Manchester United defeat proves Liverpool are lacking in certain areas

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Football News

Liverpool were defeated 3-1 by Manchester United in last night's pre-season friendly and the performance suggests that they must improve in certain areas before the start of the Premier League campaign.

First of all, Rickie Lambert needs to find his feet in a Red shirt, although he is likely to start a lot of games from the sidelines with Daniel Sturridge set to be Brendan Rogers' first-choice striker.

If the former Southampton man is to justify his £4.5 million move to Anfield, he must improve. Lambert looked off the pace during the game against Liverpool's North West rivals, giving the ball away cheaply at times and still looking in need of familiarising himself with the quick passing system.

He looks unsettled with the Liver Bird on his chest, almost as if he is overwhelmed and still cannot believe that his dream move to Liverpool finally happened. Lambert needs to stop going through the motions and realise he is still playing football.

Left-back problem

Another area that Liverpool need to strengthen (and are looking to by bringing in Alberto Moreno) is in the left-back area. Glen Johnson has unfortunately served his time at the club. His defending is unconvincing at the best of times, but last night he was shockingly poor.

Yes, his ball to Raheem Sterling to set the penalty up was intelligent, but this does not make up for his poor defensive play. His duties are to defend, however he allowed Ashley Young too much space on the right wing and he whipped several crosses with no pressure that threatened the Liverpool goal.

The final area that Rodgers must seek a new signing is the centre of midfield. Emre Can has already been brought in, however he is more defensively minded despite being able to go forward. Both Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen went missing when Liverpool went 2-1 down.

Henderson is now 24-years-old and is becoming a Liverpool veteran in his fourth season at the club. He has improved wearing a red jersey and it is now time for him to really grab games by the scruff of the neck.

The former Sunderland man is now the same age as when Steven Gerrard carried Liverpool all the way to lift the Champions League in 2005. If he cannot develop into a top class box-to-box defender, Rodgers must bring in a top class replacement.

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Midfield space

The amount of space in the centre of midfield when United were on the attack was something very noteworthy. They could pretty much control the possession in the second half when they wanted to, with Henderson and Allen either missing or unintelligently failing to win the ball back. It was almost like Liverpool played with a 5 (with Gerrard)- 5 formation at times.

There were positives, however. Raheem Sterling was electric, as was Philippe Coutinho. Despite this, there are problems at Liverpool that need to be addressed quickly on last night's evidence.

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