One of the areas in which West Ham badly struggled to match Liverpool on Sunday at Anfield was in central midfield.
Of course, the Champions League finalists boast energy in the engine room that is almost unrivalled across Europe and better teams than the Hammers will succumb this season.
However, the trio of Mark Noble, Declan Rice and Jack Wilshere just didn’t have the legs to cope. Pellegrini will surely be tempted to rejig the balance, but how best to do it?
We’ve looked through some of the available solutions and debated their merits. Read on…
Drop Declan Rice
This one should be avoided at all costs. Pellegrini did not recruit a big-money holding midfielder, but did land Issa Diop and Fabien Balbuena, which all points to Rice’s future being in the engine room.
He is a physical, technical player with bags of talent who represents a bright future for the club and somebody the fans can relate to. Anfield was a baptism of fire, but he is the best fit for the anchor role – he just needs gametime and a manager who trusts him and he’ll learn.
Drop Mark Noble
This is a tough call but of the three midfielders who started on Sunday, Noble is the one who should drop out in order to get energy in there.
The skipper will still have an important role this season, but Rice’s emergence and Wilshere’s arrival may squeeze him out of the best starting team. Energy is so important and Noble cannot provide it in the same way he used to.
Bring in Josh Cullen
In the same way Rice’s introduction brought a youthful dimension last season, Josh Cullen may well freshen up the midfield, especially if he’s paired with his Republic of Ireland Under-21 team-mate in the engine room.
Pedro Obiang is also an option to add energy, but his flirtation with Sampdoria in the summer suggests either Pellegrini doesn’t fully rate him or he has his eye on a move.
Either way, while Obiang might be the obvious candidate, taking a punt on Cullen could pay dividends.
Move Felipe Anderson inside
Jack Wilshere was fielded as the most advanced midfielder and it didn’t work at all. The former Arsenal man can play as a number 10 but is best driving from deep, so a switch to 4-2-3-1 could work best.
With Wilshere alongside Rice at the back of midfield, Pellegrini must find someone to play in the hole and who better than his main creative gamble? Putting new-boy Felipe Anderson at the heart of the team should allow him to get on the ball more than he did against Liverpool and create chances.
It does raise the question of who will play on the left; Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko are both options but prefer cutting in from the right. An outside bet would be returning Marko Arnautovic to the left flank and fielding Javier Hernandez up front, and the Mexican would certainly appreciate the service from Anderson.