Liverpool legends Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher have criticised Brendan Rodgers’s tactics following the club’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Reds suffered a second straight Premier League loss as goals from Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and United debutant Anthony Martial cancelled out Christian Benteke’s spectacular overhead.
In the absence of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, Rodgers deployed summer signings Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino in wide positions, a decision that Souness strongly disagreed with.
“The first thing you have to do with players is make them feel comfortable in positions they’re playing in,” the five-time title winner, and three-time European Cup winner, with Liverpool, told Sky Sports.
“Firmino doesn’t want to be out there. On the other side Ings doesn’t want to be there. Right away they’ve got an excuse: ‘This is not my position, I’m not used to it’.
“Ings spent most of that half running towards his own goal. He would class himself as a striker, he doesn’t want to be doing that. What Firmino is I’m not quite sure, we might see that as the season pans out.”
He added: “You’ve got square pegs in round holes and it just doesn’t work. You have to make people feel they are playing in positions they are happy to play in and Liverpool haven’t got that right now.
“I think they have to sit the players down. They all know what their favourite positions are and he must know he’s asking players to play out of position and I don’t think some of them are very comfortable with that. You’re handing them a big excuse.”
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Carragher, who is Liverpool’s second-highest appearance maker of all time with 737, feels that Rodgers should ditch 4-3-3 and return to two up front in order to give more support to Benteke. You can watch the Belgian’s acrobatic effort from yesterday below.
The former England defender told Sky Sports: “There’s not enough help for Benteke. “Ings came in and I said before the game it must be two up front and they must be playing a diamond formation, but they were still playing 4-3-3. I don’t understand what the point was in playing Danny Ings in that wide position. He didn’t give the support to Benteke.
“You think about how many strikers Liverpool have on the books and they have no wide players. They’ve only got Jordon Ibe. Firmino is not a wide player and Coutinho played there last week and he’s not a wide player.
“I don’t understand this obsession with playing 4-3-3. Brendan Rodgers came to the club wanting to play 4-3-3 and it didn’t work. The great season they had was with two strikers and how they got them into the team is down to the manager. They’ve got a lot of strikers, no wide players, and he continues to play 4-3-3.”
Leading bookmaker SkyBet now make Rodgers, who was appointed at Anfield in 2012, the 2/1 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post.
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