and motivated and most of all, giving his side a different flavor each and every time they play. It'll keep the opposition on their toes and no doubt help them in their quest for Champions League football come the end of the season.