Liverpool have made a positive start to the season having won six points from their opening two games but there are still concerns over their formation.
Manager Brendan Rodgers loves to tinker with his side's shape and has favoured the 4-2-3-1 system so far this year. Whilst this formation may help the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana find space in attacking areas, it provides a problem in the centre of the field.
New signing James Milner and captain Jordan Henderson are the current midfield pairing but it would be far more effective to have a defensive midfielder behind them. Although these two players work extremely hard for the team, a defensive midfielder behind would allow them to play with more freedom.
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At the moment Henderson is being used as the most defensively minded out of the pair but this doesn't play to his strengths. Henderson is energetic and is great at making runs forward to support attacks. In the role Henderson is currently playing he can't do this because he needs to remain in his position holding the midfield. The 25-year old provided the most assists for Liverpool last season but will find it difficult to do so again in this more restricting position.
James Milner has been given a bit more licence to get forward as he operates in a 'double pivot' with Henderson. However when Liverpool lose the ball, Milner is expected to retreat alongside Henderson and protect the back four.
So who can perform in the defensive midfield role for Liverpool?
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Well, Lucas Leiva is the only recognised defensive midfielder in the squad but he's past his best and appears to be heading for the exit door. So that leaves Emre Can.
Can has the ability to be the ideal defensive midfielder and should definitely be playing in that role. Rodgers would have to sacrifice one of the three attacking midfielders to fit Can in the starting line-up but it's something that should definitely be done.
This would give Henderson and Milner more attacking responsibilities whilst still providing the back four cover. Can would be able to pick up opponents in the space between the midfield and defence which are often hard to mark.
If Rodgers doesn't feel Can is able to perform this role, he needs to sign a proper defensive midfielder because the squad is in desperate need of one. All the best teams boast a defensive midfielder with the likes of Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Nemanja Matic (Chelsea), Fernando (Manchester City) and Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) providing their respective teams with adequate cover.
A 4-3-2-1 formation with a defensive midfield is definitely a system Rodgers should be considering to get the best out of his players and ensure Liverpool aren't overran in the middle of the park. Can Can be the man?
Do you think a change in formation could unsettle a Liverpool squad so used to playing 4-2-3-1? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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