Will injuries force Mancini into a tactical rethink?
With injuries to Aleksandar Kolarov, Jerome Boateng and Wayne Bridge it looks like Roberto Mancini will have to put on hold any plans to use attacking full-backs. This is an early blow as such players are increasingly important at the top level of the game.
4-2-3-1 is the formation of choice these days and relies on full-backs to overload the opposition on the flanks. Maicon at Mourinho’s Inter is a perfect example and it’s no coincidence that both Mancini and Mourinho are believed to have wanted Maicon and Kolarov as their attacking full-backs this season.
Real balked at the fee for Kolarov and he joined us. The Spaniards also balked at the fee for Maicon, but he wasn’t interested in a move to Manchester so remains with Inter. A shame for us though good news for Micah Richards’ City career.
With a defensive midfield duo of de Jong and Yaya Toure able to cover the attacking of Kolarov and Boateng, City looked set to deploy this formation. Any three from Silva, Johnson, Wright-Phillips and Milner could play the creative trio with Adebayor or Tevez up top. Carlos could of course play as one of the creative trio.
With our injured full-backs this system becomes less appealing. Micah Richards has the strength to attack but lacks the finesse required to be a consistent danger. Zabaleta and Lescott are primarily defenders who possess limited offensive skills.
Therefore the onus falls on the attacking quartet who can be picked up by a well organised defence, which is undoubtedly what Roy Hodgson will bring to Eastlands on Monday. The danger of a stalemate with City unable to break Liverpool’s defensive lines is a real one.
Maybe Mancini will have to settle for a more orthodox back four while Boateng and Kolarov are out. We saw in Romania how Yaya can play as a box to box midfielder, while Johnson and Wright-Phillips operate best as out and out wingers.
Liverpool are weakest in the full-back areas and it’s to be hoped Mancini finds a way of exploiting this. Despite the arrivals of Silva and Milner, Adam Johnson remains the player most likely to destroy a limited full-back. It’s to be hoped he gets the chance, and that we get players in the box ready to capitalise – as Balotelli was against FC Timisoara.
- Who would your full-backs be against Liverpool?