It would be easy to write an angry post venting at Rodgers’ inability to win a game at home against a promoted team, but honestly I can’t bring myself to wallow in all that negativity (we all have our ways of coping). So assuming the unlikely scenario in which Rodgers doesn’t get sacked sometime in the next month, I decided to focus on 5 things that the team did well – and not so well – that they’ll need to build on in the next few games.
1. 3 at the back works
It looks like playing 3 centre backs might be the way forward in the near future. Having 3 central defenders gives us more of a solid base to build attacks from and leaves us potentially less exposed at times when defending, giving our defenders less reason to panic when the opposition is racing at them. Plus, right now Can is much better playing at CB than he is central midfield. We all know that’s his preferred position but so far he just hasn’t done enough to really own that position himself. He looks much more suited to playing alongside Skrtel and Sakho than he does Milner and Henderson/Lucas.
Unfortunately Norwich’s goal still proves that further improvement is needed defensively, but 3 at the back seems like a step in the right direction.
2. We need Sturridge
An admittedly obvious point to make, but it was revealing to see how much we improved going forward with Daniel Sturridge starting the game. Our star striker was still a bit rusty, which is expected after spending so long on the sidelines, but he made us look so much more threatening. His touches on the ball oozed class, often bringing other attackers into play and often drawing attention away from Benteke, which then created more space for both him and our other forwards.
3. Ings can’t do it all by himself
Ings put in a great performance after coming on for Benteke, scoring a fine debut goal in front of the Kop with his first touch. He seemed to work really well in tandem with Sturridge (having looked promising alongside Benteke previously) and gave Norwich problems all afternoon. He was unlucky not to get a second really. But once Sturridge came off, he was expected to the lead the line for the remainder of the game and it seemed to be a bit too much for him.
Not that it’s his fault really, he just needed a bit more help. He benefited greatly from having Sturridge on the pitch but as the sole striker left on the field it became easier for the Norwich defence to deal with him. It’s worth pointing out that Benteke had to come off due to injury (hopefully not too serious) and Sturridge is clearly not quite ready to play a full 90 minutes yet so it couldn’t be helped, but hopefully Rodgers won’t try that tactic again anytime soon.
4. Moreno was much improved
He still gave the ball away a few times with badly judged passes and the occasional terrible cross, but for the better part of an hour Moreno was incredibly dangerous. Wing back seems to suit him and he made many marauding runs forward and whipped in some superb crosses. Not to mention a superb assist for Ings’ goal, lofting the ball over the defenders and into the striker’s path.
Much has been made of Gomez’s start to the season but Moreno is undeniably better when it comes to getting forward and if we continue with 3 at the back, Moreno should be the one to start ahead of the 19-year old. The Spaniard even covered well when Sakho was under pressure. Speaking of which…
5. Sakho needs to keep his place
Every single Liverpool fan has been mystified as to why Sakho hadn’t been starting games this season. It seems every season the Frenchman has to prove himself to Rodgers, who really shouldn’t need more convincing at this stage. We were willing to let it lie when Lovren put in 3 decent performances in his first 3 games, but in 2 games Sakho has once again proved that he is the superior defender, rarely getting a pass wrong and winning all of his aerial duels.
Hopefully Rodgers has realised the error of his ways and has now made Sakho his first choice defender. The great thing about playing 3 at the back is that even if Lovren gets back in the side, it shouldn’t be at Sakho’s expense.