Man United 1-0 Liverpool – Red’s Found Lacking Again

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Brendan Rodgers switched his formation around for the League Cup match with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. The 3-4-1-2 was deployed and for long periods, especially in the first half, Liverpool dominated the game. There is a tendency to expect perfect games from the team you support and every football supporter is guilty of this. The high standard that has been set at Liverpool has not been matched since Rafael Benitez was in charge. A lot of improvement is needed if Liverpool expect to make the top four after the last two games.

 

This Liverpool squad will find it difficult to finish in fourth spot this season. The reason being the squad and team has players well below the accepted standard of a “Liverpool” player and also players who are prone to switch off and make individual mistakes. Refer to our left back, Jose Enrique. The Spaniard lost Javier Hernandez last night and then tried to blame Steven Gerrard. Even if Liverpool were incorporating a zonal system, there’s no way you can expect a player on the front post to know whats behind him. At that point there needs to be a decision made to follow the attacking player as it’s too late to pass him off to someone else.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

The first half started with United threatening but as that subsided Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Victor Moses looked to make an impact on the game. There was a lot of good buildup play but Rodgers men seem to always lack the final pass at the moment. Suarez failed to tee up Gerrard when the skipper was well placed at the top of the eighteen. Buttner glanced an Enrique cross away from the awaiting Sturridge at the back post.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Make no mistake. Manchester United were there for the taking. The sad part is Liverpool looked lost in the final third. Suarez in his first game back following his biting ban looked as if he was lacking match fitness. Some chances fell his way that the Suarez of last season would probably have dispatched.  A Suarez free-kick did hit the bar after glancing off the United wall and later Jordan Henderson side footed wide from a promising position. Ryan Giggs should have seen red when he handled and then proceeded to kick the ball away after already seeing yellow but the referee lacked the necessary decision-making skills to follow procedure correctly.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

On a positive note, Mamadou Sakho put the nightmare of Southampton to bed and put in a good shift in the centre of defense. Jose Enrique failed to impress on the left and Kolo Toure worked tirelessly on the right with Henderson. The elephant in the room remains with the Lucas Leiva/Steven Gerrard midfield. It simply isn’t working. Gerrard lays too deep, Lucas is a defensive midfielder. We have no support for the front players when we do have the ball and our transition at times is like watching the titanic turning.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

When fit, Glen Johnson should start at left back, Kolo or Martin Kelly at right back and Sakho and Agger in the centre. Philippe Coutinho will likely replace Victor Moses as I doubt Brendan Rodgers would replace Gerrard although it bears serious thought or more him further up the pitch.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

So knocked out of the League Cup early on and now only the FA Cup remains. The argument for and against cup competitions can go on and on but the fact remains that until Liverpool qualify for the Champions League again, the club will fail to compete for and sign top quality players. A tricky trip to Sunderland on Sunday awaits Rodgers and co as they face a team eager to impress after the sacking of Paolo Di Canio.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Manchester United

  • 01 De Gea – 6
  • 02 Rafael – 5
  • 06 Evans – 6
  • 12 Smalling – 6
  • 28 Buttner – 7
  • 04 Jones – 6 (Booked)
  • 10 Rooney – 8
  • 11 Giggs – 6 (Booked)
  • 17 Nani – 6 (Welbeck – 90′ )
  • 26 Kagawa – 7 (Januzaj – 73′ )
  • 14 Hernandez – 7 (Carrick – 74′ )

Substitutes

  • 40 Amos
  • 22 Fabio
  • 08 Anderson
  • 16 Carrick
  • 29 Zaha
  • 44 Januzaj
  • 19 Welbeck

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet – 7
  • 04 Toure – 6 (Booked)
  • 17 Sakho – 8
  • 37 Skrtel – 6
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 4
  • 08 Gerrard – 5
  • 12 Moses – 6 (Sterling – 82′ )
  • 14 Henderson – 6 (Booked)
  • 21 Lucas – 6 (Booked) (Kelly – 67′ )
  • 07 Suarez – 6
  • 15 Sturridge – 5

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 34 Kelly
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 06 Alberto
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Ibe
  • 09 Aspas

 

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