Liverpool went with largely the same sort of side which beat Young Boys 5-3 away for the match against Udinese. It was always going to be tough considering some of the quality and experience in the Italian side. Liverpool totally dominated the ball with 71% of possession in the entire game so it leads to the question of what went wrong?
Firstly, Liverpool were not precise enough. They had 21 efforts on the Udinese goal compared to the eight from the visiting side. Nearly all of the attacking players on display had chances to score goal but there was a lack of calmness and composure in front of goal which has transformed Liverpool in recent weeks. This cost the side dear because if they had taken their chances they would have won easily.
The organisation which Liverpool have shown in recent weeks was missing, they were lazy and conceded two goals in as many minutes in the second half which changed the game. This has to change and the mental focus which is needed to win European games has to be better over the coming weeks. Udinese were outclassed in terms of the statistics but they put on a brilliant display of aggressive counter attack play.
“We concede goals too easily. It's an area we have to work on. We were very good in the first half but we lost concentration and became lazy and found ourselves 3-1 down. I thought the team worked very well but we can't have to score three, four or five goals to win games,” said manager Brendan Rodgers after the defeat.
Bearing in mind Liverpool’s dominance with the ball, when they did give it away it was in the wrong areas and this allowed Udinese to launch attacks quickly and precisely. It is very hard for a defence to automatically switch on when the team gives the ball away in the final third of the pitch. This placed an immense amount of pressure on Liverpool’s goal and they just crumbled under the weight of it.
A small criticism of the manager could be that he waited too long to bring his big guns off of the bench. Rodgers gave Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez just over 20 minutes to influence the game. The two goals which were conceded by Liverpool, that cost them the win, came only a few minutes after these two players had come onto the pitch so they had no time to brand their influence on the midfield or the attack of the Liverpool team.
Liverpool shouldn’t be too disheartened by the result because they were playing against one of the best sides in Italy. However, the performance was not along the same lines of what we have seen from Liverpool in the last two to three weeks. In terms of possession, it was exactly the same but Liverpool squandered a great chance to put themselves into the Europa League driving seat.