Manchester United won their sixth-straight game thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin Van Persie and condemned Liverpool to their seventh League defeat of the season.
Wayne Rooney gave the home side the lead barely seconds after David De Gea pulled off an amazing save down the other end in the 12th minute. Juan Mata’s header just before half-time gave the hosts a 2-0 lead, which they never looked like surrendering. Van Persie wrapped up the three points in the second half as he scored his seventh goal against Liverpool to give the Red Devils a well-deserved win over the Reds.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
Liverpool’s blunt attack fire blanks
In the corresponding fixture last season, Liverpool won 3-0. And although nobody expected them to repeat that feat, few would’ve begrudged them if they had won by the same score line on Sunday. But the visitors didn’t and the main reason for that was their toothless strike force. Although Brendan Rodgers started without a recognized striker, the Reds created enough chances to have gone into the break at least a couple of goals to the good.
Instead, their lack of a proper finisher was the difference between the two sides. First it was Raheem Sterling, who, for all of his offensive qualities simply didn’t have the composure to find a way past David De Gea; then it was Mario Balotelli, who came on in the second half and should have at least opened his Premier League account for Liverpool. If anyone needed a reminder that the Reds still need a world class finisher, then this was it as the home side showed how it is done with a display of ruthless efficiency.
Makeshift midfield comes out on top
Both sides started the game with three at the back and it looked as though it was going to be a case of the best of the worst in terms of which side comes out on top. Although both sides made their fair share of defensive mistakes, with the home side making the most of their chances, it was the midfield that decided the outcome of the game.
Although the Reds started with Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen, the more recognized of the two midfields, it was beauty and the beast that prevailed, as the clever and intricate Rooney combined effectively with the brute force of the Big-haired Fellaini to exact revenge on last season’s 3-0 home defeat and cement their grip on third spot. Although Fellaini misplaced quite a few passes, his physical presence alongside Rooney, who was pinging balls left, right and center gave the side a solid platform to build on.
Red Devils showcase resilience and resolve
The Red Devils might not have given the greatest account of themselves in their six wins, but they are showing something that has been missing for a while, resolve. Although the hosts still have a long way to go before they can come close to Chelsea or Manchester City, they are starting to believe that they can come close and challenge them in the end. The hosts showed plenty of hunger and desire against the Reds who looked dazed and confused.
Nothing exemplifies that more than Van Persie. Not only has the Dutchman been back amongst the goals, his overall game has also improved immeasurably. When your striker is in the right back slot, trying to help out in defense when your team is winning 3-0, you know that spirits are high in the squad. If Van Gaal can keep this up and the defenders return to full fitness, they will start to look up the table, rather than down.