Liverpool: 9 Points, 9 New Players - Time To Knock Manchester United Off That Perch...
I was roundly slaughtered last season when I suggested that the current version Manchester United was not a particularly good United side. If any United fans want to disagree with the following then feel free to add your comments below; this is not a good United side. There are too many distinctly average players in the line up; Cleverly? Welbeck? Carrick? Valencia? Not exactly Beckham, Scholes, Keane, Cantona's are they?
And I'm not taking last season's league title as evidence that the team is better than I'm claiming either. That last title was brought purely through the strength of Alex Ferguson's desire to ensure that the last minute concession of their champions status to Manchester City would never happen again. David Moyes is quite definitely not Alex Ferguson. I'm sure that the Manchester United fans have worked this out by now with Moyes having quite brilliantly maintained his decade long tradition of not winning at Anfield. More amusingly he is still yet to record a victory at Old Trafford and he works there now.
For the moment.
As an aside, David Moyes has managed something already this season that few thought possible; he has united the Red and Blue sides of Merseyside in one pure purpose - hatred of the Man United manager. Everton fans now despise Moyes for his lack of grace in his pursuit of Fellaini and Baines and his utter lack of respect for his previous employers. Apparently he had never won at Anfield because he had never had the resources to do so before now. I wonder what his excuse is this evening?
More Liverpool Opinion...
The game itself? As wars of attrition go it failed to reach the levels of the United/Chelsea bore-athon but then Rodgers didn't set out with Mourinho's lack of ambition. A game which swept from the home side's initial vibrancy and threat, United's lacklustre midfield watching in confusion as Liverpool's shirt sharp triangular passing cut them apart, through sterility and ultimately into a resolute absorption of Mancunian pressure was settled by a piece of brilliantly intelligent positional play by the currently lethal Daniel Sturrdge, drifting into the goal itself before stepping back out to glance in Danel Agger's header from Steven Gerrard's corner.
United's second half pressure was to be expected, Ferguson may be gone but you would imagine that comebacks are ingrained in their DNA by now. Apart from one moment when Van Persie was able to drift free to pick up (and put wide) a Hernandez pass Liverpool's backline dealt with the opposition threat throughout. One could almost believe that the previous three games' pattern of taking an advantage with incisive possessional play in the first half only to sit back and see out the game under pressure in the second half were designed to prepare for this match.
And Liverpool's team? Coutinho was unable to influence the game as see have grown used to, Aspas started brightly but drifted to the periphery with his only impact being a growing race between himself and Van Persie to see who would be dismissed first. Skrtel stepped in admirably for the injured Toure in what may yet be his final Liverpool game, Ilori and Sakho both watching from the stands alongside Victor Moses, all deals expected to be confirmed tomorrow alongside the possible arrival of Shay Given as goalkeeping back up.
So, still not getting carried away.
Three games. One goalscorer. Three goals. Nine points. Only team in the premiership with a 100% record. First week of September and we're top of the league.
Our bench may have looked somewhat threadbare today but so far this summer we've added the busy Aspas, the promising Alberto, the excellent Mignolet, the missing for the next six weeks Aly Cissokho and the god amongst men that is Kolo Toure. Tomorrow sees the arrival of Moses, Ilori, Sakho and perhaps Given. Very quietly we appear to have added 9 players and spent approximately £20m to do so. Manchester United and Arsenal seem unable to spend any money at all, this could be a season that sees the top four open up a little.
Spurs have added seven to their squad but lost their best player in the process, ours is still with us and will return the next time we see David Moyes, at their place in the Capital One Cup. I wonder if Sky will cover it as 'the return of the Magnificent Seven' as they did with Cantona?
Brendan Rodgers is insisting tonight that Liverpool aren't title challengers. Good, lets keep insisting that and see what happens in the next eight months.