Rodgers: Liverpool can't just play long balls to Benteke

The Reds were well beaten at Old Trafford and the Northern Irishman was disappointed with the way his side continuously pumped the ball into the Belgium international

Brendan Rodgers has hit out at his Liverpool side after they fell to a 3-1 defeat to rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, insisting that they must resist the temptation to play long balls to striker Christian Benteke.

The Reds are now without a win in three Premier League games after goals from Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and debutant Anthony Martial condemned them to a damaging defeat, despite the Belgium international’s stunning overhead kick.

Rodgers admitted afterwards that his side had not shown the required quality against United, and says that they must avoid taking the easy way out by playing direct passes to summer signing Benteke.

He said: “It is too easy sometimes for us to go direct to Christian Benteke, who was excellent given the service that he had.

“Unless you can keep the ball for longer periods to connect the game and get it higher up the pitch all that happens is you end up getting rid of the ball and it goes up to him. We have to be more superior and better with the ball to build your attack so that is something that needs a lot of work.

“We need to be a lot technically better than we showed. Over the first five games now creating more goals is something we need to look at. We haven’t created anywhere near as much as what I would have liked. That is something I need to look at with the coaches and staff.

“You are never happy when you lose a game, especially to your rival. I have a group who will respond but the key for us is to initiate a game and create chances – that is something we need to be better at.

“I am disappointed with the result and disappointed with the performance. We know we can play better.”

Rodgers was unhappy with the award of the free-kick that led to Blind’s opener after Nathaniel Clyne challenged substitute Ashley Young on the edge of the penalty area.

“I thought in the first half we defended well and didn’t give away too much but we had nowhere near enough quality and composure on the ball,” the manager continued.

“We were disappointed with a couple of the goals although I never thought the free kick was a free-kick. Both players were tangling for the ball and get their arms up, Ashley Young jumps on the player’s back but gets the free-kick. Then United worked it well and created the space.

“I think Herrera has done well with the penalty, young Joe Gomez will learn he has to stay on his feet.

“We showed good character to get back into the game and Christian gets an incredible goal with a high level of technique but then we concede a disappointing third and that kills us.”

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