Brendan Rodgers got his Liverpool selection wrong for Aston Villa clash
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers got his starting line-up wrong after a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, writes Reds blog We Go Again
Liverpool were shocked by Aston Villa in an absolutely appalling display that lacked any quality whatsoever from the home side in the final third.
But let’s look at the performance in depth and pinpoint the key areas where the Reds could improve.
First of all, Liverpool had to be far more incisive with their passing as they struggled to penetrate the Villa back-line at any point during the game.
Villa used the sort of tactic that Liverpool should be best prepared for; the hit and run. The visitors scored early after errors from the defence and had no intention of attacking for the rest of the game.
Paul Lambert’s side were aggressive and they were certainly kicking our forwards up in the air, literally at times, although Liverpool’s stars should be used to this by now.
This is no excuse for the poor performances of Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, who were very poor for Liverpool for large parts of the game, especially the Serbian.
Coutinho had points during the game where he looked like providing a spark and he did hit the post. Lallana also showed flashes with a few close shots but all in all for our £50m worth of talent, it was a horrendous showing.
Villa set up with solid banks of four and were just happy for Liverpool to have the ball in front of them and the Reds barely penetrated the first line of defence, let alone the back four.
For me, this shows just how important Joe Allen is for Liverpool. He finds good areas for the team to have possession and either picks out the pass or moves into that space.
So far this season, he has been Liverpool’s best player, exclusing Raheem Sterling.
With regards to Mario Balotelli, I was quite impressed with him for not retaliating to Philippe Senderos’s wind-up tactics and his ball retention was pretty calm and collected.
Senderos knows that he was lucky to still be on the pitch for some of his challenges, and if Paul Lambert told him to behave in such a way, then I do think it was disgraceful.
Considering how poor Liverpool were playing, there was no need for that sort of challenge.
My final point goes on the team selection.
Brendan Rodgers will be the first to admit he got it wrong. He started an out-of-form Coutinho, Lallana who was making his debut and Markovic, who has a lot of adapting to do.
Yet, he left out our best player so far this season despite the absence of Daniel Sturridge.
Rodgers will insist that he does not regret excluding Sterling at the end of the season if it all goes wrong. Maybe not in public but on a personal note he will regret it.
But Liverpool are a team that bounce back well and I do expect them to do that on Tuesday in the Champions League.
We Go Again is a Liverpool blog. Follow here for everything Liverpool, including news, opinion and much more.