Despite their lofty position in the Premier League table it is fair to say that Liverpool’s performances so far this season have failed to convince.
The only games in which Brendan Rodgers’ side have managed to secure a comfortable victory with more than a one goal advantage have been against the League’s bottom two.
Even then these wins were harder than necessary against two poor sides that look destined for the drop.
The Reds may possess the Premier League’s in-form strike partnership in Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez – the two have shared 12 goals in their last nine starts together – but the return of their talismanic Uruguayan from his 10-game suspension has led to a change in formation which has not necessarily benefited the rest of the side.
In order to incorporate his two star strikers without finding the team overran in midfield, Rodgers has switched to 3-5-2 formation, thus far with mixed results.
The main question mark over the system so far is whether Liverpool truly have the players available to implement it successfully. The deadline day swoop for two brand new centre-backs may have left the manager with plenty of options to choose in defence, but other players have been sacrificed.
Victor Moses for instance, signed in the summer on a season-long loan from Chelsea, has been deployed out of position in a ‘number ten’ role behind the strikers. While Moses has not been a complete disaster in this role his skill-set is much better suited to playing in wide positions.
His direct running and willingness to take on a man can be much more effective there than the congested central areas of the pitch.
This particular issue may well be solved by the return of influential playmaker Philippe Coutinho who has been absent for several weeks with a shoulder injury.
According to Rodgers, the Brazilian should be available soon after the international break and his presence in the starting line-up should provide the in-form duo up front with even more chances.
Where Moses will fit in once Coutinho is back is another matter. It seems unlikely that he would be trusted with taking on the defensive responsibilities of a wing-back role, and the 22-year-old could find that he has to make do with a place on the bench.
Further cause for concern must be found over Liverpool’s second-half performances this season. They have scored just one goal after the break in their nine competitive fixtures whilst conceding goals without reply to Swansea, Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Notts County.
This leaves the team with the worrying statistic that they are yet to win a second-half this season. Clearly Liverpool's sluggish displays following the half-time interval threaten their chances of sustaining a good start.
So, is it only a matter of time before the Reds poor second-half displays and unfamiliar formation catch up with them? Or will the return of important players such as Glen Johnson and Coutinho be the boost they need to continue their excellent start to the campaign?
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