With Brendan Rodgers' decision to go with the misfiring Joe Allen against Manchester United on Sunday rather than the on-form Jordan Henderson, Liverpool's dysfunctional midfield has once again become a topic of conversation. In the autumn, the question was what to do with Steven Gerrard, and though the manager has since found a solution in the captain's deeper deployment, that solution may only have led to a new headache.
In short, Liverpool's midfield remains largely dysfunctional—just now it's for a different reason than before. And so in this week's poll we ask what you would do to solve Liverpool's midfield conundrum—assuming, that is, that the three man midfield Rodgers has used to date at Liverpool and favoured throughout his managerial career is non-negotiable.
Allen versus Henderson
The proverbial elephant in the room appears to be the question of Jordan Henderson or Joe Allen. Most would assume that Steven Gerrard is a lock to play somewhere in midfield no matter what else happens, and given the generally attacking nature of Rodgers' 433 most would also likely feel that one of the three midfielders should be capable of shielding the defence. For the vast majority this will mean Lucas is also a lock in the starting eleven, leaving only one spot open.
Rodgers appears to have a preference for Allen—he did, after all, bring the player along with him from Swansea for £15M. Henderson, though, is the man of form. And no matter which of the two should be starting, the question of how to slot them in around Gerrard remains a tricky one.
Gerrard's best position
Given what has been seen so far this season from Rodgers and given the form Liverpool's captain is currently on, permutations involving Gerrard as the box to box or central midfielder in any trio seem the most likely in reality. Many fans, however, are likely to disagree, and a fair few will inevitably favour a return for Gerrard to the more attacking role he played under Rafa Benitez.
There's also the chance that though talk of benching Gerrard has cooled given his recent form, and even though Rodgers is unlikely to make such a choice, a few might still favour removing Gerrard from the starting eleven in the hopes it might lead to a more cohesive and effective midfield trio even if it were one lacking his individual talents.
Lucas as automatic starter
Removing Lucas from the equation would be a bold move by Rodgers—and one likely to upset many who have grown to value the Brazilian's contributions over the past few years, even if the player has appeared rusty at times as he works back from injury. It would also leave the manager open to heavy criticism if it resulted in the defence being overrun.
Still, despite that Rodgers' 433 asks its fullbacks to spend a great deal of time in the attacking third and often holds only the two centre halves back, some will always insist that a dedicated and competent screening player in midfield isn't important.