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Sorting Through Liverpool's Midfield

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At current, there's not anymore actual additions or subtractions to Liverpool's midfield--the Nuri Sahin move is either imminent or not happening because he's going to Arsenal, and Charlie Adam is either digging in his heels on Merseyside or en route to Craven Cottage as part of the Clint Dempsey deal. But even if neither of those happen, we're left to wonder just what Liverpool's midfield will look like just two days away from their opener at West Brom.

The reason for that is at least a good one, I suppose. Last summer we were left to wring our hands as Raul Meireles left on the final day of the transfer window and Gerrard was out injured, with only Lucas as the proven performer in a Liverpool shirt. With Jordan Henderson continually shunted out wide in spite of a string of poor performances, it was Lucas partnering with Charlie Adam, and while it was serviceable for a brief stretch (with the Brazilian doing most of the heavy lifting), Liverpool's midfield was one of the thinnest and most concerning areas in the squad. At least until everyone kept hitting the post and not finishing and everything.

But ahead of Saturday's trip to the West Midlands, Brendan Rodgers will have a fairly deep midfield pool from which to pick. The addition of Joe Allen is the only move that's been made, but the return of Lucas and a fully-fit Gerrard, along with a change in shape, leave Rodgers with a slight dilemma about who he'll select in the eleven. Allen's inclusion and subsequent shift for Wales last night , along with the fact that he's barely joined the squad for training, compounds matters slightly, with neither of Jordan Henderson or Jonjo Shelvey taking part in internationals and each seeming to have a part to play in Rodgers' plans.

For some the answer's easy regardless, with Allen's arrival providing the final piece of Rodgers' puzzle in a three-man midfield with Lucas deeper, Allen providing the link further forward, and Gerrard left to roam just off the forward line, supporting the attack directly and left with little of the defensive responsbilities given that he's got two men behind him that are competent ball-winners and distributors.

For others it's not as simple, as there's many who would still prefer to see Steven Gerrard in a wide role, while others aren't convinced by Joe Allen enough to automatically insert him into the starting eleven sight unseen. Or sight seen, but not with Liverpool. Or something. I know there's plenty who are big fans of what Jonjo Shelvey's done over the past few months, and many, self included, think that Jordan Henderson has a long and successful career in front of him, and that he has something to offer in the middle of the park. And there's always Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing to talk about, but I don't know that many are seriously considering them as being close to starting berths anywhere outside of domestic cup competition.

So how do they all fit? I suppose in a squad that's so skint in other areas it's nice to have a relative wealth of options, and if further reinforcements do arrive--in the form of Nuri Sahin or otherwise--we'll have to alter the conversation again slightly. At least for now, though, we know who Liverpool's got for Saturday, that they're all fully fit, and that we'll likely see three through the middle. Who that'll be is ultimately up to Brendan Rodgers, but that doesn't mean we can't wonder.

Plus there's less than 48 hours until the season starts, so it's not like you're going to be talking about anything else.

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