Sunday 14 September 2014 13:34, UK
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his side lacked their usual spark as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.
After falling behind to a ninth-minute goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor following some slack defending, Liverpool pressed Aston Villa back for the remainder of the match.
The home side dominated possession and had 18 shots at goal, but just one on target, with Philippe Coutinho’s late effort against the post the closest they came.
Rodgers’ men often blew opponents away last season as they came close to winning the Premier League, but shorn of Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge, they looked toothless at times.
"We started slowly in the game and only probably only started to click and up the tempo when we went 1-0 behind," Rodgers, who left teenager Raheem Sterling on the bench, told Sky Sports.
"I think the players gave everything. It was a bit of mixture, we couldn't find that quality in the final third of the field and Aston Villa defended well.
"We just couldn't find the final pass, we had enough of the ball but we just couldn't create so much.
“It is sometimes what happens. Normally we’re a team which starts very, very fast, but for some reason we didn’t start like that.
“When a good team gets in front, it can be hard to break them down.
“We had enough of the ball, and we had enough time to get back into the game, but we couldn’t do that.”