This certainly has been a season for changing our expectations of players.
Yesterday I discussed how big an impact Bobby Decordova-Reid has made ever since switching from an attacking role to a right wing-back, and we are seeing the same thing with Ivan Cavaleiro. A man that you would predominantly see on the wings, a change in tactical style at Fulham has seen him take up a new role as a striker in Scott Parker’s 5-2-2-1 system.
Do we need to bring in a new centre-forward this window?
And 27-year-old was certainly causing problems to Liverpool’s backline, as he managed to get away four shots, three of which were on target (both of which the most from anyone on either team), whilst also completing 89% of his passes.
Whilst his performance didn’t get him the best of ratings from WhoScored (only a 6.6), his display has been recognised elsewhere, with fans on the BBC giving him a 7.53, and Fulham journalist Peter Rutzler singling out his excellent display, pointing out there was only really one thing missing from it:
“Only fault is that he didn’t score. But he should have won a penalty and his movement caused all sorts of problems. Dovetailed nicely with Lookman. Showed himself to be an option up front.”
It certainly is a bit of an enigma, and I suppose a credit to Parker, who whilst still quite inexperienced as a head coach is able to see these sorts of things and make the adjustments that seem to be working dividends with Fulham looking a lot more impressive than we were in the earlier parts of the season.
If it had been another head coach we’d be praising him, so it’s only right that we show Parker the same gratitude for finding this new side to a number of players in the squad. Now I don’t expect anything too radical going forward, like putting Marek Rodak as a deep-lying central midfielder, but I guess we as fans need to keep on our toes because we don’t know what the next tweak from Parker is going to be.
And if we don’t then neither does the opposition boss. Something that Jürgen Klopp knows all too well by the sounds of it.
What about you? What have you made of Parker’s ability to find new roles for players this season?