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Is This Liverpool’s Strongest XI? Does Kenny Even Know His?

With the Carling Cup final on Sunday, we look at the selection problems Kenny Dalglish faces as well as suggest what Liverpool’s strongest starting eleven is.

The 6-1 win over Brighton was a good result for the Reds, but Kenny Dalglish will have a selection headache on his hands, as his side prepare to take on Cardiff in the Carling Cup Final on the hallowed Wembley turf.

Does Kenny really know what his strongest eleven is? One reason why it’s so hard for Dalglish is because of players showing inconsistent form. Andy Carroll has been increasingly impressive in recent games, but looks as though he still needs a couple more weeks before he is a striker capable of scoring somewhere in the region of 15 league goals a season. The reality is that he has been picking up goals against ‘lesser’ opposition this term. His 3 goals of 2012 have come against Brighton, Wolves and Oldham.

Another example of inconsistent form is Stewart Downing. The left winger is proving to be a very ‘hot and cold’ player. The midfielder excelled against Brighton, like Carroll, but has failed to produce the goods consistently this season. He has had some good games followed by shocking performances, meaning he’s been in and out of the starting eleven. Undoubtedly has the ability, it seems to be a confidence issue for the winger, like Andy Carroll. But the inconsistencies make for a tough decision for Kenny Dalglish.

Strongest Starting XI?

In the goalkeeping role, there is only one suitable candidate in Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina. In defence, I personally think that Martin Kelly is a better option that Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique is doing a fine job in the left back role. In the heart of the defence, the central pairing of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are just fine. In my opinion, the defence is Liverpool’s strongest element of the team, as I think it has something that none of the other departments have: consistency. Kenny Dalglish doesn’t shuffle around too much in the defence because the defence is so strong.

In midfield, it gets slightly more complicated. There are so many permutations. With Lucas Leiva out injured, we’ve had to rely on the young Jay Spearing. He’s done a decent job although his tenacity has let him down on occasion. Charlie Adam is another one that has shown inconsistency this season, along with Jordan Henderson, but Adam seems to be the managers preference at this time.

Steven Gerrard, when fit, is a guaranteed starter. Craig Bellamy is fantastic, but at his age and with his injury record, he can’t be an option week in, week out. Maxi and Kuyt are versatile members of the squad but i don’t see either making it into Kenny’s first choice eleven.

In the forward’s role, it’s more straightforward. Realistically, we only have Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez fighting for strikers role(s). The problem is whether to play just one, which would be Suarez, or find a way to play Carroll alongside him.

Here is what i believe our strongest team looks like:

football formations

Thanks to Two Liverpool Fans for this guest post



  1. NoWay

    February 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Spearing will be an epic fail if he plays -_-

  2. jon

    February 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    What kelly gives in defence, he takes away from offence..when he goes on the attack, he runs as hard as he can and then just whips the ball in without pinpointing team mates..its more in the hope a team mate will be first to it which is no way to retain possession or be a real threat

  3. redburns

    February 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    i totally agree.its definatly the strongest line up in my opinion. ideally it would be Lucas in there in place of Spearing but i think we do need a defensive midfielder in there. Spearing has done well when he has played and i don’t understand why people are negative about him. I’d probably have Johnson in place of Kelly for the final because of his attacking prowess down the right

  4. sp

    February 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Gerrard? On the right? Are you trying to become the next England coach? Spearing where Gerrard should be? Kelly does a good job. Johnson is by far superior though. LFC still need a right winger. Kuyt should start there now even though he’s always been a natural striker and does very well for Holland.

  5. sparky

    February 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I say Johnson at right back over Kelly. Experience is key in a final I think.

    Alternatively, what about 3 at the back (Agger, Carra and Skrtel), with Enrique and Johnson pushing forward more like wingers? Seen that be powerful a few times. Doubt Cardiff would be expecting it either.

  6. smithy

    February 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    why not try johno on the right wing, he has defo got the capability to do a great job for us there

  7. Alan

    February 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I think you are all crazy. we should play goaly in and out and play everybody upfront, don’t need a defence or midfield.

  8. rafeh Abbasi

    February 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    the last time i watch football they were 11 players on a team.. absolutely ridiculous..

    • Football Talk

      February 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Not sure what your looking at rafeh, but last time i checked there were 11 players shown here. I suggest you count carefully next time before leaving a comment like this.

  9. A.Nasser

    February 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Johnson Skrtel Agger Enriqe
    Adam Shelvy Gerrard
    Kuyt Suarez Bellamy
    I think Shelvy is better than Spearing as he is more creative and he done well with Plakpool, for attack carroll don’t suit our way of playing as he is very slow especialy in counter attack

  10. rafeh Abbasi

    February 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    hahaha.. it even says strongest 11.. but only shows 10 players.. amazing..

  11. seano

    February 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    All KD’s teams must have hendo in as
    He seems to be a Kenny favourite.nt
    Sure why.Poor in defense doesn’t
    Tackle ,poor in attack doesn’t set
    Up or score,loses the ball regularly
    And slows down our attacks and has no
    Urgency to win it back-just runs around
    Aimlessly jockeying players.he may be
    A player for the future but in the
    Present he’s average and keeping
    Players who offer more out of the team
    Like shelvey

  12. Neil

    February 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Kelly skirtl agger johnson
    Adam enrique
    Gerrard Suarez bellamy

    Enrique best player to break up opposition moves the same way Lucas does and he can pass spearing cant

  13. Luke

    February 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    All back four fine but then we should play Lucas in central defensive midfield, on the left Downing, on the right Johnson, in central attacking midfield Gerrard and then Suarez and Carroll or Kuyt

  14. Don' Ryan

    February 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Here’s KD Strongest XI (same formation by the way):

    GK: Reina

    RB: Glen
    CB: Skrtel
    CB: Agger
    LB: Jose

    CM: Stevie
    CM: Spearing

    AM: Maxi

    RW: Suarez
    LW: Bellars

    CF: Andy

    DEF: Like some said previously, playing Kelly would hamper our attacking options as he’s still poor at whiping in decent crosses, love the lad to bits though.

    MID: You cant have Charlie playing that far back coz he cant tackle. with Stevie we have a tackler who can take the ball and spread like Xabi used to do. I’m going for Maxi to provide the killer passes coz he’s an intelligent footballer, he’s stronger than Charlie and he CAN score big goals

    FORW: I’ll go for Luis out wide coz that’s always where’s he’s finding himself and he’s brilliant at getting to the by line. Bellars can obviously come inside brilliantly on his stronger foot.

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