Liverpool Tactics: Why 4-4-2 Is the Only Way for the Reds to Triumph Next Season

Mitch HubbleContributor IAugust 7, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JULY 16: Liverpool fans show their support during the song 'you'll never walk alone' plays on the PA system during the pre-season friendly match between Malaysia and Liverpool at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 16, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

After a hectic preseason, Liverpool have finally found their feet with a solid 2-0 win over Spanish giants, Valencia. New signings, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing both impressed while the young Jordan Henderson had a quiet game on the wing. 

In a game that turned out to be a rather fiery one, King Kenny fielded a 4-4-1-1 (essentially a 4-4-2) system, with Fabio Aurelio, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson starting at the back and Henderson, Downing, Spearing and Adam in the midfield. Upfront, Aquilani played in behind Andy Carroll, and both players put in solid performances. 

But with crowd favorites like Gerrard and Suarez missing, it brought fans no closer to knowing how the Merseysiders will line up once everyone's available for selection.  

Personally, my view on the matter is this: Liverpool will never have a set starting XI, or perhaps not a set formation, but will be looking to play a system like 4-3-3 for the majority of the season, something that excites me and many other fans.

But over recent days I've been reading the latest tweets and articles from Liverpool fans who believe that for their team to fully utilize the array of quality in the squad, a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 is clearly the best way forward.

It's an interesting proposition, one that I didn't think would interest many fans due to the growing unpopularity of the tired and tested system.

So what does 4-4-2 have over all other possible formations? 

Firstly, the 4-4-2 is perhaps the most simplistic system you could possibly field and indeed the most common throughout the footballing world. This means that its always going to be easy for a player who hasn't had a lot of game time to adapt to the playing style of the Reds.

Personally, this is no biggie, but to some supporters, it's key, given the likelihood that Dalglish will rotate the Starting XI. 

Secondly, a 4-4-2 would make use of Liverpool's wide range of midfielders, and forces them to work hard too.

In the centre, a holding midfielder like Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing or Raul Meireles can shield the defense, while an attacking centre-midfielder such as Steven Gerrard or Alberto Aquilani will travel further upfield, supporting Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. 

On the wings, Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt will be responsible for both attacking and getting back to cover the left and right backs. When it comes to Kuyt's defending, it's not going to be a problem, but with Downing it could be an issue, due to the winger's well-known weakness in defense.

So, the midfield fits in pretty much perfect, but is a 4-4-2 the way forward for LFC? Only time will tell. 


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