Liverpool improved defensively in win over Olympiacos

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Liverpool defeated Greek side Olympiacos 1-0 last night in Chicago, Illinois in what was a different performance than what we have been used to at times.

Last season, the Reds were known for their counter-attacking football and ability to blitz sides early on in games.

We know that the side have the potential to do that, however manager Brendan Rodgers instead tried to play a more conventional system at times to try and concentrate on defending better.

Defensive improvement

Clearly that system worked as Liverpool did not concede and the back four looked a lot more confident and better set-up. Two players I think have improved significantly are Sebastian Coates and Jack Robinson.

Coates struggled with injury last season and then spent most of his time as no more than a squad player when he was fit. However. in the game last night when he came off the bench, he looked confident and decisive when challenging for the ball in the tackle, heading and clearing.

As for Robinson, the time he spent at Blackpool looks to have forced the best from him. The youngster was superb when both defending and attacking, with his clever overlap midway through the second-half distracting the Greek outfit's defence to allow teammate Philippe Coutinho to fire just wide.

Impressive Markovic

Liverpool will have to cope with life without Luis Suarez moving forward and £20 million signing Lazar Markovic has been drafted in to try and aid the recovery. He made his debut in a red shirt last night and played the whole of the first 45 minutes and gave fans glimpses of the talent he possesses and why he was scouted by so many top European clubs.

He showed his pace and skill at times and on one occasion he skipped past two players before firing his shot just over. It seems that he will need to settle in a bit more, however he should take to the Liverpool style of play like a duck to water.

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Can competition

As for Emre Can, he commanded the midfield and looks set to give stiff competition to Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard in their positions. Joe Allen played further up the pitch and he too showed why Liverpool paid so much for him last season. It looks like he has spent a lot of time in the gym working on his strength, as he was not knocked off the people as easily as during last campaign and showed much more clinical passing.

Liverpool's goal came through a great ball from Gerrard to find Daniel Sturridge, whose deflected shot kindly fell to Raheem Sterling who slotted the ball home after five minutes.

Gerrard still showed his class and Sterling's finish was one of a goal poacher and that could imply he may be handed a more central role for Liverpool this season especially after the club's failure to sign Loic Remy.

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