Last night Liverpool were undone by an excellent Manchester City side. But 3-0 doesn't tell the whole story.
Hodgson set the reds up in a 4-4-2, with Lucas playing a more holding role theoretically allowing Gerrard license to roam. Up front N'Gog partnered Torres for the first time in a Premierleague game. Possibly not the best time for Hodgson to have experimented.
N'Gog too often found himself drifting into the right hand channel, a position surely better suited for Kuyt. As a result Kuyt was too often in no man's land, N'Gog was not in the centre of the box and Torres had too little involvement.
In the midfield Hodgson grossly underestimated City's prowess. With City ostensibly playing 3 DMCs (although Barry was the more advanced of these), Liverpool had no space to play the ball into. When a red shirt did receive a pass in the City half they weren't allowed to turn and lost possession easily.
With Johnson and Richards having a cracker on the right against an out of position Agger, Jovanovic was forced deep into a supporting defensive role. A similar thing happened on the left as Milner caused all sorts of problems for Glen Johnson.
Steven Gerrard was the busiest of Liverpool's team. However he was sitting far too deep trying to cope with the attacking threat of City's midfield, and never quite found himself in those positions from which he is so dangerous. Towards the end of the game he resorted to long passes all of which were unsuccessful.
In short this wasn't the game for Hodgson to tinker. With the absence of Mascherano it seems obvious that Poulsen should've started with one of N'Gog or Torres on the bench. The situation is reminiscent of Spurs v Young Boys last week where Harry lined up with a 4-4-2 only to find his team 3 goals down. The difference there was that Redknapp was quick to see the problems and change his team accordingly; Huddlestone came on to bolster the midfield and the result was a decent performance.
However the fixture list has been harsh on Liverpool and Roy Hodgson, he needs to discover his best 11 and until then this will be the best time to play Liverpool.