Liverpool triumphed over their League two opponents AFC Wimbledon in the third round FA Cup tie. The game was far from comfortable for the Merseysiders as they had to rely on their captain Steven Gerrard who once again produced a good FA Cup performance as he has done over the years.
Here are three things that we learnt after their win over Wimbledon:
Simon Mignolet’s performances are hurting Liverpool at the back
This is a fact that is pretty much known. His distribution has been poor so far, his decision making is questionable and his presence in his own area is abysmal during set pieces. Although he is a good shot stopper, there are just too many negatives in his overall game for him to be Liverpool number one. The Belgian had a bittersweet performance against Wimbledon yesterday as he made two excellent saves to make sure that his side picked up the win in what was a potential banana skin. However, the 26-year old was at fault for Wimbledon’s equaliser as he decided to go for the ball during a corner, but was nowhere near it.
Its almost certain Liverpool will sign a new goalkeeper considering how poor Mignolet has been this season. The absence of a good second choice has hurt them even more.
Liverpool’s defence looks poor even against League 2 opposition
Brendan Rodgers’ decision of not bringing in a defensive coach could hurt their chances of progressing this season. The Merseysiders looked below average in their defending against Wimbledon who created a lot of chances and exposed the back three of Liverpool, but the League two side simply could not convert their chances. Emre Can, who had a decent outing at centre back position before the FA Cup game cannot be played in that position week after week. The German u21 International is predominantly midfielder, but he can play as a defender every now and then. Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho are slowly forming a decent partnership with each other, but the lack of clean sheets isn’t helping their cause.
Liverpool haven’t scored a lot of goals last season which has put even more pressure on their manager.
Steven Gerrard is still a good number 10 player
With Lucas and Henderson playing the deeper role, Steven Gerrard was asked to play the number 10 role against Wimbledon. Despite not having the movement and pace of Raheem Sterling in front of him, Gerrard made some good passes that should have been finished by Rickie Lambert. In addition, the Liverpool captain made some good runs in the box and scored from a header to give his side the lead.
What Liverpool will miss the most in his absence is his set-piece taking abilities. Gerrard’s free kick gave Liverpool the advantage after they were pulled back by a Wimbledon equaliser and there is no one in the team who seems to possess the same technique as Gerrard. The 34-year old could have had a hat-trick but was denied by the Wimbledon goalkeeper. The biggest task for Rodgers in the current window will be to identify a player who will replace Gerrard, cause at the moment, Liverpool don’t seem to have a replacement in their squad.