Liverpool Caught Offside
Yesterday was suppose to be a privileged day for every true lover of Englsih football.
Yes, biggest and most historical derby between arch-rivals was on the menu, and personally, I was expecting to see close combat between them, alson with a haul of goals.
The scoreline seems to show a lack of intesity, with the Red Devils prevailing, 3-0, but indeed, it was fun game to watch.
In their current form, neither Manchester United nor Liverpool are the finest that European football has to offer. Indeed, the Reds were eliminated from Champions League play last week, and United hadn't even qualified for any European competition this season. Still, there was plenty to play for: van Gaal's men were trying to extend their unbeaten run to six straight wins, and Liverpool wanted to find the cure for their bad spell, especially after the recent failure of their Champions League campaign.
But, right before kickoff, it was clear that this was going to be a one-way street. I couldnt believe my eyes when i saw the team sheets.
Yes, Master Brendan did it again. Even so, I actually have praise this talented manager, but yesterday's stunt was too much, even for his standards.
After 93 consecutive games in the league, Reds 'keeper Simon Mignolet was on the bench as Brad Jones made his debut. The defensive line didnt look promising, either, with likes of Martin Škrtel, Dejan Lovren, and Glen Johnson. False nine has been a football trend for years, but I do believe that move with Johnson holding the central role in their back three deserves to be considered innovative.
Just in case you want to lose on purpose.
There was a veritable bunch of players with indentical profiles in the middle, a truly soulless bunch of indivudals. And yes, winger Rakim Sterling was false and the only striker upfront. Smart move, considering that he was on a 16-game streak without actually scoring a goal.
This was a promising plan for team playing on the road against a rival like United, breathtaking in its audacity and all-encompassing in its insanity. Yes, Brendan, we all did understand before kickoff that your goalkeeper sucks, that your defensive line is a joke, and that you desperately want the balance in the center, but you don't do those kinds of tricks when you go at Old Trafford to play a six-point game against Manchester United.
And yes, Brendan, I understand why you're unhappy when the game ends.
Van Gaal is a smart and experienced manager. He knows that his team is far from world-beaters, but still, he knows that as manager, you're commanding the squad.
Your have your soldiers in the formation, and you fight. Every player is in the position where he plays his best. Your formation is your code of order and you must obey to that code. It can be ugly, but its damn effective.
And guess what? When results come -- and they certainly will, eventually -- the team's confidence will grow. Confidence and mutual trust between manager and the players will increase, too. That's how a team will develop. And that's how a well-oiled machine actually works.
Don't forget that he has Neo for his regular goalkeeper.
Robert van Persie and David de Gea were understandably chuffed with the result. You could almost hear them saying they want more of the same.