A wasteful Liverpool slumped to yet another Premier League defeat as Louis Van Gaal’s side secured their sixth league win in a row with a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford.
United’s clinical finishing and the brilliance of David De Gea in goal proved to be the difference, with Liverpool failing to take multiple chances. A matter of 25 seconds during the first half epitomised Liverpool’s afternoon, with Raheem Sterling failing to convert a good opportunity from ten yards out before United quickly broke to the other end of the pitch where Wayne Rooney put his side into the lead, confidently stroking the ball past Brad Jones from Antonio Valencia’s pull back.
Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool will have reason to feel unlucky and aggrieved at the same time as it appeared Juan Mata was in an offside position as he put his side 2-0 up. However, Liverpool will be more concerned with the ease at which Ashley Young’s cross was able to find its way past every Liverpool defender and the ease at which Juan Mata was able to find space.
David De Gea was excellent throughout the entire game, denying Raheem Sterling, who was started as a lone striker, several times. It will be questioned, however, whether this was down to De Gea’s brilliance or Sterling’s poor finishing. De Gea also went on to deny substitute Mario Balotelli three good chances towards the end of the game, extending the Italian’s wait for his first Premier League goal for Liverpool.
A swift counter attack and some poor Liverpool defending resulted in Robin Van Persie putting the game to bed as he scored United’s third in the 71st minute. This proved to be the decisive goal, coming during a period where Liverpool appeared to be edging closer to a goal.
Brendan Rodgers will, yet again, be unable to take many positives from the game, apart from the fact that Liverpool seemed to be creating more chances than they have done in previous games. Liverpool looked weak in defence again, something which wasn’t helped by the injury to Glen Johnson early on that forced the red’s back line to reshape as Kolo Toure came on.
The first goal could have easily been prevented had Joe Allen and Adam Lallana been stronger against Antonio Valencia, who walked passed the Liverpool pair with some ease. His cross found Rooney on the edge of the Liverpool box, who found himself in acres of space following some poor tracking back by Philippe Coutinho.
The game represented a dramatic turn in fortunes for both sides, with United looking superior, completely contrasting the position of both sides last season. Louis Van Gaal has certainly revitalised this Manchester United side, giving their fans reason to believe they aren’t far away from being able to challenge for the title yet again. More misery for Brendan Rodgers, however, as he saw his side slip to another defeat, giving Liverpool fans more reason to threat over their missed opportunity last season and more reason to question exactly how long it will be before they see their side challenge for the title again.