Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United: reoccurring problems still remain with Reds

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Kopites leaving Anfield on Sunday evening would have had a similar feeling they've experienced umpteen times this season.

Such promise and potential soon reverted to disappointment as Liverpool were defeated by Manchester United, their seventh loss in the Premier League this term.

Jurgen Klopp has inherited a side that lacks a killer instinct and the Reds are paying the price for not putting the ball in the back of the net.


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Top four slip-up

With Tottenham Hotspur running out easy winners against Sunderland on Saturday and tightening their top four credentials, Liverpool can almost now write off a Champions League finish.

Liverpool had an opportunity to go level on points with United and put themselves into a decent position to plunder a challenge on the top four but, instead, they've allowed their north-west rivals to gain the upper hand.

The Reds' midweek draw to Arsenal was almost treated like a victory given the dramatic last-minute equaliser from Joe Allen, and supporters hoped their team could build on the effort.

Instead, Liverpool have taken yet another step in the wrong direction.

It's difficult to argue that the Merseyside outfit were not the better team; they dominated the match for the majority and away supporters could not have grumbled if they travelled back down the M62 without anything to celebrate.

Instead, Red Devils fans - who were joined by the likes of Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcos Rojo in the away end - celebrated Wayne Rooney's 78th-minute goal like it had won them the Champions League.

Klopp again opted to start without Christian Benteke and began the match without a recognised striker.

The German's protagonist's were lively from the first whistle, but they were not clinical enough in front of goal.

Lack of killer instinct

Unlikely source Lucas presented Adam Lallana with an early golden opportunity, but the England international fluffed his lines. From a difficult position, he tried to head past David de Gea, even though the Spaniard was on the border of his area. Lallana failed to take responsibility, much like he's done since he joined Liverpool for £25 million in 2014.

Roberto Firmino has begun to come into his own in recent weeks and looks to have settled playing as a false number nine. The Brazil international seems to relish the responsibility without compatriot Philippe Coutinho in the team and his perfectly-weighted ball found James Milner in acres of space on the right-hand side.

Milner hasn't created any fireworks since his summer move to Anfield. The Yorkshireman earns a staggering £150,000-a-week at Liverpool but he also fluffed his lines when he had just De Gea to beat, waiting too long to pull the trigger and fired high and wide.

Steven Gerrard used to relish the chance of facing Manchester United and was always raring to go. Along with playing Everton, it was his favourite fixture and he always wanted to set an example.

Henderson must improve

Jordan Henderson looked to do similar. The Liverpool skipper was lively enough and was involved in several tussles with Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrara and Marouane Fellaini. However, Henderson still lacks the class and finesse required from a Liverpool captain.

The former Sunderland man had three chances to break the deadlock and put the Reds in the driving seat. His first before the break was difficult from a tight angle following a well-worked passing move, but there is argument he should have hit the target.

Henderson had the chance to make up for his previous effort when he latched onto Milner's intelligent flick-on. However, much like his deputy had already done, Henderson could only crash his effort into the stands.

The 25-year-old's best of his three chances come following the break. Shooting in front of the Kop, Henderson could have become the hero.

Gerrard was so clinical shooting outside of the box. Attacking Anfield's most famous stand, he scored some memorable goals; from his strikes against Olympiakos and hat-trick against Everton, the Liverpool legend stole the headlines so often.

Midway through the second period, Firmino found Henderson around 25 yards from goal. The pass rolled to him at a generous pace and there was no United man around to put pressure on him; Anfield stopped and Henderson took centre-stage.

However, his side-footed chance was enveloped by De Gea, who did not need to move.

Emre Can still has a tendency of switching off and has to improve his concentration. But the German enjoyed playing a further role forward with Lucas playing deeper and was denied by a superb De Gea save and Firmino suffered the same fate when given a second bite at the cherry.

Same old Liverpool

The centre-back partnership of Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho had a very good game for the most part.

Toure used his experience in one-on-one situations and kept Wayne Rooney at bay, snatching the ball off the England captain in the first-half when he looked done for pace.

But, it was same-old, same-old for the Reds. Corners and crosses have been their Achilles heel this term - it's how Olivier Giroud grabbed his first on Wednesday - and it's how United snatched victory against the run of play.

Toure, Sakho, Henderson and Lucas were all drawn towards the aerial threat of Fellaini. Somehow, the Belgian won the header, which crashed against the bar. There was Rooney, left unmarked to keep his cool and fire past Simon Mignolet.

Rooney's finish may have looked one of simplicity, but it was much more than that. It was a strike of a forward who's been scrutinised by the press this term, against the team he grew up loathing as soon as he could say Everton.

United had just one shot on target, but it was the difference between the two teams. As Daniel Sturridge watched from the stands and Benteke came on with less than ten minutes to go, United benefitted from having a natural goalscorer and Rooney took the spoils.

Two problem's pose Klopp; how can he improve his team's finishing and how can he prevent his side concede any more goals from set-pieces.

What does Jurgen Klopp need to do to improve his Liverpool side?Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Jordan Henderson
Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Manchester United

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