Two goals up, it seemed smooth sailing, then two goals later, it was on to extra-time. Just how did Liverpool let it slip? For a team that has just secured two hard-fought 1-0 wins in the Premier League, to concede two in the space of a half to a League One side was unacceptable. Further, such tired legs like Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and co. will have had more taken out of them and less time to recover for the rivalry grudge match this Sunday. The first of the season for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Liverpool looked to have continued their fine form this season with a great piece of individual play by Raheem Sterling, dribbling past two before slotting home. Gerrard’s pinpoint through-pass then saw Sturridge rifle in a well-struck second. Somehow, Kolo Toure and Andre Wisdom’s failed collective effort to out-jump Notts County’s Yoann Arquin and allowed him to header in what should have been a consolation. They then allowed Arquin to pierced right through the Reds defence yet again before providing a pinpoint cross for Adam Coombes to force extra time.
Luckily, they got out of jail thanks to another Sturridge goal and Jordan Henderson’s superb solo effort, his first of the season. However, Kolo Toure pulled up in extra-time and Liverpool played the last part of the match with 10 men. His injury looked serious and further scans did seem to support this, but Rodgers has since revealed Toure should be fit for Sunday’s showdown.
Such is Toure’s importance to the side that he needs to be in the team for Liverpool to have any chance against David Moyes’ new side.
Moyes has never won at Anfield with his old Everton side for the most of the past decade. He will be searching for his first win as a manager at Liverpool’s home ground. How can Liverpool and Rodgers stop him and continue their own fine start to the season? Here’s a quick analytical buildup.
Seeing how Rodgers set up his side to play against United last year, it is evident he needs to realize he has been making pretty noticeable errors. Recent Liverpool sides that have manage to get one over United and their old boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been due to the high levels of energy and pressing employed, first by Rafa Benitez and then during Kenny Dalglish’s short second spell.
Rodgers’ Previous Mistakes
Last season, Liverpool sat too deep and invited United pressure. This Sunday, they will need to get at United, especially since they have the backing of the Anfield crowd – an optimistic one too – with Lucas Leiva leading the charge. With the momentum of a full 6 points from 6, this will be Rodgers only chance to give Moyes a hard time and a rough start as United boss. The only reason Moyes got a point last Monday was because Jose Mourinho decided to play negatively and didn’t utilize Romelu Lukaku at all, let alone to his strengths.
The central pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are world-class, but they can be get at. Fernando Torres, in his Reds pomp, showed that, so did Luis Suarez for the past couple of seasons. Their main weakness is being dribbled at and via the quick turn of pace, which incidentally, is Sturridge’s speciality.
Philippe Coutinho will have to really start behind Sturridge, so that he can give Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley a busy afternoon. Whether it is through his creativity on the ball, or just his mere presence, Coutinho must give the two United midfielders something to worry about, and he must deny them time and space to play the ball and dictate the game.
One of Ryan Giggs, Shinji Kagawa or Wayne Rooney will start…
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