Sep 1, 2013

Four Things we Learned From Man United's Defeat at Anfield Today

1. Ryan Giggs is officially too old to play at this level. We admire Giggs's efforts. We really do. He is well past the peak age (by about a decade) of a Premiership midfielder. That he has been able to remain competitive for so long speaks volumes to his conditioning, positioning and guile. But the sleight of hand has become a dangerous game. Time and again today Giggs was muscled off the ball, outrun by his man or left looking precariously flatfooted. Maybe he can be a useful sub for 15 minutes or so, but it is time to face the facts of Father Time and admit Giggs should not start another (non-friendly) match for Manchester United. 

2. Robin van Persie is not aging well either. We're not talking about his looks here, though 30 is a little young to be going gray on us. The Dutchman only drew attention through his ineptitude and visible frustration in the first half. In the second it was for blowing United's best (only?) real chance at a late equalizer. Thirty is pretty old for a striker. Van Persie is past his prime. Can he still be effective? He wasn't today 

3. David Moyes can motivate this team. United were outplayed in the first half and at times didn't even look like they wanted to be there. They let Liverpool take the game to them and supplied little in way of attacking football. Yes, the team sorely missed Wayne Rooney (and why didn't you start Chicharito if he was supposedly healthy?) and the referee was...well, this game was played at Anfield, lets just leave it at that. But look at how Red Devils came out after halftime. The team was inspired and played with a sense of purpose, pinning Liverpool deep in their own end and putting Reds under pressure with creative play. The final pass was maybe lacking (again owing to the absence of Rooney or a bonafide sniper) but the entire demeanor of the team was a mirror image of what it had been in the first 45 minutes. Man United may not win the Premiership (or much else) this season but it will not be because Moyes is unable to get through to the troops.

4. Liverpool are not as good as their perfect record might suggest. We know, we know. Nine points from three games and zero goals conceded looks awfully good right now. So does first place in the Barclays Premier League. But two of the victories were against Stoke City and Aston Villa. All three came by the narrowest of margins and all goals were supplied by Wayne Sturridge. The team lacks depth in attack. Its defense looked good today (and three clean sheets speak for themselves) but has still not been tested by a formidable attack (no Rooney for United today remember). Due to their ineptitude last season Reds will not have to worry about a European schedule, which will mask concerns about their depth. But lets see how they do away from home against healthier attacking sides in mid season shape before we anoint them Premier League Champs.

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