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One Year Later!

 Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 8:18 am  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool, Manchester United
Dec 152014

Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool
79721670 manucelebrate One Year Later!The biggest question concerning Brendan Rodgers these days is how many days does he have left on the job. I’m quite deliriously happy to rub his nose in the pooh of all the rhetorical rubbish he insisted upon blathering about Louis Van Gaal finding that EPL “isn’t like any other league he’s ever managed in.” Clearly a first-rate flunky for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and savvy enough to keep up the system Roberto Martínez put in place at Swansea, Rodgers clearly fell deeply in love with himself and believed all the the Fleet Street banter about him being the new face of British coaching a year ago. Deluded somehow into believing that somehow he was responsible for the incandescently brilliant presence of Luís Suarez at the club, Rodgers is now the Emperor with no clothes waking up from his sweet dream to find his feet nailed to the floor in a room full of mirrors. Manager-of-the-year? Whatever happened to Daniel Sturridge, anyway? Oh yeah! Injuries. Whatever happened to Steven ‘Slippy’ Gerrard? Life is funny and ironic. Can’t help but think of Sparky Hughes, can I? Sitting in his office at the Brittania, dreaming of the greatest thing that almost happened. Never mind, Brendan. There’s always Sunderland or West Ham United or the Ingerland job once ‘Woy’ is gone.

Nine months ago Liverpool visited Old Trafford and gave us what the Yanks love to call a “can of wupass,” in a 3-0 mauling. It was, for those of us who had patiently tried to be obedient and deferential to the will of the Gaffer, pretty much the last straw that broke the donkey’s back as far as the uninspiring tenure of David Moyes went. Well, payback’s a bitch and now it’s Louis van Gaal’s team riding a high-flowing Tsunami while Rogers, and owner John Henry’s Liverpool board of directors play their denial games and begin holding secret meetings with other managers.

Chelsea may be eights points and three losses clear of us, but United, without playing what even the largest stretch of the imagination as quality football are slowly, visibly reestablishing themselves after winning six successive matches to establish an early advantage over Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Southampton, Everton and any other pretender/wannabes in the attritional war over next season’s Champions League places.

It would be easy to pick apart the performances of most of Liverpool’s players. They were, to all intents and purposes, very poor beyond the yeoman heroics of the tiny Raheem Sterling. At least until the second half when the arrival of a brawny Mario Balotelli increased the threat against United’s still rickety error-prone-to-the- point-of-slapstick-comedy ‘defense.’ Sterling, whose contract has only a season left to run on it, will either negotiate a King’s ransom out of the Red Scousers, or sign for any number of clubs with big pockets. Both Sterling and Balotelli, did their own industrious work to set up at least six half-chances of their own, all of which were gloriously saved by goalkeeper, David De Gea, who is playing either out of his skin or is now the world’s best goalkeeper. Indeed, none of the approach work or shooting by Balotelli or Sterling could be faulted, it was just Spanish Dave’s awesome gift of hand/eye coordination that rendered him unbeatable.

79720660 rooneyscoresgetty One Year Later!Indeed, eleven minutes in, it was a blinder of a save by De Gea from Sterling after a superb run by Adam Lallanas set him free. De Gea not only made the save, but he moved the ball through Jones to Antonio Valencia. Valencia, who suffers badly from passive-aggressive-wing-syndrome was in a fine dogged mood against Liverpool. Having tapped a ball through the legs of a stupefied Joe Allen and rounded both Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren, Valencia before picking out Wayne Rooney, who sprinted free of his marker Coutinho, and made a perfect 20-yarder through a thicket of defenders.

United were superb in midfield. never giving Allen, Coutinho, Gerrard and the prickly crybaby that is Jordan Henderson a moment to hold onto possession or create. With Mata, Rooney and a tireless Fellaini repeatedly storming the gates, Liverpool were forced to feed on the scraps offered by the almost stoned dull-wittedness of a mistake prone Jonny Evans.

40 minutes in, United made it 2-0, five minutes before half-time, when Van Persie ’s noggin barely touched one of Ashley Young’s rarely accurate crosses before an offside Mata’s stooping header had Liverpool staggering. It was a bad call, to be sure, but that does not excuse Liverpool’s terrible defensive line as they all failed to mark anybody, particularly Alberto Moreno who was nowhere near Mata at the far post

79721672 robinvanpersieap One Year Later!In the second half, United’s patient counterattacking policy finally paid off again as Lovren botched his attempt at a clearance of a Rooney cross and Juan Mata was there to flick the loose ball to Robin van Persie on the right and the third goal went in in the 71st minute.

For United, the midfield was superb and Valencia had his best match for at least two seasons. Faced with the less than physical opposition of Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and a knackered Gerrard, Mata was in his milieu in front of Rooney. With Van Persie back in form and Falcao a hungry lion about to roar at Van Gaal’s manipulative behest, things are taking shape. Only James Wilson and the tactically-challenged Evans struggled to make an impact on the day. The only major yawning deficit seems to be in the CB spot which no one seems fully capable of mastering.

And guess what? Christmas is almost here!79721024 juanmatascoresgetty 1 One Year Later!

Ivor Irwin

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