Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side have been the surprise package in this season’s title race. The Anfield side have their best chance of lifting the domestic title for the first time in 24 years, as well as what would be their first ever Premier League title. There are numerous reasons for this resurgence in Liverpool but none more so than the tactical excellence Rodgers possesses.
During the Rafa Benitez days at Liverpool he was dubbed the tinkerman due to his constant squad rotation, which more often than not proved detrimental to his team’s performances. If you look at Rodgers, he is always tweaking his side and can also be called a tinkerman, the difference being is that Rodgers usually tinkers perfectly and that is why Liverpool have now climbed in the football betting odds with Titan Bet to 11/4 to win the league.
If we take Liverpool’s last game against Manchester United, you can see how well Rodgers’ tinkering works. He swapped Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan over, moving Johnson to the right after two league games on the left. It proved an inspired choice with Johnson’s constant running proving too much for the tired old legs of Patrice Evra. Jon Flanagan on the left-hand side absolutely bullied Juan Mata out the game. His decision to drop Phillipe Coutinho for Raheem Sterling tricked many into thinking he was going to start with a 4-3-3 formation, but instead it was a 4-3-1-2. Sterling performed admirably in the attacking midfield berth, which in turn allowed Rodgers to play a formation that could accommodate both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge as centre-forwards; the two of them then proceeded to batter the United defence. The United game was a tactical master class from Rodgers, and the 3-0 win at Old Trafford firmly confirmed Liverpool’s title credentials.
It’s not just player rotation that has worked wonders for Rodgers this season. His changing of formation depending on the opposition has paid dividends. While most teams seem to stick with one formation for the entirety of the season, Liverpool have three: 4-3-3, 5-3-2 and 4-3-1-2. This changing of formations gives Liverpool an edge when they face opposition, as the other side cannot be certain of which system Rodgers will use. A team may set up in training with the thought that Liverpool will be playing their 4-3-3 system but come match day Liverpool could be using a 4-3-1-2 or a 5-3-2. As witnessed in the Manchester United romp, this fluidity can really expose the opposition, who may not be anticipating a different formation and as such can be offset when facing a formation that they had not expected.
Unlike other title rivals Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, you never know what you’re going to come up against when you face Liverpool and as such they are probably the hardest team to face in the league right now. Eight wins and two draws in their last ten games pays testament to this.
Rodgers is well and truly a tinkerman and thus far he seems to have a Midas touch for it. If he can keep tinkering successfully then he has a brilliant chance of winning the league.