Brendan Rodgers got it wrong against West Ham

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Liverpool tasted defeat for a third time in five games on Saturday, with West Ham United blowing the Reds away with a 3-1 victory.

Early goals from Winston Reid and Daifra Sakho stunned the away fans and despite Raheem Sterling getting one back, Morgan Amalfitano wrapped the three points up for the Hammers late in the game.

Here are six things we learned at Upton Park:

Liverpool's defence is shocking

Starting in the Liverpool back four was £49 million worth of talent purchased by Brendan Rodgers over the past two seasons.

The most expensive of those was £20 million centre-back Dejan Lovren, who signed from Southampton this summer. He was brought in to replace Jamie Carragher and become a leader in the back four - but hat is far from what he has been during his time at Anfield so far.

Instead, the Croatian looks tentative and wary when going up for headers and doesn't communicate with his fellow defenders. He also seems to ball watch a bit too much, not reacting to events going on around him.

You can also say that for the whole of the Liverpool back four. There is no communication whatsoever in the side. Constantly, the three centre-backs of Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel (after Rodgers changed the side) were challenging for the same header and didn't react to the second ball when the first was won or, more often than not, lost.

Alberto Moreno looks solid enough when defending in his sector on the left-hand side, but he needs to link with the rest of the backline and realise he needs to tuck in when an attack from the opposite side is occurring. 

My theory is the lack of an English mother tongue at centre-half may be causing a lack of clarity at the back. Including goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, there were four different nationalities defending the Liverpool goal.

If Carragher was still playing, you could hear his voice belting out from row ZZ, organising his defence and telling them where to go. The Reds need a centre-back to come in and communicate with the defence properly.

Make or break for Mignolet

Another who is under pressure is the Liverpool goalkeeper. He was at fault once again on Saturday when he was easily chipped by Diafra Sakho for West Ham's second goal.

You could also argue he should have collected the corner for the Hammers' first.

The Belgian looks extremely tentative in goal and doesn't command his box like he should. He's quiet in the Liverpool net and lacks a partnership with his defence.

Prior to the game, Rodgers asked him to step up and become more confident in the Liverpool goal - he reacted quite the opposite and with rumours that Victor Valdes is set to sign, Mignolet could find himself on the Anfield bench soon.

Raheem Sterling is becoming a star

The youngster grabbed himself his third goal in five games this season when striking in the first half to give the Reds a chance.

Despite being forced to play at wing-back due to tactical changes, Sterling still proved a threat during the second half, making several runs down the right-hand side and providing Liverpool's biggest danger in front of goal.

He looks mature well beyond his age on the pitch with his rapid pace, excellent movement and centre-of-balance that allows him to either stay upright when pressure is on him or go down if a foul is committed. 

The return of Daniel Sturridge should also improve the game of Sterling as they link up fantastically.

Gerrard is in limbo

Steven Gerrard has been, arguably, the club's greatest servant. However, the Liverpool skipper is doing nothing to help his side at present.

Playing the new role of defensive midfield, Gerrard does nothing to influence the game. When he picks up the ball up, he is virtually playing as an extra centre-half and the 34-year-old is hitting long balls throughout the game, however they are just not working.

As for defensively, considering Liverpool conceded three, he is not helping out in that area either and looks like he is lacking energy.

It is time for Gerrard to drop to centre-back. He is playing so deep that he may as well adjust to the role of playing there. He is hard is the tackle and an excellent header of the ball and would be suited to the role in the twilight years of his career.

If not, we could see the Reds skipper given less and less game time. Emre Can was brought in for £10 million this summer and he looks a powerhouse in the midfield and could over take Gerrard in the pecking order.

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Rodgers got it wrong

From the start, the Liverpool manager picked the wrong side. 

I don't understand why he started both Lucas and Fabio Borini - two players who the Norther Irishman tried to cart off in the summer transfer window.

Considering where Lucas was playing, he was never going to influence the game. The Brazilian played further forward than he usually does and he struggled there. Lucas is not intelligent enough to play this role and doesn't possess the talent to break down the West Ham defence.

As for Borini, he reminds me of Dirk Kuyt. He works hard enough but is just not good enough. The Italian looked out of his depth and struggled to make an impact up front.

Instead, Rodgers should have started with Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.

Lallana came on after the break for Lucas and made a real difference. He looked eager to run at the opposition defence and linked up well with Sterling on the right-hand side. The England international swayed the formula for Liverpool and should have been on the pitch from the start.

As for Lambert, he also didn't do badly when he came on. The 32-year-old - if played from the off - would have given Liverpool two options, play aerially or along the ground.

Another move Rodgers got wrong - and probably the worst of the game - was playing Sterling at right-wing back. 

I understand the former Watford manager was forced to make a change when the Reds were 2-0 down. However, he should have immediately brought Lucas off for Lallana, not Manquillo and switching to a 5-3-2.

Sterling has been Liverpool's best player by a wide margin this season and he was wasted wide on the outside.

If he was wide up front then he could still have impacted the game, yet he could never fully commit himself to an attack as he knew that he had defensive duties to fulfil.

Gelling excuse is become boring

In his post-match press conference, Rodgers again expressed how Liverpool are still gelling together as a side.

I'm sorry, but how long can this statement go on for? I know we're only five games into the Premier League, season, however, what do Liverpool do in training all day?

There is top-class talent in the Liverpool side. If you look at the players who have been brought in during the summer - Lallana, Lambert, Lazar Markovic to name three - they all came from club's who played quick, attacking football.

Is this not what Rodgers is trying to encourage?

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Brendan Rodgers
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