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Borini becomes LIverpool’s First Signing, and Maxi departs

So, we finally have Brendan Rodgers’ first transfer market dealing, and I have to say its not a bad one at all.  For a relatively low fee of 8 million pounds, Liverpool have signed the services of a 21 year old Italian international, Fabio Borini.  With him being only 21, he is one that would be there for the future, but of course there is always a gamble with any new player, especially one so young.  However, for that fee, you have to be fairly impressed with the business done.  It certainly more than makes up for any disappointment Liverpool fans may have had over the Sigurdsson deal.

So what will Borini’s transfer mean for Liverpool?  Well first of all, Borini has worked with Rodgers before, so that means that he is already aware of Rodgers’ training regime and playing system.  With it being Rodgers’ first signing, and with there being no mention of him being bought for the future, I would imagine that he would be going straight into the first team, and more likely than not he will be starting.  Of course then there is the question of what system Brendan Rodgers will elect to use at Liverpool.  He has used 4-3-3 in the past, but of course that may not be the best formation for him to use with the squad he currently has available.  The other alternative would be to stick to a 4-2-3-1 system that we have seen in the past.

Let’s start first with 4-2-3-1, and let’s see what the starting line ups might be.  This of course assumes that the squad is to stay the same, nobody else leaves and nobody else comes in (which I’ll admit is unlikely).   I can maybe see 2 potential formation, and it may well depend on opposition:

Reina
Johnson – Skirtel – Agger – Enrique
Gerrard – Lucas
Suarez – Henderson/Aquilani/Cole – Sterling/Downing
Borini

The above seems to me the most likely system that fits into the Rodgers philosophy.  Sterling may well get the nod ahead of Downing simply because his pace would be useful, but I still think Downing has a good chance of being the started.  Even without Carroll, assuming he starts to play low balls into the box (instead of high balls to Carroll) then that would give ample opportunities for Borini or Suarez to get in and score.  Of course, Gerrard is better further forward, but then I would rather see Gerrard deeper, and Henderson, Aquilani or Joe Cole playing further forward, than having Charlie Adam playing the deeper role.  I also think that with Gerrard and Lucas more central, the passing possession game that Rodgers wants to play is more likely than with any other player there.

The other potential line up using the same formation would be one that might be used against slightly more physical teams, where a bigger presence might be required.  Here I would think Andy Carroll would get the nod:

Reina
Johnson – Skirtel – Agger – Enrique
Gerrard – Lucas
Suarez – Henderson/Aquilani/Cole/Borini – Downing
Carroll

The inclusion of Carroll would probably see Downing start too for his ability to put the balls in.  I could still see both Borini and Suarez playing, although I would think it less likely.  I would potentially see this being played against the likes of Stoke, where Carroll’s physical presence is likely to be more effective than the slight figure of Borini.  I don’t necessarily believe that the inclusion of Carroll means that we would forego the passing game, but he would give a different outlet against teams that park the bus.

In both formations I have left out Carragher.  Now this is no slight on his abilities, but I see him playing less over the coming seasons, assuming there are no injuries to Skirtel or Agger.  We may even see Coates play over Carragher, simply to give the youngster some much needed experience.  Jamie still has one thing going for him over the others, and that is the passion.  Nobody can accuse him of lacking that, and he will do everything within his power to stop that ball crossing that line; however I just feel that Skirtel and Agger maybe offer a more ideal partnership, and certainly more pace.

So what if Rodgers elects to go with his seemingly more favoured 4-3-3 formation?  Well this is slightly tougher, as it is not something that we have seen from Liverpool.  Again I’ll put up two different formations, because I do think that you need to have a plan B for those teams that decide to come to Anfield with the hope of coming away with a point.  The first line up is below:

Reina
Johnson – Skirtel – Agger – Enrique
Gerrard – Lucas – Henderson/Aquilani
Suarez – Borini – Sterling/Downing

This to me seems the most likely given our current squad.  If you are going to go with 4-3-3, then the two wider attacking players are going to have to be quick, whilst the 3 in the centre of the park will be responsible for controlling the game.  Obviously Lucas would drop deeper with Gerrard and Aquilani or Henderson spreading the ball around the park.  Against Borini gets the nod up front as the main striker with Suarez on the right and either Sterling or Downing on the left.  The winger will need to have pace, and both Sterling and Downing have that, although Downing seemed reluctant to show that pace last season, except in maybe one or two occassions.

