Five things we learned about Liverpool from Manchester United defeat

Raheem Sterling

Liverpool lost 3-1 to Manchester United in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but what did we learn from their performance?

Liverpool ended their tour of the USA with a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in the final of the Guinness International Champions Cup.

The Reds had the better of the first half but ultimately succumbed to a Wayne Rooney-inspired United, leaving Brendan Rodgers with plenty to think about heading into the new Premier League campaign.

Here are five things we learned from Liverpool following their latest match:

Sterling can be new catalyst

Raheem Sterling was a constant threat in a first-half that saw United’s new-look defence given a torrid time.

The England attacker showed no sign of fatigue following England’s World Cup exploits and he was easily Liverpool’s best player.

With Luis Suarez now departed, Sterling could become the Reds’ catalyst next season and he went the right way about proving that against United.

At this rate, he could be one of the very best players in Europe in the next year or so.

Lambert needs a goal

Following Rickie Lambert’s penalty miss against AC Milan, the new Liverpool striker had another chance to get off the mark, only to see a good chance tamely hit at United ‘keeper David de Gea.

Lambert went to Liverpool with most believing he would be an effective back-up option to Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. But instead he could start the season as first-choice and he must ensure he finds his scoring habit sooner rather than later.

Rodgers gives glimpse of first-team plans

While Dejan Lovren is expected to become a regular in the Liverpool defence next season, it was no surprise to see Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho return to the Reds’ back-line against United.

Rodgers took this match extremely seriously and seemed to give a glimpse at the possible side to take to the field when the Premier League season kicks off in less than a fortnight.

Gerrard getting ready for the real thing

A season would not be complete without a Steven Gerrard penalty against Manchester United, and the England midfielder got in early by opening the scoring on Tuesday morning.

It may have counted for little in the grand scheme of things, but Gerrard loves scoring against Liverpool’s fierce rivals and it would be no surprise if we see him stepping up to the spot in either of the two domestic matches the clubs are already scheduled to play in the upcoming campaign.

And as with the most recent match, do not expect him to miss.

Coutinho suggests next season could be huge

Philippe Coutinho performed well against United and there is no doubt next season is huge for him. It is time the Brazilian steps up another level, as he is no longer one of the new kids on the block.

Indeed he is now a vital component of Rodgers’ side and against United he showed the confidence to suggest he is ready for added responsibility.

The fact that he also had this summer off should not be underestimated and Liverpool could be about to see a resurgent and highly effective Coutinho just when they need him the most.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch