After 45 minutes of their first serious test with the new 3-5-2 formation, Brendan Rodgers crumpled the blueprint and drop kicked it into the bin.
Trailing Arsenal by one goal, he switched from the system that allows Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to work in tandem, while still packing the midfield in favour of a flat back four and a more conventional 2-3-1 setup ahead of them.
It changed little in the game and a two-nil defeat had many calling for the innovative three-at-the-back approach to be confined to the history books. That would be a premature move, though, as there is plenty of evidence to suggest the 9/1 title shots should persist.
Liverpool have one won of the three games Aly Cissokho has started in the formation
The on-loan Valencia full-back has deputised for the injured Jose Enrique on Liverpool’s left flank for the past three games and was hauled off at the break against Arsenal, resulting in the change of formation.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Frenchman is the weak link in the 3-5-2 system, having started the 2-2 draw with Newcastle as well. He was successful with just 67 percent of his nine passes in north London and Rodgers should first look at replacing him in the starting XI before ditching the whole formation.
The Reds have a better goal difference playing three at the back than with four
Steven Gerrard’s boys have now played five games apiece with three and four defenders employed. In the three centre-back option, Liverpool have scored 12 and conceded seven, giving them a positive goal difference of five.
With a flat-back four though, their goal difference of +2 is thanks to just three goals conceded but is far more limited in attack, with just five goals to their name.
Sturridge and Suarez clearly flourish in the 3-5-2 tactic and one poor half against Arsenal shouldn’t see the clear attacking positives of the system cast aside.
A positive run of games means they can quickly get back on track
Liverpool’s attacking class shines in a 3-5-2 set up. The side overran lesser opposition in the 4-1 win over West Brom and 3-1 victories over Sunderland and Crystal Palace and with Fulham, Hull, Norwich and West Ham all on Liverpool’s fixture horizon over the next five games, Rodgers should stick with it to ensure the Arsenal loss is just a blip.