Another preseason training camp is fast approaching, the transfer market is in full swing, and, oh yeah, Luis Suarez is suspended again, and likely on his way out.
Good freakin' times.
Liverpool have added Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, and Emre Can to their depth chart, but have lost Suarez to suspension for biting a player for the second summer in a row. With it looking like he's about to leave the club on a permanent basis as well, that leaves a whole lot of shuffling to be done.
Lallana immediately slots in to a starting role in midfield, and given the available players slotting him in as the primary guy behind the striker makes the most sense. He and Coutinho would be able to interchange fairly seamlessly once they get a feel for how the other plays, as both work well on the left or in the center. To some extent Raheem Sterling would be able to get in on the position swapping as well, causing a lot of marking assignment issues in the defense that Daniel Sturridge would be more than capable of dealing with.
Deeper in midfield, the now-standard trio of Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson continue as the primary starters, with a capable and versatile trio of Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen, and newcomer Emre Can providing rotation and reserve options for Rodgers. With Gerrard's legs not getting any younger and the club starting at an uptick in fixture congestion, being able to have such a wealth of reserve options for rotation will be vital this season, especially if Lucas can stay healthy.
The defense is a shakier proposition right now. We don't know how healthy Jose Enrique is going to be yet, and Glen Johnson's form has been a guessing game at best for quite awhile now. Adding not just quality of depth, but a player (or two) who can challenge for a starting role should be Liverpool's next priority. Fortunately, things look to be in good shape in the middle, with the group of Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, and Kolo Toure representing as good a foursome at the position as you'll find in England.
And finally, since I'm sure all of you are wondering: should Alexis Sanchez show up, he can slot in pretty much anywhere in the front four. In the current setup, he would be the primary left winger/left attacking mid, and the aforementioned interchange along that band would probably be even more aggressive in order to take full advantage of his delightful skillset.
|Key: Starter (Bold), U21/Academy (Italics), Injured (Orange), Suspended (Blue), On Loan (L)|
|Goalkeepers||Central Defenders||Fullbacks||Central Mids||Attacking Mids||Strikers|
|Simon Mignolet||Martin Skrtel||Glen Johnson||Steven Gerrard||Raheem Sterling||Luis Suarez|
|Pepe Reina||Mamadou Sakho||Jose Enrique||Jordan Henderson||Adam Lallana||Daniel Sturridge|
|Brad Jones||Daniel Agger||Jon Flannagan||Joe Allen||Philippe Coutinho||Rickie Lambert|
|Lawrence Vigouroux||Kolo Toure||Martin Kelly||Lucas Leiva||Luis Suarez||Fabio Borini|
|Sebastian Coates||Jack Robinson||Emre Can||Fabio Borini||Iago Aspas|
|Andre Wisdom||Emre Can||Adam Lallana||Suso||Jerome Sinclair|
|Tiago Ilori||Ryan McLaughlin||Philippe Coutinho||Oussama Assaidi||Samed Yesil|
|Martin Kelly||Brad Smith||Joao Teixeira||Jordon Ibe|
|Emre Can||Marc Pelosi||Jordan Rossiter||Iago Aspas|
|Lloyd Jones||Jordan Lussey||Joao Teixeira|
|Rafa Paez||Jack Dunn||Jack Dunn|
|Kevin Stewart||Sheyi Ojo||Luis Alberto (L)|
For new readers, or those of you who haven't seen 3XI in awhile, here's a quick refresher of how this works:
- This is a project that takes a regular look at the current state of Liverpool's depth chart, projecting starters and reserves at each position.
- The graphic shows each of the eleven positions on the field with a starter and two reserves (hence the name "3XI"). Each player is shown in their primary position in the given formation (generally selected based on recent formations used by Liverpool), so only appears once on the chart no matter where else on the pitch they may be involved in for depth purposes.
- The table below the chart is a more broad-strokes look at the depth. Each position group is more generalized, and we see players listed in each group they are involved in. This is also where injured, suspended, or on-loan players are listed for reference.
- Thanks as always go to Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart for coming up with the 3XI concept and format and allowing me to use and modify it for use at The Liverpool Offside.