That was more like it from United in terms of grit and determination against the leaders. Liverpool came to Old Trafford on the back of eight straight wins at the start of the league, while United had a below average start, culminated by the one-nil loss to Newcastle in our last match before the international break. I saw a reaction to that negative result in this match. Maguire was commanding at the back, McTominay, Fred and Pereira excellent in midfield where they covered a lot of ground, while Rashford and James were full of intelligent runs and deadly on the counter upfront. Now the challenge is to repeat this performance going forward. It is easy to be motivated against Liverpool for a United player but against the other teams, we must find the same passion to play for the shirt as in this match.
Naturally, we should not get too excited about this result. It is true we played Liverpool who seem to be running away with the league but there are clear shortcomings in the United team in terms of quality. Pogba is missed in midfield because he brings sheer quality to the team and Lindelof is not good enough in my opinion. Not to mention that in the continued absence of Shaw, United lack a reliable and attacking fullback on the left. This argument highlights the opposition’s failings though. Are Liverpool good enough to win the league? Not in my book. In that run of eight straight wins, they were extremely lucky to get wins against Southampton (incredible miss by Ings two minutes from the end), Chelsea (second-best for most of the match), Sheffield United (Wiynaldum fortuitous goal) and Leicester (again second-best for most of the match and scored at the dead), not to mention today. They will win the league only if City focus on the Champions League. #notgoodenough
Let’s talk tactics for a change. Is a back three the right set-up for United going forward? I don’t think so. I am against wasting an extra spot for a third defender when we don’t have quality in central defence. It’s already a problem to find a decent partner for Maguire, let alone select another two. To make things worse, AWB and Young are not the best options going forward as wing backs, the first because he is better at defending than creating and the second because of age. I’d rather have that extra player upfront. My view.
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Article contributed by Echoes Contributor Roderick Psaila. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.