Liverpool: Do defensive worries lie ahead?
But the great result hides the flaws that have been plaguing the Merseyside club so far this season: mainly the defence. Yet to keep a clean sheet this year, Liverpool has shipped 12 goals in six games, and let in two more against a straightforward Norwich team.
Rodgers' introduction of possession football was seen as a tactic that would improve the third best defence in the league last year. While Liverpool let in only 40 goals during the campaign, it was assumed that ratio would only get better, with the general philosophy being that the opposition cannot score if they do not have the ball.
But it seems that Liverpool have had trouble transitioning thus far.The Rodgers' system calls for both the full-backs to push on, high up the pitch, and the centre-backs must go to wide positions. It’s all about making the pitch as big as possible, so there is space to pass the ball around and drag opponents out of position.
The full-backs have been further forward than at any time in the history of Liverpool, and, crucially, at the same time they are getting good possession. But when they give the ball away, which will happen playing that way, opposition forwards will quickly be at the centre-backs.
Playing the way Swansea did last season, with the passing and fluidity they showed, it is all about the speed and positioning of the players; especially requiring quick cover from the centre-backs.
But it seems the Reds personnel have trouble executing the plan.
With Jamie Carragher now slower than a rock, it is impossible for him to provide cover if a full-back loses the ball in a bad spot. More suited to playing in a very solid, tight back four, with a solid four in front of that.
Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are slightly more encouraging, but glimpses of difficulties with the change in style have been seen regularly.At the full-back positions, Rodgers has made it clear that he prefers playing Glen Johnson, the England right back, on the left. Delivering a warning to Enrique, who was responsible for two of the goals Liverpool conceded in their 5-3 win over Young Boys.
"What is important is that you have good communication," said Rodgers … with Enrique looking like he possibly doesn’t get the full gist of the English language based on the howlers of communication breakdown in the Europa League match, it presents a problem.The manager further added: “Status does not matter. It is what you are like as a player. It doesn't matter how much money you have come for. That doesn't matter to me. I will play a 17-year-old if he fights and he has quality."
And Rodgers has been true to his word, opting to play the young Andre Wisdom at right back instead of putting Enrique on the team sheet.
But regardless of the players named on the field, the performances must improve. And Rodgers has to shore up the defence quickly or it will be a long three months until the January transfer window.
Calling all Liverpool fans: Do you agree with Dave's assessment of the defence? Is it an area of immediate concern to you? Should Rodgers try and bring in another quick defender in January to improve his options? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.