James Pearce Q&A: Ilori situation, Lucas replacements, Moreno future, next signing, Sturridge v Benteke

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, who’s gaining a well earned reputation as a reliable informer of all things Liverpool, undertook a Q & A with Reds supporters on Twitter today.

We’ve chosen the best and most interesting questions – which primarily revolved around the transfer market and Brendan Rodgers’ first-choice XI.

Interestingly, Pearce states the only reason Ilori wasn’t used during pre-season is because he picked up an injury during the European Under-21 championship, although he does include minutes will be hard to come by for the young Portuguese.

Pearce also suggests that Rodgers’ ideal frontline will include Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge – which screams goals – but does question why he’s acquired so many attacking midfielders in recent windows…

Read the Q & A in full, here:

Sp4rky: Is there any midfield signing looking possible for LFC? Lots of rumours but any real hints of any more signings? thx

As it stands, I’m not aware of LFC looking to make any further signings. Of course much will depend on whether Lucas does indeed leave before the window shuts on Sep 1.

However, Rodgers seems pretty relaxed about his midfield options even without Lucas.

There is a belief that Can can play that holding role, offering protection to the back four, and he’s also got Allen to come back from injury.

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Terrence: When all are fit and those late back have been given sufficient time ie Firmino, who starts as the front 3 for you? 

That’s a tough question. But when everyone is up to speed I’d say probably Benteke with Firmino and Sturridge either side of him.

Steven Ellis: Question for James. Are Liverpool in line to sign anyone else, in this window?

Hi Steven, From what I’ve been told Liverpool are finished in the transfer market and the only thing that will change that is if there are any significant departures over the coming weeks ie Lucas and/or Moreno.

Stephen Kinsella: Whats the story with Ilori?

Ilori suffered a thigh injury at the European Under-21 Championships so that was why he didn’t play any part in the friendlies. He has only recently returned to full training.

It will be interesting to see whether he’s sent out on loan again or kept for Europa League/League Cup duty. He faces a battle for game time with Lovren/Skrtel clearly Rodgers’ first choice partnership as it stands and Sakho/Toure as back up.

Fluke: What’s LFCs best formation going forward? Looked poor in 4-2-3-1 and much improved in 4-3-3 on weekend, where does Studge fit? 

Rodgers said in pre-season he plans to largely play 4-3-3 this season with Benteke as the focal point of the attack. That could work with Firmino and Sturridge either side of him.

However, when Sturridge is fit I can see Liverpool going back to playing 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond with Firmino at the tip, Milner and Coutinho either side and Henderson or Can at the base.

LFCZA: Will Liverpool look to replace Lucas or are they happy with the midfield options?

Rodgers seems pretty happy with the options he’s got in there. Obviously, Milner, Henderson and Coutinho will start the vast majority of PL games, and then he’s got Can who he believes can play that holding role when it’s required.

With Allen to come back and Rossiter coming through, Lucas maybe replaced if the right deal is out there but it’s not viewed as a necessity.

LFCZA: If Moreno leaves, will LFC explore an option to loan a new left back?

There are doubts about Moreno’s defensive qualities and that’s why he was overlooked in pre-season and again at Stoke.

I think much hinges on how he responds to losing his place to Joe Gomez. If he knuckles down and shows the stomach for a fight, I don’t think Liverpool will sell him in this window.

But if he sulks and the right offer arrives, he could be on his way. If Moreno did leave, Liverpool would have to look to secure some cover there, even if it was only a loan. Gomez has been great but he’s a young kid and it’s a big ask to expect him to hold down that role all season.

Yngve Engkvist: Which position do you consider Liverpool’s weakest at the moment?

Liverpool defended really well for the most part at Stoke but the area that worries me the most is at centre-back. Rodgers has decided that Skrtel/Lovren are his first choice partnership and they still have plenty to prove.

The manager needs Lovren to maintain the standards he set at the Britannia and strike up the kind of understanding with Skrtel that was so lacking last season. With the firepower Liverpool now have, I’m confident the goals will flow this season but the ability to keep them out at the other end will determine how far this team go.

Umang Vithlani: what do you think will be the starting line up v Bournemouth?

It wouldn’t surprise me if he keep the same side. One possible change would be Can starting in place of Lallana with Coutinho playing as one of the front three.

Steve Hall: Which was the better midfield? Hendo, Milner, & Coutinho or Hendo, Milner, Can? Why?

I thought Can certainly improved Liverpool when he came on v Stoke. Both Coutinho and Henderson were able to get forward more. I’m not convinced about Henderson playing as the deepest lying midfielder. I think he’s better further forward where you benefit more from his energy and athleticism.

Edwin Gilson: Is Can ready to start week after week at DM? Asking ‘cos I think Hendo and Milner need someone behind them…

From what I’ve heard, the staff do believe Can can play that role in front of the back four. I think it’s needed more in the bigger games. Not so much when teams come to Anfield and sit back.

Cal: Why are the owners happy to let Rodgers buy his own players when committee signings are more value/talented? Also, why does Rodgers prefer Lovren to Sakho? He doesn’t seem to offer anything different/better than Sakho. 

We could debate all day about the merits of those Rodgers has been instrumental in bringing in compared to those championed more by the committee. I certainly wouldn’t say Moreno or Markovic offered better value. Then again the likes of Lallana and Lovren have yet to live up to their price tags either.

What I think is important is that Rodgers is happy with all the signings made this summer. Benteke was the perfect example of the owners backing his judgement.

Whether you think that’s right or wrong, it means there is no grey area this season, no room for excuses. Rodgers got who he wanted so if things do go wrong the buck stops with him.

As for the Sakho/Lovren debate, I agree with you in that personally I think Sakho is the better option.

But Rodgers opted to put his faith in Lovren and he was rewarded with a very solid display at Stoke.

The post James Pearce Q&A: Ilori situation, Lucas replacements, Moreno future, next signing, Sturridge v Benteke appeared first on The Empire of The Kop – a blog about Liverpool F.C..

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