Measuring Strength in Depth – Part 3.

Measuring Strength in Depth – Part 3.
October 15, 2014 Bob Pearce

By Bob Pearce.


Jordan Henderson: ‘My first, my last, my everything’

In part 2 it was shown that all four formations that Rodgers can be expected to use this season had a standard foundation of a back four and a Deep Lying Playmaker (DLP).

The decision on who, from the limited options of Allen (75), Henderson (75) or Lallana (85), should take the DLP role depends on what optimum score can be achieved when they are used in a higher scoring role. This means we need to look at all of the six roles beyond the back four together to discover this optimum level.

This will perfectly illustrate the idea that Mihail Vladimirov introduced on a recent TTT Tactics podcast of a player being ‘so good’ that ironically they become the last name on the team sheet. In reality they are the first name selected because of their high versatility level, but this also means that they may be the last to be allocated a role, in order to slot them in to cover any weaknesses and ensure the team has as strong a network as possible. We’ll begin with the formations that use the DLP as a solo pivot, starting with the 4-1-2-3.


Beyond the standard back four and DLP, the 4-1-2-3 formation can be described as one Box-to-Box Midfielder (B2B) and any one of B2B, Passer (P), or Creator (C), with an Inside Forward (IF) and 9.5, and any one of Winger (W) or Wide Creator (WC). These roles can be used in a pick and mix way to give a total of six variants within the 4-1-2-3 formation. So next time someone says ‘Liverpool are playing 4-1-2-3’, it is like saying you simply want ‘a pizza’, while ignoring the wide range of toppings available.

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