Brendan Rodgers: 'I don't think it was a free-kick,' says Liverpool boss on Ashley Young incident leading to first Manchester United goal

Blind scored from the free-kick after a smart pass by Juan Mata

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has questioned the awarding of a free-kick in the build up to the first goal, but admitted the Reds were below par as they fell 3-1 to rivals Manchester United.

With the match goalless at half-time, Ashley Young entered the fray and was brought down by Nathaniel Clyne, with the Liverpool right-back booked. But the awarding of the free-kick looked very marginal, with Young making the most of the contact if there was any at all.

From the resulting set-piece, Juan Mata passed the ball to Daley Blind on the edge of the box, the centre-back expertly curling the ball into the corner to put the home side ahead.

"I thought first half we defended well," Rodgers said on Sky Sports. "But we were nowhere near enough quality and composure on the ball. Defensively weren't bothered too much. Any time we were frightened was by our own mistakes.

"We're disappointed with a couple of the goals. I didn't think it was a free-kick. Ashley Young's bought the challenge. I thought Nathaniel Clyne defended brilliantly all day. And he's just matched his run.

"You could see both of them challenge for the ball with their arms. Ashley turns on his back so they get a free-kick against us. They work it quite well but I never thought it was a free-kick. We conceded a really disappointing third goal which kills it."

When asked if the creative aspect of Liverpool came to the fore, Rodgers said: "No, it's something that with the first five games now it's something I need to look at. It's too easy for us to go direct at times to Christian Benteke, his goal was very good.

"You have to want the ball, get on the football to create opportunities. (This is) a group that will respond. They work ever so hard. That's something we definitely need to look at."

Additional reporting from PA