Anyway on to the first blockbuster of the season and it did not disappoint!
Full of incident, intrigue and a rather bizarre subplot involving the FM regen Jonjo Shelvey attempting to bring down the mighty Sir Alex. Hilarious as that incident was, lets not forget that the real reason why the game was so highly charged was that it was an occassion to remember the 96 lives that were lost on that fateful day of the Hillsborough disaster.
Both clubs tried their best to ensure that any chanting, or feuds between players were put to rest and whilst the Shelvey incident left a bitter taste in the mouth on the whole, both teams behaved accordingly even if the result of the game failed to provide the romantic finish Liverpool FC deserved.
Here are my thoughts on the game:
1. Dire, Turgid , Lifeless United midfield
To be perfectly honest, I’m sick to death about writing about the woes of United’s midfield. There seems to be no concerted effort by the managerial/coaching staff to rectify or even acknowledge this issue. Instead it seems to be a policy of when in doubt, use Scholes and its getting very very tiresome.
The use of the perenially static, stiff Carrick alongside the ageing Gigg’s in the hostile atmosphere of Anfield was always going to spell disaster and so it proved. Liverpool played United off the pitch in the first half and it was the sending off which changed the entire complexion of the game. We desperately need to sign players for the midfield because we are worlds away from the likes of Barcelona in the ball retention stakes.
2. Mistreatment of Nani… deification of Valencia
This has been gnawing at me for a while too. Nani is the more talented player, he’s capable of greatness, he can rip apart top teams, he’s proven this against Barcelona in friendlies, he’s been quality in international competitions and lets not forget what he done to Bayern.
I’m yet to see Valencia produce the same level of fluidity and panache in top games. He’s very predictable and Liverpool had him on lock for the first half, he negatively affects the teams ability to maintain possession because he can’t come off the flank and join in.
There were several times in the game where he was dribbling backwards and due to his one footedness, he was unable to play a simple left footed reverse pass and turn defence into attack, instead he’d get herded into a cul de sac, kick it out and give liverpool possession in our half.
Nani needs to be shown faith, love and respect. We have to perserve with him!
3. Invisible RVP
There has been criticisms in some circles about RVP’s invisibility in games and some have even said that Kagawa is a luxury player.
Nothing could be further than the truth!
To get the best out of these players, we need to play it into their feet and win the ball high up the pitch. Their lack of involvement stems from our problems with the midfield, heck if Messi had to play in front of the Carrick and Giggs pairing yesterday, he too would’ve been invisible. Good players need constant ball supply to make things happen!
That said what a penalty under extreme pressure! We’d missed our last three, it was against Liverpool and facing Reina, the ultimate penalty stopping specialist. It was hit hard and with conviction, and despite Pepe getting his hand to it RVP did not look like a man who was expeting to be denied.
4. Solid Lindegaard
Good performance by the Dane, that stop to prevent Suarez’s left footer was excellent and his general handling and distribution was alot better than recent games. I think its good for Fergie to take the heat off DDG from time to time and let him develop at his own pace. If anyones a master at bringing young stars through its Fergie and selecting Lindegaard was a good selection choice.
5. Opposition One2Watch – Suso
Alot has been made of Raheem Sterling and yes whilst I’ve watched him in the academy set up over the years and been impressed, the one who I’ve really enjoyed keeping an eye on is Suso. He’s Messi-esque in style and stature and under Rogders, he is going to become a top talent and influental in the coming months.
He can read the game game, pass at the right time, a cliched but cultured left foot and a gorgeous body shift which leaves players for dead. I really hope he can make an impact at Anfield as he’s good to watch and an exciting addition to this Liverpool team.
A dire performance by United, a flukey win which was utterly undeserved and I feel for Liverpool fans and especially Gerrard who was tremendous. I’ve had doubts about Stevie’s ability to fit into the Rodgers philosophy of play, but yesterday he was restrained but typically swashbuckling in equal measure. He picked and choosed his moments to hit raking passes well and his goal was superbly taken.
As for the Red Devils, we need to up our game in a big way.. I just hope we’re still pushing on all fronts come January and we sign a top tier midfield talent to provide Kagawa with better support.
Written by Raees (follow me @ www.twitter.com/redrae7)