Since the tenure of legendary tactician Johan Cryuff and later Louis Van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona FC have dazzled the world with their intricate passing game. Tiki taka, as the system of play is now known, has captivated audiences all over the world.
Pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to watch, tiki taka is characterized by short passing movements and emphasis on maintaining possession. Andres Montes the late Spanish broadcaster is credited with coining the term whilst commentating during the 2006 World Cup.
The Spanish, also known masters of tiki taka, utilized a high tempo form of the system at the recently concluded Euro 2012 with outstanding success.
Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers has indicated that he wants to re-invent the system of play at Liverpool by introducing a variant of tiki taka.
While at Swansea Rodgers was credited with turning the Swans into a cohesive unit. The constant pressing while off the ball and maintaining possession while with the ball earned Swansea many admirers. Wins against the Champions Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool proved that the continental system of play could be effective in the Premier League.
Swansea under Rodgers had a remarkable pass-accuracy percentage (85%) last season. They were 6th in the pass-accuracy statistics last season just behind continental giants Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Liverpool have arguably a more talented crop of players than Swansea. Logically therefore Rodgers would be expected to achieve better and more significant results with the Reds.
There are no illusions about the tasks ahead. Brendan Rodgers has the singular burden of re-transforming a band of under achievers into the lethal machine that Liverpool once was.
To achieve this Rodgers will have to instill a new mind set in the side so as to enable the squad move from the traditional long punt and wing play associated with Liverpool's current game to the short passing system. In addition Tiki taka requires a significantly higher level of technical discipline which will be something that Rodgers will need to work on.
Liverpool has players who can easily adapt to this system. Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Lucas Leiva, Jonjo Shelvey, Maxi Rodriguez, Charlie Adam, Luis Suarez, Jay Spearing among others all have the technical capability to quickly absorb this system into thier game plan.
It is however doubtful that Andy Carroll will be able to perform at his best in such a sysyem. Already rumours of his impending departure (denied by Liverpool at the moment) are rife with suggestions being made that Newcastle or West Ham may sign him up. Roma striker Fabio Borini has been touted as a replacement.
Rodgers will most certainly, in addition to recruiting a prolific striker, be required to sign up a creative/holding midfielder to supplement the efforts of Steven Gerrard and Leiva Lucas in the middle of the park. Leon Britton operating from a defensive midfield position performed remarkably well for the Swans last season. No doubt Rodgers will aspire to ensure that one of his midfielders replicates Britton's performances.
There is a sense of optimism at Anfield. For one of the biggest clubs in the world it is without doubt the dawn of a new era. Rodgers is determined to put in place a model that will enable the club to grow. His football credentials in this respect are not in doubt.
For many it is now time for Liverpool to reclaim their position in the elite of English soccer. Will tiki taka be the solution to the woes that the mighty Reds have faced? Only time will tell. It is however evident that the Anfield faithful will require tremendous patience to allow the new Manager time to instill the new system of play at the club. One thing is certain however, beautiful football is coming back to Anfield.
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