Instead of focusing on how the referee cost them at least a point, Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers should focus on how to improve as a team around Luis Suarez, doing everything he can to ignore the bias from officials and two and three players marking him, only to let Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling mess up the glorious chances he set up for them.
Suarez didn’t take a single shot at goal, constantly marked by Joleon Lescott and another player keeping a close eye. It did create some wonderful passing combinations between himself, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling. One of them led to Coutinho’s openning goal. Another to Raheem Sterling scoring a disallowed goal for an offside that never happened. The other two put Coutinho in a perfect opportunity to score in front of Allen (which he shot straight into the keeper’s arms) and later in the second half for Raheem Sterling, with nothing but the net in front of him, still managing to miss somehow.
With Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard missing, it was quite evident for all to see how limited was Rodgers in his ability to change things. Victor Moses went in for Philippe Coutinho and disappeared on the left wing. Iago Aspas’ only touch on the ball after entering for Lucas was by taking a corner kick. Luis Alberto was the only other attacking player Rodgers had to use, and saw no reason of putting him in.
Conceding a goal from a set piece has become the norm, especially with Martin Skrtel missing his assignment. He was pulling on Vincent Kompany and still wasn’t able to deny him the equalizing goal. Skrtel might be a brave tackler, but he makes awful decisions, and with Mamadou Sakho having a terrible day when it comes to his decisions with the ball, the combination didn’t really help Liverpool. Their lack of quality in the back and defensive midfield (Lucas, always him) is something that has to be addressed if this club is to continue rising and become a permanent member again of the top 4.
Lucas himself is another issue. He’s a fine midfielder when it comes to defensive assignments, but it’s something a team can’t afford; having a midfield that takes no part in the build up or attacking game. Liverpool have some sort of imbalance in their midfield, no matter the trio, but finding someone better than Lucas, who can also help Henderson and Allen or Steven Gerrard when he’s fit, is pivotal, the sooner the better.
There are now moral victories. Liverpool lost the first place and dropped to fourth. They can look at this match and try to focus on how Lee Mason screwed them with his decisions, not to mention the FA putting a referee from the greater Manchester area in such an encounter. But they can also take out the very flowing kind of offense they’ve got set up with Luis Suarez in the middle, while trying to fix the personnel issues in the defense, which include taking Aly Cissokho out of the lineup for good and for the same to happen to Martin Skrtel, as Daniel Agger is long overdue a return.