CRYSTAL PALACE 0-3 LIVERPOOL
(STURRIDGE, SAKHO, MILNER)
LIVERPOOL 1-0 NORWICH
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 LIVERPOOL
After what was a successful pre-season and summer transfer window, Liverpool would be looking to prove that they aren't the team they were last season. With three Premier League games all in the form of Palace, Norwich, and United they would certainly have to be at their best to get maximum points.
Rodgers and his side first took to Selhurst Park where Alan Pardew was ready to secure another win over the Reds having already done so on numerous occasions at Newcastle. For this first game Liverpool went out with their strongest side seeing this first game as the most important of the opening few.
They started the game playing some attractive, fluid, attacking, and possessive football. Raheem Sterling who was also man of the match in this game came close a couple of times before the 30th minute which was the point at which Daniel Sturridge netted his sides' first goal of the season.
The second half brought an early second when Jordan Henderson fired in a cross from a free kick conceded by former teammate Martin Kelly who brought down Coutinho on the left wing. The ball curled in from the left and Mamadou Sakho was there to direct it up and over Wayne Hennessey.
It wasn't too long after the second goal that Lucas Leiva was sent off for a second yellow. This had no baring on the match however, as Liverpool went on to score 20 minutes later. Daniel Sturridge who was brought down in the box earned his side a penalty. Substitute and debutant James Milner coolly slotted it away for his first ever goal in Red shirt.
The second game of the season brought no challenge for Liverpool. Although it might not seem like they struggled, 40 shots and 70% possession really proved that Norwich were just no match whatsoever. They didn't even register a shot on target.
You may think the pure domination from Liverpool would result in an absolute trashing but no. The team struggled to find a way through for the entire game as Daniel Sturridge was completely misfiring all game until he was taken off for Danny Ings in the 60th minute.
Ings' first appearance as a Liverpool player wouldn't be one to go down in history, and no he didn't come on to win the game. Quite the opposite really. He - like Sturridge - was misfiring for the 30 minutes he was on. So in a last ditch attempt to scrape out the three points, Milner and Ibe would be brought on for Markovic and Gundogan.
Having not scored a Liverpool goal before in a first team game, Ibe was unlikely to produce in the 10 minutes he was given on the pitch but he out of all the players on the pitch proved to be the decisive factor in the 85th minute when he darted past Assou-Ekotto then drove on shoving Bassong out of way before absolutely leathered it past Ruddy.
Liverpool just about scaped the three points and Ibe had made it 6 from 2. A god start.
The last game of August would come against huge rivals Manchester United and the prospect of playing in a North West for some was massive, especially for the likes of Ibe who was actually left on the bench even after scoring the winner in the last game.
It seemed he might have played but the change of tactic from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-2-1-2 would leave the side without any wingers and so Danny Ings would get his first start for his new club, partnering Sturridge up top. Sterling would sit just behind the front two looking to create a front three as a shadow striker.
The game was even all throughout but Liverpool were considered the better side although it was only 11 minutes into the game when Robin Van Persie struck home sending the Red Devils into the lead. Liverpool responded well and for the rest of the first half it was all them.
They got what they deserved in the 31st minute as well! Sterling who received the ball on the edge of the box from Coutinho slotted in delightful pass for Sturrudge to run on to. 1 on 1 with De Gea, he made absolutely no mistake when curling it around the Spaniard into the bottom corner.
The rest of the game was also pretty much Liverpool's game although United did have their fair of shots, they just couldn't make them count. De Gea was on tip top form as well despite conceding in the first half. He made save after save to deny Liverpool three points and even earned himself the man of the match.
Late on he got himself what could already be save of the season. Jordan Ibe returned to the field after having won the game against Norwich and he very nearly did the same here when he volleyed Henderson's corner from the back post. It was like a guided missile to the top right corner but De Gea from out of nowhere got his fingers to it and changed it's course for the crossbar.
Liverpool would more than likely go home happy with what they'd achieved in the last three games.
Player Of The Month - Raheem Sterling
Sterling was instrumental in all three games we played this month. He was absolutely super against Crystal Palace and put in a performance of the highest quality against United. All that was missing was a goal. His assist for Sturridge was sublime.
Ibe was also another fantastic player this month as was Sturridge, both could have earned the award but Sterling was on another level.
Thoughts On the Report
We've had a great start to the season. Our performance against Palace was probably the best in terms of goals but the one against United definitely comes close considering they're a much bigger side at a much higher quality.
I'd like to say we got lucky against Norwich but really with the possession we had and the amount of shots we had I don't really know if I can call it lucky because we certainly deserved the goal. I'll hope to see more of this from the side next month. Consistency is key.