I Know The Pieces Fit...

Yes, I do think he'll fit in.


With the managerial search just about over, I've seen a lot of discussion and speculation about which players already at the club could fit into Brendan Rodgers's system and who couldn't. This assumes that he's not going to tweak or bend it a little in his first year at the club, when a full installation of it might not be possible. But it's still fun to talk about.

One player who might love it the most is Pepe Reina. Reina was at his best when the defense in front of him played a higher line and allowed him to roam as almost a sweeper. With his athleticism, we know Pepe loves to get around the pitch if he can. He'll also love being part of the actual football, as one thing that hasn't slipped with Reina's game is his feet. And it's not as if Rodger's is anti-counters at speed, something that Reina has always loved to start with throws and well-aimed kicks. Rarely do you think a keeper will see his fortunes change under a manager change, but Reina just might.

In defense, if they can hold on to everyone, we know Daniel Agger will love this. There are few better ball-playing centerbacks around, and that's exactly what Rodgers wants. Expect the Dane's name to be first on the team sheet. Skrtel will love it less, but as long as Agger is consistently alongside, he'll benefit. Carragher most certainly won't, which means the conversion of Martin Kelly into the middle might be on the cards. We don't know about Coates, who's comfortable with the ball but drunken-sloth like pace might suffer under the high line. The starting fullbacks, Johnson and Enrique, should feel right at home.

Midfield the picture is more murky. However, with the high pressure, smart distribution mantra, it seems custom built for a healthy Lucas. That's his game anyway. Jay Spearing is going to need a lot of roping in, if at all possible. While I mocked Charlie Adam's ability to stay in it, it's not the passing that worries me but the call for defensive pressure and positioning, two things he thinks are a foreign language. I worry about Steven Gerrard's mobility, because a younger Gerrard's movement would have fit this system perfectly. Also, Gerrard's touch and passing can get wonky, but a player of this class should be able to adapt.

There's almost no chance he'd want to stay, but this tidy and clever system would have to suit Alberto Aquilani. Full of intelligent passes and running and a desire to get in the box, he would be perfect for it. While this may be an upset, the high-energy and eye for a pass from the middle skills of Jordan Henderson make me think he'll fit in more than others do. Maybe his technical skills will take time to catch up, but the pressing and harassing required would seem to be right up his alley. If he's slotted correctly, which I think he will be.

Downing? Hard to say. Maxi would love it, but is he going to stay to find out? Kuyt? Not enough pace or touch you'd have to think, better up front if at all. Bellamy has a role to play, but the wide areas have to be addressed in the transfer market, you'd have to think.

Up front, Suarez is obviously going to be drooling. The pressure up high will cause many a giveaway leading to space that Suarez can make death to opponents. The movement and passing is also something that should see him flourish.

The biggest question is Andy Carroll. If he can stay fit and keep his desire, the work ethic shouldn't be a problem. He'll still occupy defenders. But can he contribute to moves and passages with his feet? Can he finish more chances with his feet than head? Because he's likely to see a lot less crosses this way than he did. And that didn't provide all that much anyway.

While there are still questions, going over this and considering that Dalglish's system involved some of what Rodgers is likely to install, I don't know that the transition will be as laborious as some have said it will be. This isn't an overhaul of thinking and style, but merely an accelerating. It won't be glass-smooth, but I don't know that it will be rife with potholes either.

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