Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson sees numerous benefits in fielding the kind of three-man backline that Brendan Rodgers has favoured during the past month.

The Northern Irishman's preferred system since mid-December has been a 3-4-3 formation, with a trio of central stoppers supported by a pair of wing-backs on either side.

Solidity at one end of the field allows greater creative licence at the other - a fruitful combination that has helped the manager oversee a seven-match unbeaten streak.

"If you go three at the back, sort that out and get a good relationship between the three, you are building from somewhere," assessed Lawrenson with

"And you can play an extra attack-minded player - that might make all the difference between a 0-0 and a win. It's a really, really good system."

The approach has paid obvious dividends for Liverpool since it was originally deployed by the boss, bringing the best out of players in all areas of the pitch.

Encouragingly, Lawrenson believes that the tactical set-up can become progressively productive as time and practice promotes better understanding of its nuances.

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The 57-year-old continued: "You've got to play it for a while; it's not just the three [at the back], it's everybody understanding the system around them.

"Once you get the relationship between the three, the midfield players and you get the understanding from everybody what their job is, it makes life much easier for everybody.

"If you make it easier, players feel more comfortable. They don't necessarily have to make a 50-yard run and then run back the other way, because they know they have got numbers. It makes a big difference."

The television pundit can speak on the subject from experience, having been part of a three-man defence on the day that Liverpool clinched the 1985-86 championship.

"We played three at the back on one or two occasions," Lawrenson recalled. "I remember the first few times we played it.

"Graeme Souness - an unbelievable player - turned round to Joe Fagan, Bob Paisley and Ronnie Moran and said 'I hate it, I absolutely hate it'.

"We said 'Yes, because you've got to do a bit more running' and he said 'No, you three are sat in your armchair'. We used it more actually when Kenny [Dalglish] got the job and was player-manager.

"We played three at the back quite a few times. I remember one famous day when we won the league at Stamford Bridge, when he scored the goal.

"We played three at the back that day - me, [Alan] Hansen and [Gary] Gillespie. With good players, I think it's a really good system."