England’s impressive comeback win against Slovenia saw three of the four positions in Roy Hodgson’s diamond midfield occupied by Liverpool players; food for thought indeed for Brendan Rodgers.
Before the onset of the international break the Liverpool boss actually remarked that this particular pause – so often the bane of club managers – had arrived at an opportune moment, as the Anfield drawing board was in desperate need of a revisit.
And as long as his Three Lions’ contingent return from the battle of Britain at Celtic Park unscathed, the Northern Irishman may actually be grateful for some pointers to help him rebuild the faith he is currently losing on Merseyside.
The top of the Premier League currently looks as far away as the peak of Mount Everest from base camp for Liverpool, who are in a 19/10-rated struggle to hold onto their top-four status, as they’ve slipped down the face to 11th.
However, the combination play of Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana for their country, with Jordan Henderson supplying his usual high-octane brand of football, offers a clue to a potential ascent back up the league heading into the frenetic Christmas period.
All Rodgers need to do is follow the exact England blueprint. Sterling deployed in his most influential number 10 role and Henderson and Lallana flanking the diamond – while replacing Jack Wilshere with Steven Gerrard as the anchor.
Then the returning Daniel Sturridge and anyone of Mario Balotelli, if fit, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini, Philippe Coutinho or Lazar Markovic could potentially fill the two striker slots, afforded to Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck for England.
Hey presto. It sounds like too simple an answer, but Lallana in particular needs a run in the team to hit the heights he is clearly capable of, while Sterling is best utilised at the tip of a diamond, rather than marooned out wide.
Meanwhile, Henderson’s value to the team was so clearly obvious during the Reds imperious 11-game winning streak last season, before his absence in the final few games through suspension saw their title challenge crumble.
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