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Rodgers: “We Need to be Better”

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Brendan Rodgers knows his side didn’t perform up to expectations against Manchester United. Now, if they want to stay in the top four conversation, they’ll have to be much better against Arsenal.

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The topic of the day may have been Raheem Sterling, but Brendan Rodgers still had a few concerns that didn’t involve the 20-year-old attacker’s contract status when he spoke to the press ahead of Saturday’s potentially season defining match against Arsenal. Top of that list was fixing the mistakes seen in his side’s recent loss to Manchester United.

"Our possession simply wasn’t good enough last game," said Rodgers, reflecting on the disheartening loss Liverpool suffered before the international break. "We were never positioned to receive the ball and to press without it, and we need to be technically better. Tactically what we wanted was clear, but we need to be better, and we need to get something no from this game."

For some, there were questions about the tactics, too, as Rodgers sent out the same four-man box midfield at the start that struggled against Swansea the week before—and which Liverpool was able to improve on in both cases when the manager made in-match adjustments. There were certainly issues of poor execution by the players, but the initial tactics left something to be desired.

The hope will be that, against Arsenal, both tactics and technique will be on point from kickoff. And at the very least, the return of Lucas Leiva should help to stabilise a midfield that has begun to look shaky in recent weeks. At the back, though, losing Martin Skrtel to suspension is a concern, and Rodgers isn’t happy about the FA’s decision to uphold a three match ban.

"I’m very disappointed that our appeal wasn’t successful, because I felt it was unjust," said the Liverpool manager, who went on to note that while Skrtel and Steven Gerrard wouldn’t be available, both Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana were day to day and might be available on Saturday.