Date: 3rd November 2013 at 11:00am
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After four years of consecutive disappointment, Liverpool have made a tremendous start to the season winning six of the opening nine games. Last night, Liverpool had a great chance to go a step forward as a win at the Emirates would have put them in a great position with the Manchester United-Arsenal fixture coming up.

In order to play both Sturridge and Suarez upfront, Rodgers switched his formation to 3-5-2 in the Capital One Cup tie against Manchester United and as it worked well, he decided to proceed with the same in the Premier League too.

1) Starting Line-Up at Emirates- was it too fragile?

Having won only one out of the last 16 fixtures against Arsenal, Liverpool entered the Emirates with the desire of changing their fate. As Glen Johnson was ill, Rodgers made a major decision (but stupid) to start off with Flanagan from the right wing back. Having Sterling, who had already started as right wing back in the games earlier on the bench and Kelly, who had some playing time there this season, wasn’t it a foolish decision by Rodgers to start Flanagan? That too, while playing the league toppers?

2) Wasn’t it a bad decision to replace Cissokho with Coutinho?

Liverpool were trailing just by a goal at half time. Trailing just by a single goal means you can easily come back at any stage of the second half and there is absolutely no necessity for the manager to get tensed and pressurized. But, Rodgers didn’t seem so; he looked tensed, pressurized, vexed and so he made an unneeded change, replacing Cissokho with Coutinho. When the entire team is performing poor, there is no point in blaming a single player unless his commitment is lacking. Though I am not backing Cissokho, I feel no hesitation in stating this change by Rodgers was done without understanding the knowledge of the game.

When Coutinho was introduced, Liverpool switched to 4-4-2 formation, with the Brazilian providing the services as a left winger, Henderson as right winger, Lucas as defensive midfielder and Gerrard without a position to play. Arsenal, with 4-2-3-1 effectively used this space in the midfield and pressed the ball very easily without many problems. I could say this game as the best example to denote the end of 4-4-2 in modern football.

3) Moses at no.10 and Coutinho as left winger – Wasn’t it a foolish move?

When Coutinho was operating from the left in our opening three games, Rodgers said he would be buying a left winger to provide Coutinho a more central role. The Brazilian was found effective when operating from no. 10 rather than from the left side. When Moses was bought in the 67th minute, Coutinho still operated as left winger whereas Henderson was pushed back as right back, Moses at no.10 and once again, Gerrard without a position to play. Playing the professional left winger as no. 10 and no. 10 as left winger was a bad move.

4) Rodgers had no clue in final 10 minutes

For the final 10 minutes, Rodgers once again switched the side to 3-5-2 with Coutinho and Henderson as flanks. Was it the right decision to play a midfielder with less tackling abilities at left wing back? Rodgers lost his patience, his control over the game and went to think in an inappropriate way.

But really this is not the end of the season. With 28 games more to play, a 5-point lead is not at all a matter for concern. Liverpool should focus on avoiding dropping points in relatively easy games. With an ‘easy’ games next against Fulham, Liverpool should work hard to get three points. Rodgers should not lose his patience; he should be focused and drag the negatives from the last game to convert it as positives in the proceeding games. Liverpool should aim high; Liverpool shouldn’t give up; Liverpool should work hard. Play for the title, at least we’ll then get a Champions League place finish.


18 responses to “4 Key areas Liverpool went wrong against Arsenal”

  1. pino says:

    Before the game Wenger said that he noticed since Br started playing 352 lfc have not kept a clean sheet so he will look to exploit it and actually did it.I said b4 this game that lfc will lose cos Br will not listen and play 4 5 1 which Chelsea,Bvb and Westbrom used to get points,but what pains me most is that Br always thinks he knows more than everybody but clearly he is afraid of big games and doesnt believe in pragmatism to win big games and also doesn’t know how to win them.

  2. Martinmarx says:

    Some would say ManU is a big game. Obviously not you. Moan moan moan is all you Children do. He made a mistake starting 3-5-2/5-3-2 but he addressed that brilliantly at half time and the first 10 of second half was our best. A better return there and we could’ve won the game. As it was, it was one of those games where even Suarez missed a sitter and Henderson ended up getting our best chances. Gutted to see him and Lucas in the team.

  3. Dave R says:

    You miss the most important point . Why play Lucas ? What does he do ?

  4. Johnny Starrs says:

    (1) agree 100%, Sterling should have started, especially against a footballing team like AFC.

    (2) He was right to replace Cissokho,he was awful, never slid to prevent the cross for the 1st goal, got booked and, was a handicap for us, he done nothing,slightly worse than Gerrard Toure and Lucas.

    (3) Debatable,

    (4) Last 10mins 2 down, it calls for an Andy Carroll,do we really want that.

  5. Keng Kinny says:

    Your points are sensible, and I think most fans saw it similarly.

    There was an easy halftime fix to the lack of linkage between midfield and attack:
    Replace Flanagan with Henderson at RWB, replace Henderson with Coutinho as CAM, and replace Cissokho with Moses at LWB.

    Changing the formation was dumb and is not befitting for a top 4 contender. IMO.

