Rewind back to those encounters against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, or in the FA Cup semis against them, or perhaps even the clash against Manchester United that same year in a lower round.
It was a product of Liverpool somehow remaining second best on the pitch in terms of possession and trying to create chances, but still coming out on top at the final whistle, thanks to a moment of inspiration followed by solid defending.
This latest triumph over the arch-rivals however, is also just another example of the false positives that have blighted Liverpool’s campaigns over the last few years.
Of course the result makes it 3 wins from 3, a 100% record for the defence as well with 3 clean sheets. But bear in mind, the season has only just begun and there are 35 matches still to go.
Liverpool players have more or less always managed to show up on the day of a big occasion, and frankly you don’t even have to be English, let alone a Liverpudlian to know that Liverpool versus Manchester United is as big as it ever gets. It’s our El Classico and there’s perhaps no bigger stage in English football.
Of course there are other big occasions such as the Merseyside and Tyneside derbies, even your London derbies between Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and the likes. Now there’s even going to be the Welsh derby on the English stage between Cardiff and Swansea.
Not sure if any of those get anywhere near Liverpool and Man Utd from a neutral perspective. Either way, it’s hardly a surprise Liverpool won.
These derbies on the day have been fiercely contested by both sides throughout history so the two sides are always a match for each other barring the odd ones.
Where Liverpool have a frustrating habit of lagging is when it comes to consistently dispatching the smaller sides, the mid-table ones. This was predominant even when Liverpool were firmly in the top 4, and if you remember it was those 11 draws which cost Liverpool the title 4 years ago.
Manchester United were bested both home and away that season. As were Chelsea for that matter. Yet Man Utd ended up winning the title because they beat teams like Wigan, West Ham and the likes while Liverpool didn’t.
That consistency is desperately required, which is very much achievable without spending silly money or waving a magic wand. Discipline needs to be enforced and implemented by both Brendan Rodgers and all the players.
On Sunday, the players were sloppy in possession, always giving the ball away while Man Utd were calm and much more composed. Kolo Toure’s injury is reportedly not as serious as first feared so his return to the side should also add a physicality which has been missing at Anfield for a while.
Iago Aspas was fairly impressive against Stoke, but both the Villa and Man Utd matches exposed his frail first touch which continually took the ball away from him and in to the lap of the defenders. That’s an area he needs to work on.
Raheem Sterling only played the last half hour or so, but he was far too inferior physically. He either has to have that aspect developed in him or find a way to make use of his slight size and get in to the knack of moving the ball quickly and finding space.
Concentration is the key during every match, against whoever it may be. Your Fulhams and West Hams, or even the Arsenals and Tottenhams – Liverpool need to concentrate and stand tall against every one of them.
It’s only been 3 matches and sure, Liverpool sit at the top of the table. Yet Chelsea and Manchester United have both looked far more solid and unless Liverpool can develop that backbone in possession, it’ll be tricky making much out of this season as well.
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