Dez Richardson analyses the derby between Liverpool and Manchester United.
Robin Van Persie’s late penalty secured three points for Manchester United at Anfield.
Liverpool were unchanged from their draw with Sunderland. United made five changes bringing in: Evra, Evans, Valencia, Kagawa and Van Persie.
Rodgers side played with 10 men for 51 minutes after Shelvey’s sending-off. However, Liverpool still managed to open the scoring through their captain Steven Gerrard. Shortly after Gerrard had put his side ahead, Rafael equalised as United began to control the match. Late on, Robin Van Persie scored his fourth goal, in four games to secure all three points for his side.
Red Card – Liverpool look to retain possession
I feel Shelvey’s sending off totally lost Liverpool the game. Liverpool were on top before the incident, and with ten men, finished the game with more possession than their rivals. I was very shocked when Rodgers decided to bring on Suso. Especially with half the game left. However, Suso did extremely well and had a 100% pass success rate. Most managers/coaches in this situation would have gone in at half-time and worked on a game-plan to completely keep United out. Rodgers decided to keep possession instead of concentrating on a defensive shape. I feel the problem here, was keeping Sterling on the pitch. Rodgers later took the lad off, but maybe it was a little late as United had already pulled one back.
Ferguson once again, got this spot on. Scholes came on at half time, and completely changed the game for United. Maybe not as much as the Southampton game, due to Liverpool having 10 men. However, he completely dictated United’s play and helped United retain the ball much better in the second half.
Liverpool still lack chemistry and that cutting edge
Rodgers is still trying to get his team to adjust to his philosophy, and it’s bound to take time. I just hope they’re not trigger happy, and get rid of him too soon. I don’t think they will, but football is a funny old game. He’s got until January with his current squad, and that’s a good amount of time to assess what he needs for the transfer window. Like every team when they have a complete change in philosophy; some get used to the new ideas, and others can’t. I personally feel they need a pacey centre half. Rodgers teams like to play with a very high line, which is were they keep getting caught out.
Shelvey’s sending off dramatically changed the game for me. Liverpool weren’t clinical enough in the first place, but this clearly didn’t help out. United are stupidly good at taking their chances, and if any side fails to take theirs, United will punish them. In my opinion, Rodgers should have brought off Sterling at half-time. If you want to retain possession with 10 men, players like Sterling aren’t exactly reliable. Looking at Liverpool’s other options on the bench, the only other change that could have possibly had a positive effect was to bring on Enrique and go with a 5-3-2/5-4-1. Despite all of this, a silly individual error led to United taking all three points home.