The other line up, need not necessarily be one just for those parking the bus.  It is a long season, and no doubt the full squad will need to be utilised.  I also believe that having a varying lineup will make us less predictable, and thus more likely to cause problems to the opposition.

Reina
Johnson – Skirtel – Agger – Enrique
Gerrard – Lucas – Henderson/Aquilani/Adam
Suarez – Carroll – Borini/Sterling/Downing

This time Carroll gets the nod up front. 

Tough to see how this would work out, Lucas would still be the holding player, Gerrard would definitely be in the middle, but who would accompany him.  My preference would still be Henderson or Aquilani, but with Carroll up top there is of course potential for Adam to be given a shot.  I think Adam started well but seemed to give up once the chance for fourth place became difficult (after we lost to Arsenal).  I’m also not all that impressed with his long range ability as more often than not it failed to reach the intended target and gave the ball away to the opposition.  I also do not think the long range Hollywood ball is the sort of thing Rodgers will encourage.  Suarez still remains on the right, but on the left there would be three options for me.  All three have pace, but with Carroll up top, its possible we would see Borini play on the left because he is able to score goals.  However, I would probably think it more likely that Downing plays for his crossing ability, or Raheem Sterling for his ability to run at players

Yesterday did of course bring with it news of the first departure, that of Maxi Rodriquez.  Shame really, I actually thought Maxi would be perfect under Rodgers, and may well have played as one of the wide players in a 4-3-3 system.  Maxi was one of those strange players, with his ability to score vital goals being mixed with that ability to just go missing in games.  However, I do not think that he was really given a fair go at Liverpool, but then again we do not get to see what is going on behind the scenes at training.  Will Maxi be the only one to leave?  Unlikely, so who else might go?

Of our current squad I see maybe a few players that may not fit into the Rodgers system.  The first of those is Charlie Adam.  Yes I did put him as a potential for one of the squads but his instinct of going for the long pass over the simpler option is probably not something Rodgers will like.  I also do not necessarily see both Joe Cole and Aquilani staying.  I actually think both of them would fit into a new system, but if you have both of them there, along with Henderson,there’s bound to be some unhappiness.  Of the rest of the squad, the only player that I’m not sure about is Jay Spearing.  He clearly must be doing something right in training, as every manager talks highly of him.  He also looks like a decent player against lower opposition, but he just seems to panic too much in bigger games.  I would maybe like to see him go out on loan somewhere, ideally in the Premiership, as I would like to see if it is just a matter of gaining more experience or whether he really just does not have the ability to cut it at one of the top clubs looking to challenge for the title or get a Champions League place.

Of course there is always the possibility of players that you do not want to see go getting a transfer out for whatever reason.  Of the main squad I maybe see three or four players that this may happen to.  The first is of course Andy Carroll.  With the arrival of Borini, along with comments made by Rodgers, you cannot fault Andy for maybe wanting away.  I’m not saying that he does, but if he did you could certainly understand it.  He may of course want to show Rodgers that he does have what it takes, and may stay at Liverpool to fight for his place.  I personally would love for him to stay and be given a chance.  Playing him need not necessarily mean lumping the ball long, he is actually decent with his feet, but he does give a different option and leaves the opposition with something to think about.  Another player is Craig Bellamy.  Bellamy had a reasonable season last season, and that is even more impressive when you consider he came on a free.  However, with him coming towards the end of his career, I would maybe see him move back to his beloved Cardiff.  He has done well for Liverpool, but I would prefer to see Sterling be given an opportunity, before he loses interest and decides to move on.  Bellamy has the experience and the ability, but he also maybe only has two or three seasons left in him, Sterling has the potential to be there for many years.

The other players that have a potential to leave are only being mentioned because of rumours in the press.  I do not personally think them likely but I figured I might as well mention  them.  They are Suarez and Reina.  I personally think that both of them will at least want to give Rodgers a chance.  Pepe has made it very clear that he wants to be part of a winning team, but I would think that he might be happy to stay at least one more season.  I’d hate to see him go, regardless of whether people think that he did not perform to his usual high standards last season.  Suarez has stated that he wants to stay, and Rodgers has mentioned that he is close to signing a longer deal, but a player of Suarez’s ability will always have suitors.  You could also not blame him for wanting away from a country who’s media has singled him out.

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