    • robert obrien says:

      people keep saying that were moving in the right direction ,well am sorry to say not with this manager i thing he is clueless,i know its not all his fault ,as the players have to perform on the pitch,but the set up against arsenal was all wrong lucas was garbage,gerrard has lost his legs and needs replaceing sooner rather than later ,i know a lot of fans will dissagree with this ,but hes got no pace and some of his passing is average at best but against arsenal you could see the frustration in his face he just has not got it any more,no energy or pace in midfield ,we need to buy at least two midfield players in january,we need a lot of investment in the playing department but i for one would not trust br with any significant amount of money,look at the players he bought borini,aspas,allen,cissoko,ok hes only a loanee but there not good enough,top four dont think so sorry

  6. Tony9ja says:

    Rogers has just shown that he does not have the intelligence to lead a team like lfc. Even the most naive of all coaches knows that arsenal’s strength lies in the wings. Why then did rodgers start with 3 5 2 seeing that cissokho is the most useless player i have seen in a red shirt and flanno has not played in a epl for a long time. He should have started with a back four( agger,sakho,skirtel& toure) Again,why keep moses on bench – preferring to play hendo who despite his good marking is nothing but a mediocre player who should have put us in the lead agaist arsenal but decided to show his average worth by passing the ball to arsenal GK instead of scoring. Again, lfc can’t achieve anything with lucas as our DM. A DM that can’t contribute anything in the attack is nothing but a big minus. Our failure to invest in a DM in the summer is hunting us now. Missing out on Wanayama was a big blow. We need his type of strength in our midfield. Again, it is time Gerrard is rested for some matches. These days, he gives the ball away too often; can’t tackle;can’t dribble. This weakens our team. As a matter of fact,we must make top quality signings in the winter or forget top 4. Again,we will do well to let players like aspas,lucas,cissokho etc go in the winter as they are not top 4 materials.

    • TruthOrDare says:


      Rewarding mediocrity in Lucus and Henderson will be the downfall of LFC, and Rogers backing players of that calibre will surely see him given the boot!

  7. GUI says:

    what stupidity for rogers? using 3 defenders for a playing team like arsenal? he should stop using that formation from today. we don’t want that formation i don’t blame any players bcos that formation can destroy the the pressure is coming they may not know what they are was rogers that killed our game yterday.use the formation other coaches are using to get point 4 4 2 /4 3 3/4 2 3 1 etc….what does he know to change the formation like that? we don’t want to see that again.liv have players that can destroy arsenal .blame to roger.since he has started that formation,they really struggled to win their past matches not they are doing well with that formation.if he continues using that formation livfc will see themselves in the top 10 at the end of the season.if he continues using that formation he should be sacked in january.

  8. jacobson ebenezer says:

    wen i saw d formation… i no its nt goin 2 go dwn well wit liverpool… bring agger, allen back… is beta off dan lucas and cisoko…

  9. David C says:

    Question marks are building for BR,some of his tactics are mysteries at best.I also believe a coach shouldn’t be to close with certain players,example Stevie G.SG should be rested a lot more,or benched and come on as a impact player.BR is to close to him and hasn’t got the balls to drop him.Also the sooner we get replacements for Henderson,Lucas,and Gerrard the sooner will be in champions league.

  10. John nkrumah says:

    I think liverpool will never walke alone afer arsenal lose but the future is bright for liverpool.yesterday my problem was that we lost the linkage between midfiled and attack because no coutinho type in the 1st havle. Rodgers did a mistake to start flangan at right wing back because there are more optio like sterling,hendson and kelly.All the prayers did not performed to they are best but we should inprove our games against big teams but we should put yesterday defeat to bed and concentrate on our next games,liverpool all the best come what may top4 finish position

  11. victor says:

    BR always make Arsenal vs Liverpool game easier for arsenal team with his naiive tactics approach to the game.. Average manager. Crap!

  12. Emmy aboje says:

    It was poor line-up by rogers,absence of johnson he could hav used TOURE at 2 & den use AGGER & SKRTEL at 5&6 den SAKHO to play 3 which should b(TOURE,SKRTEL,AGGER,SAKHO) instead of robish flanagan which hav nt playin 4 long time,BR went and use him against Afc with the worst signing cissiko,which flanagan and cissiko ar minus two in the game….let bliv all tins wil b ok

  13. Your article is quite spot on. Really why did Rodgers persist with 3-5-2 formation when you have a strong opponent like Arsenal. I would have prefer if he uses 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 . Why did he not use Agger I really do not understand. As Sakho & Cissoko are still learning the English game. As you have rightly pointed out why use Coutinho on the left ? Moses should be on the left and Coutinho revert back to his No 10 role.

    Not that I want to badmouth Lucas , and I sure some would agree that he did not perform in the match.That is why Arsenal had the control of the midfield. Lucas is one of the most important player in the team. His disappearance act really let the team down.

    This game is really a big disappointment for me but what can I do ? I still have to support them no matter what happens.

    On another side note , I really hope that players like Mignolet and Toure would just shut up before a big game. Let the manager deal with the mind games. The players should just concentrate on their own jobs. Now how foolish they look.

    Well time to look forward to the next game.

  14. steven cranston says:

    I agree with the comments made about r defeat to Arsenal. I think Kelly wud have been a better choice than Flanagan though thought the boy done well n has a future at the club!! For me he should have stuck to the formation he started with by bringing on Sturridge for Flanagan n Cuttinhio for Cissoko,but think Henderson should have went left flank n Cuttinhio playing in front of Gerrard n Lucas as number 10 giving him freedom in the middle to have a greater influence in attacking n playing in the front 2. This also wud have given Gerrard time n space to pick a threatening pass!!

  15. Peter 9ja says:

    Wat som of u is sayin is wrong. Why cos when he was winnig wit that formation nobody spot out d mistakes. When he played toure,sketel,agger,sahko agains suttön we lost @ home. Wat he needed his start he has learnt his mistakes and knws is best 11 knw

  16. Peter 9ja says:

    Wat som of u is sayin is wrong. Why cos when he was winnig wit that formation nobody spot out d mistakes. When he played toure,sketel,agger,sahko agains suttön we lost @ home. Wat he needed his start he has learnt his mistakes and knws is best 11 knw. And falagan did well in that position rearly miss place a pass. An is jst dat we loss to a better team