Mistakes are part of the territory during the first year on the job, but Brendan Rodgers keeps making the same. Playing in a formation that puts Luis Suarez all alone as the only option Liverpool have on offense hasn’t worked in the past, especially when it comes to stronger teams.
The second half looked so much better. Rodgers may be keeping his faith with Joe Allen, but at the moment the small Welshman doesn’t look like the player worth all that money, and not like the player who did a great job in keeping the passing game moving on at Swansea, especially because Liverpool aren’t playing in the same way.
Isolations and players too far apart from each other on the pitch. Every time Raheem Sterling got the ball on the left wing two United players were on him, while no Liverpool man was in the vicinity of 15 meters from him. There was no movement from the midfield towards the forwards, playing a very cautious game during the first 45 minutes, which led to a rather embarrassing display. Luis Suarez, when he had the few touches he did get to put in, was all alone against two, three and four defenders. That only led to built up frustration.
As United moved back, Liverpool moved forward. Steven Gerrard suddenly advanced and took more chances, leading up to the Daniel Sturridge goal. Every time Gerrard plays closer to the front men, good things happen for Liverpool, but the captain seems to be conserving his energy at times during matches, which gives Liverpool small windows of opportunity to take advantage of his strengths.
Sturridge was a breath of fresh air. The new Liverpool forward looked dangerous with every touch and move, missing a few chances that could have gave Liverpool and undeserved draw. There was too much selfishness in the Liverpool attack during their good moments, as Luis Suarez forgot about passing to anyone else, soon to be repeated by Sturridge coming into the box from the left side.
Jordan Henderson has been in good form lately, but Rodgers stuck to his Allen-gun. Big mistake. Allen’s small stature doesn’t help when Liverpool are so shy and timid on the attack. His big advantages are quick feet and clever passing, but when the match turns into a more physical battle in the middle of the pitch and Allen becomes somewhat of a defensive midfielder, there isn’t anything positive to mention about his playing style.
Relying on Luis Suarez is a good thing, but not without help. He isn’t Zlatan Ibrahimovic who can carry any team on his shoulders to limited success. Suarez does need the support of midfielders and wingers. Liverpool have to start playing like a team that wants and is willing to win right off the bat, especially against the “big” clubs. Giving players more passing options and support, something that didn’t happen often in the loss at Old Trafford. A European place is up for the taking, but for that, they need to start beating teams from the upper half of the league.