Brendan Rodgers takes his young boys into battle against, erm, Young Boys this evening, and I reckon they will find it easier to play the 4-3-3 as that is how they have been playing in the academy...
The end of the summer transfer window saw the management of Liverpool Football Club reassess our short term solution to an obvious lack of depth up front. We have been told that the youth players at our disposal are going to be given more of a chance to prove themselves than they would have had suitable firepower been brought in before the end of August.
For some this signals that we are adamant we are going to live within our means. For others it means that we are penniless and trying to make light of the situation. While understandably met with suspicion in some parts, I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing.
It is no secret that our youth set-up has been lauded by many in the past few years for the development of players from top to bottom, establishing the same formation and philosophy so that young players are ready as soon as they make the step up.
The problem with this in recent times however is that the trend all but stopped at the point a player was called up from the reserves. Whilst Kenny Dalglish’s set up was attacking and fluid, at the very least compared to Roy Hodgson’s two banks of four, it has been argued that it differed enough from the Academy set up, implemented between Rodolfo Borrell and Rafa Benitez, enough to make a player struggle to make that step up.
In the first XI we are arguably suffering while some players are settling in to a new style of play, whereas those waiting in the wings – whilst inexperienced in terms of playing at the top level – have been playing this way for a good few years.
Now however, we have a set up that goes some way toward mirroring the progress that has been made at all levels below the senior side. In the first XI we are arguably suffering while some players are settling in to a new style of play, whereas those waiting in the wings – whilst inexperienced in terms of playing at the top level – have been playing this way for a good few years.
Raheem Sterling is a prime example of this. While he is undoubtedly an exceptional player, he has stepped in and out-performed our only pigeon-holed winger in Stewart Downing without the need for any sort of bedding in period. This gives me confidence that any of the players who are performing well in the lower echelons of the club can make that step up and, at the very least, match their performances amidst more seasoned players.
Amongst the players in contention to play against, ironically, Young Boys is Jesus Fernandez Saez – better known as Suso. Still awaiting his competitive debut for Liverpool, Suso has shown his undoubted flair and creativity at every level, including a number of impressive performances for Spain’s U19’s in their European Championship victory this summer. His biggest opportunity in a Liverpool shirt is imminent and I have little doubt that his impact has the potential to match that of Raheem Sterling’s – though the opportunities may come a little less often given the competition we have in the attacking repertoire of Brendan Rodgers’ midfield.
A nickname of ‘Gerd’ (of Gerd Muller fame) is enough of a clue that young Samed knows where the goal is
Another player who is widely rumoured to be getting a run out on Thursday is Samed Yesil. Snapped up this summer in a low key £1m deal, Yesil is another player who has shown huge promise in recent years. A nickname of ‘Gerd’ (of Gerd Muller fame) is enough of a clue that young Samed knows where the goal is. On a similar note to Suso, his performance at the U17 World Cup in 2011 put him firmly on the radar of a number of European clubs, setting up five goals while scoring another six. While not benefiting from playing in our system for the past few years, I feel that experience at the top level in the Bundesliga will bode well for Yesil’s transition into our senior set up having shown promise in our current reserve side.
So with the anti-climax of the transfer window fresh in our minds, it appears these players, amongst others, are our only immediate option between now and January at least. Whilst the pressure of performing in any given number of minutes on their debut is going to be at the forefront of their mind, it will be nothing in comparison with the pressure of displaying the kind of attitude Brendan Rodgers wants to see in his players in every waking hour. The very fact that they are being given the opportunity is enough to suggest they are on top of the latter.
While there are no guarantees that these players will settle immediately into our new system, I’ve every confidence that the work put in by those throughout the academy set up will make this transition a lot easier than it usually is. Hopefully Thursday is the start of this successful process.
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