It’s more prevalent in soccer than in any other sport, the best team doesn’t always win the game. This was exactly what happened between Manchester United and Liverpool. Liverpool really did look like the better team and led in the majority of the stats. The only problem is that they didn’t lead in the most important stat and the only stat people will pay attention to, the scoreline.
After Raheem Sterling shot the ball right at David de Gea’s legs, Manchester United countered down. After Antonio Valencia went in between the clueless Alberto Moreno and Joe Allen, he found the open Wayne Rooney in the box to bring down a clinical one touch strike to make it 1-0.
The next goal scored by Manchester United was a little fortunate for the home team. Juan Mata was offside when Robin van Persie headed the ball down to Mata for the goal. The assist was even credited for van Persie so Mata was offside but the damage was done. Manchester United was up 2-0 right before halftime.
Almost all of Liverpool’s attacking play was placed on Raheem Sterling. It’s clear Sterling is going through a confidence issue and that wasn’t more evident than his wide open botch in the 51st minute. Once that happened, I was convinced that Liverpool wasn’t scoring at all in this game.
Again on the counter, Manchester United made it 3-0 due to some great passing, better vision and horrible defense. Juan Mata could’ve taken the shot and had a great chance at a brace but unselfishly got it to the open van Persie and he finished it off.
The game is going to be remembered as one of David de Gea’s best performances. I have said plenty of times that David de Gea is the most important player on the Manchester United squad. He has bailed them out a number of times. Today, however was not one of those times. Out of the six scoring chances Liverpool had, they kicked it straight at de Gea five of the six times. He didn’t have to move or react in order to make the save. Take a look for yourself.
Any professional goalkeeper could’ve been in that position and made five of the six saves. The only save de Gea made that was world class was the save on Balotelli that hit off the crossbar. That was really the only time de Gea was tested. I used to be an emergency goalkeeper when I played youth soccer. With Liverpool’s horrid finishing, I could’ve been in goal for Manchester United and allowed fewer than three goals. I’m not saying I would’ve gotten a clean sheet but I would’ve gotten the win.
The win for Manchester United means that the top three is creating some space and United is getting themselves solidly into the Champions League spots after winning six straight. Liverpool on the other hand is struggling to stay within the mid table. It’s getting less and less likely they’ll even be close to making the top four and their best chance is winning Europa League. They have struggled in almost every game and now they risk embarrassment when they play the Championship leaders Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup quarterfinals. That’s not to mention that they face Arsenal next weekend. When it comes to Manchester United, everything should be horrible but it’s going great and is likely getting even better. When it comes to Liverpool, things are going to get worse before it gets better.