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What We Learned: Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool. That’s the sort of result no fan inside the home enclosure at Old Trafford wanted to see, but the reality is that United currently reside in a grim reality where the worst almost has to be expected. Liverpool outplayed their rivals in every area, and fully deserved a win that puts them firmly in the title picture. United, on the other hand, sit twelve points behind a Manchester City side in fourth that have played two games less than them. Three penalties, three goals, a sending off for Milan-bound Nemanja Vidic and to top it all, Steven Gerrard lamenting that his side didn’t add further gloss to a convincing scoreline. Here’s what we made of it;

United’s season can, and probably will, get worse

Perhaps the most harrowing aspect of this season is that there appears to be no limit to the depths to which United can sink under David Moyes. Such a tame 0-3 collapse at home would have appeared as a mere blip  in a season helmed by Sir Alex Ferguson, nothing more. Under David Moyes, it’s the latest in a long line of poor performances and results that could, and perhaps should have looked far worse. Even a City side struggling to regain their best form of this term must be chomping at the bit for next Tuesday’s derby with United so disillusioned and in such disarray.


After the 2-0 defeat in Greece, this ten day period was earmarked as crucial to United’s season, and potentially Moyes’ future. Once again, a lack of urgency and a rigid approach have left the Scot with no answers and regurgitating the same tired post-match soundbites. There’s no expectation that Wednesday night against Olympiakos will bring any salvation, and the impending derby feels far more like an impending thrashing. Worse still, there was little sense from many of the performances on show that this really mattered to them at all.

Big players went missing

It might seem a little trendy to pick on Robin Van Persie given the Dutchman’s performances of late, and it’s true that last season’s talisman has looked a shadow of his former self since defeat in Greece, but today, he was one of many who was simply unable to engage with proceedings. Wayne Rooney, again, struggled to dictate much of anything in his advanced role, and Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj were completely marginalised out wide, as you knew they would be. Rooney’s presence is keeping two talented footballers from their natural position, and at present, he isn’t providing enough of a reason to keep hold of this position. Moyes’ approach, and insistence on adhering to it, did none of his players any favours, but he should be able expect a damn sight more fight from his side than this.


Liverpool could have, should have scored more

It’s easy to forget in the rather bleak aftermath of such a poor performance, but the reality is that this result could have been far, far worse for United than it actually was. Mark Clattenburg was gracious enough to save Rafael from an early bath twice, once for the handball leading to the first penalty and another for a late challenge in the second half after he’d already been booked for clattering into Steven Gerrard. Twice, in the opening stages, Daniel Sturridge got the drop on Nemanja Vidic but was off-target. Gerrard could have had a hat-trick of penalties to seal an incredible afternoon’s work for the Liverpool captain, but hit the post with this third. United, on the other hand, had one shot and a wayward free header from Van Persie to offer in response. To say there was only one team in it is almost an insult to Liverpool.

Football - Football League Cup - 3rd Round - Manchester United FC v Liverpool FC

Brendan Rodgers deserves great credit, let’s not beat about the bush. After a stable first season in charge, his players are buying into his methods and look supremely confident and comfortable in themselves. They never panicked, they dealt with any pressure United threw at them and looked a constant threat. Liverpool, bar the 1-4 in 2009 rarely reserve such high-end performances for Old Trafford in the modern era, preferring to outplay United at Anfield annually instead. This was their first domestic double over their rivals in five years, and as willing as United were to be ripped apart, the desire, drive and effort on show made sure they were on top throughout.

Moyes doesn’t know how to turn things around

You keep hoping to see some sort of sign, if not a sign, then perhaps a flash from David Moyes when he trots out the same feeble, stock post-match answers. You want to catch a glimpse of a man who cares truly about his work, and is deeply angered by the lackadaisical performances of his side. But it never comes. When United fell to a second Gerrard penalty, the blind expectation was that the approach would change, with the ineffective Van Persie or Rooney hooked off for someone hungrier or more mobile. Maybe there would be less use of the ball out wide at the very least, given how rarely United succeeded in troubling the visitors down, the flanks but substitutions came so late that they were simply swept along by the Liverpool tide. Ultimately, you would think that a manager would not have a hard time raising his troops for a match against bitter rivals with Champions League qualification, still so important for the club, to fight for.


