Following a calamitous performance at home against the hammers, every fan was expecting Liverpool to bounce back at their arch rival’s den at Old Trafford. This has always been that kind of fixture where form goes out of the picture and determination, desire to win counts more. Couple the intensity of such a huge game after an international break and the Reds fans were itching to watch their team win and acquire bragging rights. But it was rightly delivered to a deserving team this weekend.
The red devils showed more intent in scoring and to eventually win the game, whereas Rodgers had a game plan to! Oh wait! To be honest, Rodgers’s team neither had a plan nor the desire to win against their dreadful rivals, apparently. Yes, it was one of those days when everything went wrong and the manner of loss was humiliating than the loss itself.
Takeaways from Liverpool’s loss against United
Lineup and formation
When was the last time we played with 2 strikers up front and wreaked havoc on opposition defences? Every supporter including was optimistic when the line-up was out and had Ings replacing the suspended Coutinho. Benteke and Ings up front with Firmino at his favored number 10 position was as dreamy as it could get for such a big occasion. But BR had other plans, or at least he presumed so. Brendan Rodgers bizarrely started Ings on the wings and had him track back to defense most of the match and Firmino was asked to play the opposite wings where he was tried and failed many a times.
In my opinion there were more than one glaring mistakes with the line-up and personnel used. Gomez , despite his less than convincing performance against west ham was started ahead of Moreno at left back role, to handle Mata/Herrera in the flanks. Though Lovren didn’t do anything wrong this time around, it is still unjustifiable to starthim ahead of Sakho overlookinghis horror show in our last outing. BR decided to stick with 4-3-3 after sending out Markovic, our best available winger, on loan.
Jamie Carragher on the BR’s tactics:
“You think about how many strikers Liverpool have on the books and they have no wide players. They’ve only got Jordon Ibe. Firmino is not a wide player and Coutinho played there last week and he’s not a wide player. I don’t understand this obsession with playing 4-3-3. Brendan Rodgers came to the club wanting to play 4-3-3 and it didn’t work.
Lack of Intent
The first half was a dull affair for all Liverpool fans and it was acceptable after every international break. No better way to express how dismal our performance was, than to say that ‘For the first time ever, I was made to believe that MUFC players played better football’. It looked as if BR had asked the defenders to clear the danger at first attempt, may be due to Lovren’ messi-esque demeanor against hammers. We lost possession very often, playing hoof-balls to Benteke to do the rest.
Liverpool were happy to sit back and clear chances till 60 minutes. A tactically mature move from Van Gaal, replacing a sloppy Memphis with Ashley young helped open the game for the home team. Young made a telling impact sooner by winning a foul just outside opposition penalty area, the resultant free kick coolly slotted in by an unmarked Daley Blind. School boy defending to have an unmarked player during set-pieces.
It was deserving of West Ham to win the game a couple of weeks back. But this time around, it was more of Liverpool deserving to lose than Manchester united winning it. Gomez proved again that he is too young to take tremendous pressure of playing for Liverpool and add to it the pressure of a huge match away from home. We hope that he learnt it is vital to be on your feet inside the penalty area, especially in the English top tier league. BR has his hands full and he is under tremendous pressure in the coming weeks.
When you’re 2 goals down, everyone needed a morale boost and it came from our most expensive signing of the season. Benteke’s wonder strike, the bicycle kick will be one of ‘Goal of the season’ contender come end of the season. Hope this strike gives him the much expected confidence boost for the upcoming games. Can and Ings were other bright spots in an otherwise ridiculous display. Hope BR is ready to correct his mistakes and don’t play Ings and Firmino out of their best natural position.
On the other end, Antony Martial a reported million pounds capture had the best debut possible. To debut at one of the biggest stadiums, against the fiercest rivals, a huge transfer fee- and the lad handled it like a piece of cake. To top it off with a well worked goalto kill the game 3-1, had already taken him to the old Trafford faithful. But still a long way to go before he proves his price tag or his ‘Next Thierry henry’ tag.
What’s up next for Liverpool?
Liverpool will travel to France on Thursday, for their first Europa league match of the season against Bordeaux. To be optimistic, Liverpool have won all of their last five matches opening group stages matches in European competition (CL and EL) and the last time these two teams faced, Liverpool won both legs of game with an aggregate of 4-0.
Quote of the week
” The first thing you have to do with players is make them feel comfortable in positions they’re playing in. Firmino doesn’t want to be out there. On the other side Ings doesn’t want to be there. Right away they’ve got an excuse: ‘This is not my position, I’m not used to it’
–Graeme Souness told Sky Sports.
‘Five games in and we have not created anywhere near as much as I would have liked,’
–Rodgers in his post-match conference.