Brendan Rodgers’ reign as Liverpool manager really got under way when players and staff filtered back to Melwood.
They will be prepared for a major shake-up on the Red side of the Mersey. Will Andy Carroll survive? Rodgers will have wasted no time projecting his ambitions and goals to the team. The squad will be well aware of a new brand of football that will be played in front of the Kop next season.
Liverpool are likely to set up with the 4-3-3 formation that Rodgers has used with his previous teams. It uses three midfielders who are comfortable in possession and an interchangeable attacking trio with lashings of pace and guile.
In terms of a first XI, I have no qualms about the back four, and there would be no better news for Liverpool than a fully fit Daniel Agger starting the season and staying injury free. Similarly, I think there’s enough quality in the middle of the park, and a midfield three of Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson can work well.
Up front is where the question marks lie, and no more so than over the head of Andy Carroll. The Liverpool team hasn’t really got to grips with Carroll yet, they haven’t managed to bring out the best of his link up play. He rarely gets the ball to feet in the final third and there have been too many long balls to his head, with nobody in support.
Liverpool need to evolve into a team that can adapt to different opponents and game situations, as they have become far too rigid and predictable, and in Andy Carroll they have a formidable option, as well as a perfect foil for the livewires that are Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini.
Rodgers’ purist approach is all well and good, and exactly what is needed at Liverpool right now; there’s no doubt Kopites are salivating at the prospect of the sharp flow of attacking football that The Reds played in the 80’s.
However, at some points last season Swansea were criticised for their lack of a Plan B, and that is where the step up comes for Rodgers, fans will not be satisfied with just an attractive brand of football, they want results, and there are not many games where dropping points is deemed as acceptable to the Anfield faithful.
We’ve got more debate about Andy Carroll on this post: Can Andy Carroll still carry a Toon?