Would a return to inverted full-backs solve Rodgers’ problems?

With Celtic’s lacklustre start to the domestic campaign providing more questions than answers, fans are starting to ponder ways Celtic can get the team firing on all cylinders again. One of the things that made Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic team so successful was the inverted full-back system that had Celtic set up so steadily, defensively and offensively.

Whether reverting back to that system could be the key to kickstart Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side is a very valid point, but how likely is Rodgers to use this system?

He has previously used full-backs in this way during his time at Leicester City as well as on a few occasions as Liverpool manager so it wouldn’t be completely unfamiliar. But how could this be the answer to Celtic’s issues?

Shores up the midfield

One of the main issues that has been costing Celtic in recent weeks has been a lack of steel and solidity in the Celtic midfield. Callum McGregor has been finding himself swamped in front of the defence as he has been consistently targeted by opposition midfielders which has led to the Celtic midfield being bypassed constantly.

This could be attributed to the players having grown so accustomed to Ange’s style of play with McGregor still instinctively expecting his full-backs to be there in the middle of the park to provide cover when defending. Adding more bodies in the middle of the park can help prevent the opposition from flooding and overrunning Celtic’s midfield as well as reducing the workload that is currently being placed on the shoulders of the captain.

Bringing players back to form

It is no secret that Greg Taylor has been struggling to adapt to Rodgers’ demands and veering away from the inverted full-back system.

As one of the most consistent and improved players under Postecoglou, a reversion back to old ways would perhaps benefit Taylor the most, as he is at his best when was coming central and being involved in the more technical side of the game.

This also would allow Callum McGregor to be back to his brilliant best with added cover and passing options which he seemed to be desperately lacking at Rugby Park on Sunday.

However, reverting back to old ways could potentially have the opposite effect, as previously outlined.

Why might Rodgers persist with his way of managing the team?

Brendan Rodgers is a manager with a strong character and also a strong belief in his abilities and tactical style. The much preferred way Rodgers would like his team at Celtic to play would be to develop his own identity and style. Reverting back to old ways would be an admission that what he is currently trying to build at the club isn’t working.

Reverting back to old ways may also break up the rhythm of the Celtic team, as Rodgers would be going back on the style he is trying to implement. Encouraging his side to play a different shape to the one he has been preaching for the last two months may require additonal adjustment time for some of the new signings.

Either way, Rodgers will be looking to get his team firing soon and Saturday’s fixture against St Johnstone has provided the perfect opportunity for Celtic to bounce back and build momentum for 3rd September’s big derby test.


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