Liverpool’s anchor-man issue

I’ve had a while to try and get over the depressing events that happened at Turf Moor on Saturday and, to be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

There were issues with that game, issues that as Liverpool fans we are far too used to seeing, particularly in recent years away from home. It harks back to the away games at Newcastle and Swansea last season. The fact is that, just like those two games, we could have played against Burnley for another 90 minutes and we still wouldn’t have scored.

But rather than focus on the slow, predictable attacking display from Saturdays game I will instead look at a major issue for teams who like to control possession. An anchor-man, to sweep up in front of the defenders, track runs, and try to stop counter attacks before they reach the back four.

LFC Twitter was bursting with calls for the introduction of Emre Can during Saturday’s game, although he is far from the finished product and consistency is a slight worry, when we play 4-3-3 he is ideal as the holding midfielder.

Unfortunately for Henderson, Milner, Lallana and Wijnaldum, two of them will have to take a place on the bench (particularly against lower teams where width is necessary and Milner should by no means be at left back).

While Henderson was okay going forward and his passes reached their target, the defensive side of his game needs work. Someone used to playing in that role would generally have mopped up Clyne’s wayward pass for Burnley’s first goal. But it’s nothing against Henderson, he just shouldn’t be playing in that position.

If we are going to continue using the 4-3-3 formation it is obvious that Can should be playing as the anchor-man. But with Lucas aging and probably leaving the club at some point in the next year we need some cover for Can.

Can DM

Any one of those players would be an ideal replacement for Can, with Kramer and Geis being the most likely singings as both are German and have a very high work rate. Which as we all know, Klopp values.

Another way for us to line up would be 4-2-3-1, which Klopp used during his Dortmund reign. If we were to use that formation Can and another holding player would sit behind three attacking midfielders. In this formation it also allows one of the holding midfielders to push forward and join the attack while the other sits back, and vice versa. Meaning that when we attack it would be an asymmetrical variation of 4-3-3 and when we defend it would revert back to 4-2-3-1. The following players would be more suited to 4-2-3-1.

Can DM2

The midfield would likely look like this;


The 4-2-3-1 system would also let us play Wijnaldum in his natural position, and hopefully he makes more of an impact playing there than he did against Burnley.

Whichever system we use one thing is certain, we need another holding midfielder.

Written by @LiamGrimshaw

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