Lessons learned from Liverpool’s defeat of Manchester United
We now know three more things. Firstly, that Daniel Sturridge continues to look like a growing force for Liverpool, and possibly England. Secondly, that Brendan Rodgers’ renaissance at Anfield continues on track. Thirdly that taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson, even if you seek to change very little, is going to be a massive test for David Moyes.
As we move into the international break, Liverpool fans will be delighted to take a breath and savour the Premier League table, with their club sitting proudly on top with a 100% record. In the tail end of last season, with the prospect of having to play a chunk of games without the talismanic Luis Suarez, it’s probably not something that most of them realistically contemplated. That they are in the position they are currently, can largely be put down to the success of Daniel Sturridge. Left alone to forage up front without Suarez, the young England man has seized his opportunity with aplomb. Three goals, three 1-0 wins, is a nice return. When Sturridge moved to Liverpool from Chelsea, it was time for him to deliver on promise. At neither Stamford Bridge, or previous club Manchester city, had Sturridge been able to establish himself in his favoured central striking berth for any length of time. At Anfield however, Brendan Rodgers has shown faith in his abilities, and is now being repaid handsomely with Sturridge’s scintillating form and goals.
Fortunately for Liverpool, Sturridge’s success is not the only achievement that Rodgers’ tenure at Liverpool is bringing. After a couple of brief seasons at the helm, this may be the time when the club’s climb back to the top table of English football becomes a reality. It has perhaps largely gone unnoticed, but a major component to Liverpool’s early season success has been the ability to keep three successive Premier League clean sheets. The new steely-eyed resistance of the Reds’ backline is something that had been missing of late, but the old adage that if you stop the other team scoring, ten you only need one to win is bearing sweet fruit for Liverpool. The midfield is also looking refreshed and positive with Rodgers’ signings Coutinho and Aspas prominent in providing the opportunities for Sturridge. Even the Henderson, so long a forlorn looking figure on the periphery of the first team, now looks well integrated into the team, and is producing the performances that his younger days often promised. All then seems on track at Anfield. Less can be said though for new Manchester United manager David Moyes.
With an early season record of having won, drawn and lost in his first three games in charge, unlike Liverpool fans, he probably needed this international break like an early own goal. Just when he needed to work with his squad, they are dispersed to all points of the globe for a week or so. Taking over the reins from the most successful club manager in English football history, was never going to be easy, but most people thought that Moyes was the best bet to do so. Astutely, he hasn’t tried to change much about the team, but nevertheless, there appears to be a spark missing. Despite his apparent success in warding off Chelsea’s approaches for Wayne Rooney, Moyes has been singularly unable to add to his squad in any meaningful way, and although that may change on deadline day, that isn’t the way that United traditionally do business. Clearly, it’s early days in Moyes’ tenure, and no-one could reasonably expect a smooth transition after the club being so long under the wing of Ferguson. The danger is of course that unless Moyes can get United back into the winning ways shortly, they may have too big a mountain to climb to get back into their expected top-ranking position.
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