Brendan Rodgers admitted Liverpool were guilty of conceding possession too easily after they went down to a 3-1 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.

A Daley Blind strike and a penalty from Ander Herrera put the hosts 2-0 in front in the second half at Old Trafford before Christian Benteke’s stunning overhead kick brought hope in the closing stages.

However, Anthony Martial made sure of the three points for United when he netted shortly after.

Rodgers told his post-match press conference: “We’re disappointed with the result and the performance. I thought in the first half we were fairly organised but technically could have been much better with the ball.

“We didn’t keep the ball for long enough to create opportunities, but we didn’t give away too much either in the first half – it was only really when we gave the ball cheaply and put ourselves under pressure. So it was 0-0 at half-time, we’re OK and looking to play better in the second half.

“We’re disappointed with the free-kick. I thought both players were tangling for the ball, both had their arms up and Ashley Young jumps on the player’s [Clyne] back and gets a free-kick. But they worked it well and get the goal and we then gave away the penalty.

“At 2-0 you’re up against it. We then got on the front foot, Christian scored an incredible goal with a high level of technique, so we were back in the game at 2-1 and looking at maybe getting something. But we then conceded within a minute and at 3-1 the game is dead.

“Overall, we had plenty of effort and commitment but we needed to be better with the ball.”

Rodgers added: “I just felt we needed to be much better in terms of showing for the ball and wanting the ball. For me, it's too late when you go 1-0 behind. I like players who take the initiative in the game, be proactive in the game, and second half we were a bit better at that.”

Benteke’s effort means Liverpool have managed three strikes in their opening five Barclays Premier League fixtures.

Rodgers accepts the Reds need to sharpen their attacking threat, but feels the return of players like Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho will help ensure his side increase their potency in front of goal.

“You need to [be better] technically and you have to be superior with the ball in order to build your attack,” he said. “So that's something that needs a lot of work.

“We spoke about it at half-time with the players. We’re five games in and we haven’t created anywhere near as much as we would have liked. That’s something I need to go away with the coaches and staff and have a look at and how we can find ways in which to be much more creative.

“This is a team that, certainly for the first couple of years, was very offensive and creative.

“We’re still looking to find that way, with numbers of players coming in, to get that balance and efficiency in the team, but certainly we need to create more opportunities.

“With the players we’ll have coming back – players that are really creative, dynamic and have speed - they’ll hopefully offer the team that.”

Rodgers acknowledged the added disappointment that comes with losing a game to local rivals such as United, but vowed the squad will be working hard at Melwood to get back on track.

The manager said: “This is the biggest game in this country and maybe in the world in terms of a derby game. I've been in here and sat down when we won 3-0 and felt great and when you lose 3-1 you don't feel so good.

“It's difficult for the supporters and everyone connected to the club; when you win it, it's a different feeling. We've just got to go away and work even harder at being better, and that'll be the case.

“The players are bitterly disappointed because they know we can play better than that and over the course of the season I'm sure they will but as you can see there's still a lot of hard work ahead for us. The players are still learning and adapting to how we work.”