The occasion demanded an incredible level of support, and United’s players were on the receiving end of some incredible backing. Perhaps this would be the one where the real United, so sorely absent all season would show up? But once again in a big match, there was nothing to suggest that Moyes has enough of a handle on his team to be able to inspire them to a positive result when it matters most. They are simply not playing for him, and with a World Cup on the horizon for many, why should they offer their best in a succession of games that are now essentially dead rubbers? Moyes spoke with utmost certainty of the drive and commitment that he sees daily on the training ground, but on the pitch, where it matters so much more, it’s clear that things are far worse than he can openly admit.

Our fans are brilliant

I’m not sure any match-going United fan is refraining from excessive booing simply because theirs is realistically the only club in the Premier League that would stick by such a beleaguered manager. The other nineteen teams in this division would not have allowed the situation at their club to degrade quite so drastically, regardless of their previous exploits. The fans are doing it because there’s more at play here than the narrative of a man out of his depth. Old Trafford, and the away section at any United game has still refrained from a large-scale display of mass rebellion, and spent the closing stages of another humbling defeat singing their hearts out. Even if the tide turns and support finally wavers, which it must do if this current form isn’t changed, David Moyes and his players must be grateful that it hasn’t happened when fans of any other club would have made their discontent vocal months ago.

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10 replies on “What We Learned: Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool”

Moyes is only partly to blame,we keep hearing after every game.We have to do better.United is this and should be that .One would think the shit has hit the fan and something new will soon be on the agenda.Like a better football brain and training coaches and hope of a new team.Wonder what the owners think?.

Great piece, I did find one mistake tho. “That’s the sort of result no fan outside of the away enclosure at Old Trafford yesterday wanted to see.” Its actually the sort of result all fans outside the home enclosure wants to see.

You say “I’m not sure any match-going United fan is refraining from excessive booing simply because theirs is realistically the only club in the Premier League that would stick by such a beleaguered manager. The other nineteen teams in this division would not have allowed the situation at their club to degrade quite so drastically, regardless of their previous exploits.”

Have a look at

No need to point fingers @ the players though they are professionals but we don’t need to look further to pinpoint the problem.Tis no further than Moyes!He couldn’t attract a world class player in d transfer window bar Mata dat’s Struggling to get on the world cup band.MOYES totally & completely lacks the tactical,technical & mental onus required to manage a great institution like Man Utd & tis not in Utd dat he will develop dat.Sure he’s a good manager,but that’s for the likes of mid level clubs as he has shown in everton.He can not turn tables around given a warchest for overhaul,he has shown that he is deficient in all areas to succeed in Utd.But my fear is dat SAF will stick wit him unless something drastic occurs such as recording more woeful losses.Adan & Mata were completely muscled out of the game right 4rm the first half yet he lacked initiative to turn the game or tweak the tactical approach,he can not read games to effect changes nor become an inspiration to the players!With what is going on,players will only be attracted to Utd for money no longer for the fabulous prestige of the club i.e if the right players will buy into the club wit moyes still there!What is glaring is the fact that Moyes has Nothing to offer thus let managerial changes be made as soon as possible.Rodgers has only been an EPL club manager for just 2-3 yrs yet his managerial inputs are quite impressive given the clubs he has managed/managing!His first season wit Swansea in EPL elevated him to Liverpool post where in his first season he turned things around quite well & now blazing in his 2nd season!Moyes in his 12yrs managing an EPL club has never challenged 4 d title unlike Rodgers in his 3rd EPL season!Enough said:MOYES doesn’t cut it wit Utd!The earlier he’s off the better 4 Utd both on the field of play & on the financial aspect!

Moyes please just resign ok tge fact is United know they made a mistake Fergie worst case scenario was bck room Rene n Phelan would guide Moyes until he got his feet on the ground….n maybe 3rd or fourth finish….but no amoyes wanted to be the big man n brought in a pack of loosers n that’s tge result…why should RVP okay for a guy who can’t even keep Hernsndez happy wivout signing any new striker??? Or Kagawa without signing any new cm till January….Fergie had tge same players n everyone got a fair run of games.

