Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool boss rues 'lack of quality' in Villa loss

Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert
Brendan Rodgers: "As a team we did not have the intensity and the speed you need"

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers felt his new-look side's "lack of quality" in attack was to blame for their 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa at Anfield.

The Reds, without the injured Daniel Sturridge, fielded six summer signings, with four players - including Mario Balotelli - making their home debuts.

Rodgers said: "We started slowly and gave away a poor goal.

"We picked up the tempo but we failed to open them up, and never created the chances we would normally do."

Gabriel Agbonlahor put Villa ahead from a ninth-minute corner and the visitors worked hard to defend their lead, limiting Liverpool's chances.

Alan Hutton, Mario Balotelli and Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers watched on as new signing Mario Balotelli failed to make an impact against Villa's defence

"You have to give Villa credit," added Rodgers. "They defended really well once we got the ball and we could not find the final pass. It was really frustrating for us.

"We started the game really slowly, which is unlike us, but it was our lack of quality with our final ball and in the final third that let us down.

"Games like this can happen when players are getting to know each other but we had new players when we played against Tottenham two weeks ago, when we were outstanding."

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy on Match of the Day
"Liverpool did miss Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling's creativity but Aston Villa were exceptionally well disciplined and well organised. "Villa deserved it, Liverpool had one shot on target and when you think how they played at Anfield all last season that was as poor as I have seen them."

Rodgers had rested Raheem Sterling, who came on as a second-half substitute, and said his side's schedule of seven games in 21 days means he will have no choice but to continue to rotate his squad.

"We have got a big couple of months coming up and, looking at that, I thought this game was one where I could rest him," Rodgers explained.

"If he had not played international football for England last week that would not have been the case - he came on and he was bright, and he will certainly play on Tuesday night [in the Champions League]."

Rodgers insisted his side were not distracted by Tuesday's return to Europe's premier club competition, as Bulgarian side Ludogorets visit Anfield.

Attackers fail to fire at Anfield
Liverpool enjoyed 75% possession against Villa but managed just one shot on targetVilla also only managed one shot on target - but crucially Agbonlahor made it count
There was not a shot on target in the final 84 minutes of the match, including added timeLiverpool did rack up 18 shots in total but 10 were off target and seven blocked

"There has been no thought of that game at all," Rodgers added. "We are very much about taking one game at a time. This is a very honest group of players and they gave everything against Villa.

"There is nothing better after a disappointing performance and result to get going again on Tuesday in a competition we love and hopefully we can start that competition with three points."

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