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Is this the most disappointing facet of Liverpool’s defeat to West Ham?

After three results that suggested that Liverpool were ready to push on and put in a consistent and real challenge amongst English football’s elite, Brendan Rodgers and his men slumped to a shock 3-0 home defeat to West Ham last weekend.

The defensive steadfastness showed against Stoke, Bournemouth and Arsenal was no longer apparent, with a reversion to the old days of calamitous individual errors and low confidence apparent for all to see.

There were a number of disappointing factors from the game, with plenty in the defensive third of the pitch.

Dejan Lovren’s solid start to the season was quickly forgotten as the Croat was highly culpable for West Ham’s second goal, while stalwart Martin Skrtel did not cover himself in glory for the Hammers’ opener.

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However, with one eye on the future and Liverpool bouncing back from the disappointment of the weekend, the main disappointment will come at the other end of the pitch.

Philippe Coutinho’s dismissal was certainly up for debate in the aftermath of the game, but the cold hard fact is that the Brazilian was given his marching orders and will now miss the Reds’ next game through suspension.

Unfortunately for Rodgers, that fixture is a trip to Old Trafford to face perennial enemies Manchester United after the international break.

The absence of the South American playmaker robs the Merseysiders of undoubtedly their most technically able player and someone who looks to be getting better as his time in England progresses.

Coutinho has started the new season well, scoring a dramatic winner at Stoke and bamboozling the Arsenal rearguard on countless occasions at the Emirates Stadium.

Without him, an emphasis will be placed on the likes of Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana, if fit, to be the creative force to feed Christian Benteke and unlock the United defence.

Although Liverpool may well have a respectable seven points from a possible 12 so far, one of the most concerning figures is that they have only scored two goals in four games.

The goal-laden days of a fit Daniel Sturridge, an unplayable Luis Suarez and a 2013-14 Premier League title challenge seem like a distant memory for a team that has struggled to score over recent times.

Last season the Reds lacked a striker to get goals consistently, with Rodgers overcompensating in the summer with the hefty purchase of Benteke and the additions of Danny Ings and Divock Origi.

However, having plenty of striking options is one thing; centre forwards rarely score if they are not provided with the appropriate service.

This is where Coutinho comes into effect, with the Brazil international’s vision and creativity offering a different threat to any other player in the Liverpool squad.

The former Inter man’s absence against United is a major blow for the visitors to Old Trafford, with Liverpool nowhere near as dangerous a team without their attacking talisman.

Article title: Is this the most disappointing facet of Liverpool’s defeat to West Ham?

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