Liverpool's winter spending spree has not resulted in massive gains for the club as the team continue to struggle to adapt to Brendan Rodgers' tika taka style
When Brendan Rodgers was announced as manager of Liverpool, he underlined his ambitions to make Liverpool play like his former team Swansea. This however caused negative reactions among the Kop fans who felt that Rodgers should stick to Liverpool's traditional pass and move philosophy.
However, as the season progressed, Rodgers has had to accept defeat in his pursuit of possession football. The high average age of the team meant that the players were physically incapable of transitioning into possession based football. This despite Rodgers bringing Joe Allen from Swansea. Allen's dubious performances in the early stages meant he was left on the bench and the likes of Lucas and Henderson featured regularly.
Brendan Rodgers has not admitted defeat in his pursuit of Tiki taka and has bolstered the squad considerably with the purchase of two youngsters, namely Daniel Sturridge and Philip Coutinho. These two players have time on their side which will aid them to embrace possession based football. Aside from this, Rodgers has also brought in Raheem Sterling and Suso from the academy to install his philosophies into them in the early stages of their careers.
The key to complete understanding of his philosophy, however, lies in the defence. The current crop of central defenders in Liverpool are tough tackling no nonsense defenders like Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher. What they lack though is the ability to bring the ball out of defence.
A ball playing defender is key to possession based teams because he provides an extra passing option. He is able to retain the ball when the midfielders and forwards are pressured by the opposition and can also bring the ball out of defence and help overload the midfield thereby helping the team to assert a domination in the midfield. Who therefore can Rodgers look to for such abilities?
Thankfully, Rodgers only needs to look back to his former team. Ashley Williams has been a vital cog to Swansea during their back to back promotions to Premier league and helping them maintain consecutive mid table positions. At 28, he is at the peak of his powers and is a very accomplished defender and has good ball playing skills.
Arsenal are looking to replace Thomas Vermaelen who could be bound for Barcelona this summer and a transfer battle looks set in the cards.
Liverpool will have to act fast to acquire Williams' services. Swansea would surely be convinced with a bid of around £12 million. His acquisition is the key to Brendan Rodgers' unleashing tiki taka again in Anfield.
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