|Image via Liverpool Echo|
I found myself quite pleased at kick off after Brendan Rodgers had finally appeared to opt to play two up top. However, I should have known better and it quickly became evident that Danny Ings who would have provided good support for an isolated Christian Benteke was deployed as a sort of wingback.
It just seriously does my head in, why is he so opposed to 4-4-2? I know it's not popular and I know it's not his favoured system but you've bought a £30million plus player who needs to be fielded with support or at the very least he needs a constant supply line which at present is non-existent at Liverpool. The final hope is that he's considering playing Sturridge up front with Benteke but you just never know with Rodgers do you?
Anyway... On to the game. The first half, literally nothing happened, nothing noteworthy occurred and I genuinely felt bored at times. I get really geared up for the United games, having grown up in a different city I'm not afraid to admit that the rivalry between us and United spurs me up more than the rivalry between ourselves and Everton. I know more United fans and there are usually more United fans in the pubs and bars so it's built up for me over time and I always look forward to this fixture. The first half though was crap, that's all there is to say.
The second half began no better for Liverpool who were quickly on the back foot after a free kick was awarded on the edge of the box. A foul from Clyne on Ashley Young allowed United to create some danger but the space given to Blind was unforgivable. The free kick acted as a direct assist to Blind on the central edge of the box and with a powerful strike he put United in the lead.
Liverpool had some minor moments in the second half one of which arose after a poor clearance from De Gea and involved some link up play between Firmino and Benteke. Shortly afterwards Danny Ings was presented with a chance in the box however he failed to connect and De Gea saved relatively easily.
The Reds may have had a few odd chances but what was really shocking and at the root of their attacking issues was the fact they simply could not keep hold of the ball. It was embarrassing at times and Rodgers' side struggled desperately to maintain possession.
Just before the 70 minute mark things went from bad to worse for Liverpool when some inexperience showed as Gomez brought down Herrera in the box. There wasn't really a need for the challenge and you could tell Gomez had realised the gravity of his mistake but it was too late and the referee awarded United the spot kick. Herrara converted slotting the ball high into the net.
At 83 minutes the Reds witnessed a real gem from Christian Benteke in what would be the only positive from the game. A cross from Jordon Ibe took a deflection in the box and after travelling high into the air fell to a poised Benteke, preparing himself for an acrobatic effort I myself was preparing to start moaning at him for being so audacious but what a goal it was! Many will recall the Wayne Rooney strike but I can't see myself forgetting that overhead kick from the Belgian in a hurry. Just sublime stuff.
Manchester United though, never ones to prolong any Kopite celebrations of course, immediately spoilt the party just as I'd sat back down. A lovely bit of play from their starlet Martial perhaps proved his price tag as he took on the Liverpool defence with ease and scored United's third of the night.
It was definitely a game to forget for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers simply has to go back to the drawing board as far as I am concerned. Yes he will hopefully have Sturridge to call upon soon but his tactics for me are flawed and risky. He's certainly a man who wants to force players to fit into a system as opposed to adopting that system to suit his players and that really, really annoys me.
I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
@LFCKirstyLFC you could see potential in the team in second half. Henderson calming influence dearly missed. Need a controlling DM. #LFC— Mohsin Rizvi (@SMaRiz) September 13, 2015
@LFCKirstyLFC Too negative in our approach. It looked like we were playing for a draw from the outset. We made Utd look better than they are— moonagedaydream (@bungleboy92) September 12, 2015
@LFCKirstyLFC Team has no identity, can't pass, has shown no signs of progress in three years under BR. Lovren/Skrtel are the worst— Keith (@KeithKolasinski) September 12, 2015
Next up for Liverpool is Bordeaux in the Europa League.
Just to pre-warn you there will be a Bordeaux preview on the blog however unfortunately the report will be missing and so too will the Norwich match preview and report. I'm off on a city break to Barcelona so things will be back to normal for the Carlisle game!
P.s. If you haven't yet I'd really appreciate it if you could give me a vote for best established blog in this year's football blogging awards.
Simply tweet: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs for best #Established blog"