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GUARDIAN – Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool: five talking points | Jamie Jackson

Brendan Rodgers’ words of warning for the Old Trafford club seemed prescient as his three amigos lived up to their billing as lethal entertainersMatch report: Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool1 Swaggering Liverpool walk their talkEleven minutes into the second half, and with the visitors leading from two Steven Gerrard penalties, their manager was regaled with “There’s only one Brendan Rodgers”.In this moment the Northern Irishman’s words in the build-up to the 190th encounter between the clubs felt sagacious, not hubristic. Then, Rodgers had warned Manchester United would struggle to attract top-line players if they failed to qualify for the Champions League this season, as Liverpool have since 2009-10.For Moyes, his own pre-game offering was left sounding hollow. “From what I see everyday positivity is growing around the AON Training Complex. What goes on there is completely different to what people perceive the situation to be at Manchester United.”2 Robin van Persie goes missing againAfter last week’s interview in which the Dutchman gave assurances he would be at United next season and wanted to stay beyond his current contract, Van Persie turned in another unconvincing display to follow that at West Bromwich Albion last week.As then, Moyes must have been tempted to replace him with Danny Welbeck but when he finally decided to change things on 75 minutes it was Adnan Januzaj who was hooked for the England striker.Before kick-off Van Persie said: “My target now is to get stronger, better and more productive each game. Most importantly, I want to help the team win games as that’s what this club is all about.”With nine games remaining time is ticking on this ambition.3 Liverpool’s three amigos shineLuis Suárez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge are three players who illustrate the gulf in pace, intelligence and quality between Liverpool and United.This campaign’s headline story at Anfield has been how Sturridge has finally turned potential into consistent contribution. Yet less heralded but as exciting for Liverpool fans has been the re-emergence of Sterling on an upward trajectory that, at 19, had him trusted by Rodgers with the No10 berth for English football’s most seismic encounter.This was further evidence of how Liverpool have become English football’s must-see act due to the fluidity allowed the manager by this trio, with the move that led to Liverpool’s opening penalty showing this: Sterling passed to Sturridge whose cross was collected by Suárez before Rafael da Silva handballed.4 Moyes has to get transfers right this summer On show were Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, two players recruited by the manager for £64.1m who, not for the first time this season (and probably not the last), wandered around like two kids in a game played by adults. Most of the latter were on the Liverpool side so the Belgian and Spaniard can hardly carry the can for another toothless United display. But their disappointing contribution illuminated how poor Moyes’s recruitment has been and how, if he wishes to keep his job, he dare not make a mess of his buying in the close season.Both Fellaini and Mata look like what the advance notices said they would be: square pegs in a round hole and the sight of Fellaini being replaced in the second half was no surprise.5 The curious case of the United high ballMissing In Action: the midfield of the 20-times champions. Last definite sighting –last season as the Reds romped to the title by 11 points. As the contest developed and Liverpool dazzled United with their ever-morphing pass-and-move style the eye searched for any sign of encouragement for the David Moyes project. Yet all that was consistently seen were high balls punted in hope rather than conviction.What the watching Diego Maradona thought of the route-one stuff would fascinate. More pertinent to United’s cause is what Moyes’s thinking is with this tactic. On Friday he said: “Overall we won’t change the traditions, the style, what’s expected here at Manchester United. We’ll try and follow all of them through.” This display belied the claim.Manchester UnitedLiverpoolJamie Jacksontheguardian.com 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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GUARDIAN – Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool | Premier League match report

For Manchester United and David Moyes, there is probably only one redeeming feature and it is that their own supporters are still holding off from open mutiny. Even now, outplayed by their oldest rivals, drifting further into mediocrity, the frustration and confusion and genuine shock manifested itself only in a loud, defiant show of support. At another club, they would be hounding the manager out by now.They were abysmal, completely out-thought and out-done by a Liverpool side that passed the ball with much greater speed and intelligence and clambered back above Manchester City into second place in the Premier League.Steven Gerrard initiated the ordeal with two successful penalties and, though he put a third one against the post in the second half, there was still plenty of time for another wretched day for Moyes to descend into even more of a mess. Nemanja Vidic was sent off for the third of the penalties and, soon afterwards, Luis Suarez was gleefully turning the ball past David de Gea.There is now a 43-point swing in Liverpool’s favour between these sides over the last year and, on this evidence, nobody should be reckless enough to assume their title challenge will simply melt away. Brendan Rodgers’s team are four points behind Chelsea, with a game in hand, and still have to play them at Anfield. He is right, strictly speaking, when he says Chelsea and Manchester City are the more likely champions but Liverpool are playing with confidence and momentum and passing the ball in a way that was simply too much for their latest opponents. “We’re going to win the league,” their supporters were singing before the end. In the worst moments, Moyes’s team seemed to get everything that is expected of them inside this stadium.No side with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj as its frontline should be this bereft of ideas or poor on the ball. Yet this is not a one-off. It was both shocking, yet not absolutely surprising, and the indignities continue to pile up for Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor. “David Moyes is a football genius,” was another chant from the away end. It has been the soundtrack to his season, and it might even get worse before it can possibly get any better. One certainty is that Olympiakos, with a 2-0 first-leg lead, will not be discouraged about their chances of completing the job on Tuesday.They were lucky, too, that the referee, Mark Clattenburg, opted to show leniency to Rafael da Silva after his handball had given Gerrard his first chance from 12 yards. A minute earlier, Rafael had been booked for a scything challenge through the ball of the Liverpool captain. A yellow card is not mandatory for a handball penalty offence but a deliberate one, preventing Suarez from going around him, really ought to have seen Clattenburg reaching for his pocket again.For Liverpool, it did not hugely matter. Rodgers had set up his team with a midfield diamond, with Raheem Sterling operating at its tip, just behind Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. That front three wreaked havoc and Liverpool might actually have had four penalties bearing in mind the moment early on when Jones and Marouane Fellaini both had a nibble at Suarez’s ankles. That chance arrived from Mata losing the ball on the halfway line and the tone was set. This, more than anything, must be the greatest concern for United’s supporters. Their team was so careless on the ball. Liverpool, in stark contrast, shimmered with self-belief. Gerrard dominated midfield with Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen, to the point there were callous cheers from the Stretford End when it was announced Fellaini was being substituted.Gerrard’s second penalty arrived inside the opening minute of the second half, after Phil Jones had barged over Joe Allen. Just like the first, Gerrard took it brilliantly to De Gea’s left. On the third occasion, he went the other way and this time he misjudged his shot. United were incensed because it appeared Sturridge had dived over Vidic’s challenge but the real story here was not of injustice. It was of the confirmation that Liverpool have caught and overhauled their old enemy.United were hopelessly lost in those final exchanges, culminating in Suarez controlling Sturridge’s miscued shot to complete the home side’s misery.Premier LeagueManchester UnitedLiverpoolDaniel Taylortheguardian.com 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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