Five at the back? Why not

When I saw the team sheets for the Chelsea vs Liverpool game and that Brendan Rodgers had decided to deploy five at the back I predicted the game to be one way traffic.

But Rodgers is a brave and ambitious man and he may just have found the right formation for his team to use from now until January when the squad can be bolstered, namely in attack.

What a tumultuous start to life at Liverpool for Rodgers, though. I’m sure he envisaged tough days but nothing quite like this. The departure of Andy Carroll with no replacement lined up and the transfer deadline day debacle that followed was just the start of a series of unfortunate events for Rodgers to deal with. Fair play to the man, though, he has stuck at it and entrusted lots of faith in his youth squad and that faith is starting to be paid back.

Raheem Sterling is already an England international and Suso was instrumental in Liverpool’s fight back against Chelsea last weekend. 

The 5-3-2-1 (or a variation of that) Rodgers used against Chelsea was a little on the cautious side but showed its true effectiveness as the game wore on and Liverpool’s back five were able to nullify Chelsea’s attacks. Luis Suarez’s goal helped, too, and I’m sure that every Liverpool fan out there wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about the consequences if the Uruguayan were to suffer an injury.

The formation’s effectiveness also depends on a strong and careful midfield. That means Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin, who has struggled to settle down in England, need to have better games than they did against Chelsea. Allen, a player renowned for his ball retention skills, gave it away far too easily against Chelsea last Sunday.

Liverpool host Wigan this weekend and whilst it may be tempting for Rodgers to revert back to a more flexible 4-4-2 he may very well stick with the formation that produced his best result of the season against Chelsea. It may be a tad conservative playing five at the back at home but Wigan do provide a serious threat going forward with striker Kone causing all sorts of damage during his first season in the Premier League.

Rodgers is a manager who is not afraid to try out new formations or ideas in order to maximise the full potential of the team at his disposal and this should be applauded. In the long run I think he will prove his worth at this level and restore Liverpool to somewhere near the top four before long.