Only in football can a manager go from tactically astute to clueless in six days but Brendan Rodgers became the latest boss to achieve that feat as he gained a credible away goalless draw against Arsenal before getting battered by West Ham 3-0 at home.
Prior to the Arsenal game captain Jordan Henderson had been declared unfit to start due to a foot injury and was entirely removed from the squad altogether.
Adam Lallana was also missing with an injury whilst Jordon Ibe was dropped to the bench after two poor performances. In their stead came in Lucas Leiva, Emre Can and Roberto Firmino as Rodgers switched the formation from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3.
The change worked a treat as the midfield trio of Lucas, Can and Milner made a combined total of 11 tackles, whilst Firmino chimed in with three. Meanwhile Lucas and Can made a further five interceptions combined. This gave a previously leaky Liverpool the defence the platform to compose themselves and not get caught on the counter attack. It also enabled the attackers to start forward forges much higher up the pitch as the ball was won back early.
Only the Brazilian duo of Firmino and Philippe Coutinho were able to complete dribbles for the Reds during the entire game (one each), compared to West Ham's overall total of nine.
Neither Lucas nor Milner have been noted for their playmaking abilities nor their passing range. Whilst Can potentially has the qualities, it was foolhardy to entrust the running of the midfield to a raw but precocious talent.
Moreover, Joe Gomez who has had a fantastic start to his Liverpool career (the highlight being the game against Arsenal where he made six tackles and five interceptions), had his worst game by far against the Hammers.
The former Charlton Athletic man is primarily a right-footed centre back currently playing as a left back. Against the Gunners his defensive skills were there for all to see; against West Ham his attacking limitations were on show.
Overall Rodgers' choice of players left his side without an outlet to attack despite Slaven Bilic saying beforehand he would park the proverbial bus in-front of goal. As a consequence Liverpool had 58.9% of possession but were dispossessed 19 times (14 more than West Ham) with Milner leading the individual charts by being dispossessed five times.
The Northern Irishman could be forgiven for not using that system last campaign due to Daniel Sturridge's chronic injury crisis, whilst Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini all struggled. However, with Christian Benteke looking sharp, Rodgers' needs to have more faith in Danny Ings and Divock Origi until the Englishman comes back.
With such an uncreative midfield behind the strikeforce, it would be a masterstroke to revert Coutinho back to the central midfield role he played in the 2013/14 campaign and keep Firmino as an attacking midfielder (especially as the former Hoffenheim's goalscoring record is far superior). This way the attack has far more support than it does now.
The Reds scored only 52 times last season and after four games they are the joint lowest scorers netting just twice (a wonder goal and a goal which should have been ruled offside). With four strikers on the books the diamond 4-4-2 is an option Liverpool boss cannot ignore any longer.
*Statistics from WhoScored