United were outplayed by Liverpool in all four areas, up front, in the middle, at the back and in the technical area!

Moyes has last season’s Premier League winning team plus Mata, Fellaini and Januzaj and he has managed to turn them into a laughing stock.

There are no redeeming elements to his performance as manager, no light at the end of the tunnel, just a great big black hole which is getting deeper and deeper with every passing game. Eventually, Moyes will be buried in his black hole, but at what cost to this team.

The mantra ‘give him time’ has become embarrassingly redundant except to the remaining few Ferguson’s pet ostriches, with their heads buried deep in the sand.

United’s players are performing poorly and each has to take responsibility for his own efforts, but the root of the problem is a manager, so out of his depth, so bereft of ideas, so clearly ill-qualified to manage one of the biggest football clubs in the World.

Thanks to the torrent seeders, I get to learn again where ManU is heading.

The game starts…

5th min – liverpool is already in 6th gear while ManU is still somewhere between 1st and 2nd gear. ManU needs speed. Speed in everything. Speed in passing, running, movement, thought, defending, etc.

Jones and Vidic have nearly the same style of play. They should not have been paired together as center backs. Vidic and Ferdinand played well together because they complemented each other. Why not Jones and Smalling? Was Smalling injured?

10th min – liverpool’s speed had the ref catching his breathe. Liverpool came to play and was not afraid to mix it up. Januzaj was well marked by Johnson.

Too many long balls by ManU. Liverpool also had long balls. The difference is when Liverpool played a long ball, there was movement. A liverpool player was already moving expecting a pass from the long ball receiver. While ManU players were just standing around expecting the receiver to control the ball which took more time and eventually got dispossessed.

17th min – ManU players standing around. Too much work done by Refael attacking and defending. Where are the other teammates?

Rafael needs to calm down. He doesn’t need to tackle way up high on the field. Yellow card for his stupidity.

29th min – ManU still at 1st gear with slow counter attack plus poor passing.
Maybe they don’t want to counter attack?

31st min – Januzaj and Mata switch was a good move. Made Januzaj a bit more effective. ManU standing around again. Carrick should dribble more. He had open space in the 40th min but opted to pass. RVP should learn to use his right foot. A world class player should be able to use both feet.

45th min – Good news. ManU responded with an attack. Started by Rafael and Januzaj ending with a Rooney attempt. This is good because in previous games ManU didn’t seem to want to fight back.

49th min – A penalty for ManU would have changed the game. Tough luck.
Johnson handball similar to Rafael’s. RVP can’t hold on to the ball anymore unlike before.

58th – 65th min – ManU fighting back even if 2 goals down gives me hope that there will be good things coming in the future. Too many long passes though.

Dozed off… which could only mean the game got boring…. hahahaha

Woke up.
3rd goal may not have happened if Fellaini was still around.

Saw the part where I dozed off.

Somewhere in the 60th min – RVP and Rooney should have been replaced. They were ineffective and well marked by liverpool. Who should have replaced them? Kagawa and Welbeck comes to mind. This would have changed liverpool’s man marking strategy.

The introduction of Cleverly put gaps in the middle. Which led to Vidic being sent off and subsequently the 3rd goal. There were 4 liverpool players in the edge of the penalty area which meant options for them. ManU had 3 defending but looked more like only 2 were defending. Fellaini was doing a decent job.

In a way, the defeat wasn’t as bad I would have thought because I saw ManU fight back.
Right now at this stage, losing doesn’t matter much as long as ManU shows signs of fighting back and never giving up for the full 90 minutes. That is the benchmark and foundation of ManU. Fight till the last minute.

Suggestion to Moyes for future games. Play
4-3-3 false 9.
Here’s my core players. Moyes can rotate players to insure they remain fresh for games.

Center backs – Jones, Smalling, Evans

Diamond midfield variations composed of 4 players – Carrick, Fellaini, Kagawa, Mata, Rooney, Cleverly

Diamond midfield 1
Diamond midfield 2
Diamond midfield 3
Diamond midfield 4
and so on…

Not actually wingers but playing out wide and may or may not cut inside.
Wingers – Januzaj, Rooney, Young, Welbeck, Valencia(right only), Nani

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