Last two games saw us win one nil. Up next was United. Would I be happy with another one nil…. you betcha. Did I expect it? No… not in the slightest. Now that’s not to say I didn’t think we could win, on the contrary. The thing is Toure was out injured, and van Persie has been known to be a bit of a nuisance. However, we also had a man on fire at the other end. The one thing I never thought would happen was for one of the teams to come away with a clean sheet. How happy am I that I was wrong there…..
This was the first time in a long time that we’ve played United whilst ahead of them on points. Here we were with a chance early in the season to pull away from them, and even the worst case scenario would have seen us only one point behind them. As a result there was a slightly more relaxing feeling for me going into the game. It was like I felt we could win this because the pressure was on United. There was of course also the matter of Shankly’s birthday on the next day. If there was one man that deserved this victory it was him, Daniel Sturridge had a birthday too… could he maintain his current run?
Liverpool started the brighter, so brightly in fact that within two minutes Ashley Young had been pressured into losing the ball and Liverpool then won a corner. From that corner, Gerrard’s ball was meet by Agger’s head. Sturridge, who had lingered near the goal line then flicked it into the empty net:
United did have an early bit of a fight back but it came to nothing, and from there, Liverpool controlled the first half. Some great football should have produced something better in the final third, but this time around it was also coupled with great pressure on United when they had the ball. It seemed that every attack they tried to launch just petered out well short of any sign of trouble.
You kind of expected a reaction from United, and they did start better in the second half. Glenn Johnson had a notable block from Young, but it still took United until after the 75th minute before Mignolet had to be forced into any sort of action, saving from Nani. Robin van Persie did have a chance late on but he wasted it. In the end it just wasn’t the “onslaught” you might expect of United. One nil down against Liverpool, two points behind them in the league and they kind of just fizzled out. True some of that was down to Liverpool’s work rate but they were poor. What surprised me more was that Moyes then went on to say that he thought that was the best that they had ever played. If he really thinks that, then I’m all for him staying there for the long run.
So what does it all mean for Liverpool? Well, the short answer is top of the league, the only team with a 100% record, and one of only three teams unbeaten thus far. However, it is still early in the season, and I just hope expectations stay grounded. At the start of the season, the expectations were low, the players went out there and just enjoyed their football. As a result they’ve played some phenomenal football, and just lack the scoring touch, but the, Suarez is close to his return. The real test starts now, can the players deal with the extra media attention, the extra scrutiny that comes with being at the top. Can they stop from getting carried away? I hope Brendan Rodgers learnt from last season, and doesn’t suddenly start saying we could win the league. Sure that is the ultimate aim, but at this stage, let’s just keep playing this fun entertaining winning football.
The biggest concern now has to be the injuries we are picking up. Toure is injured, Johnson could be out for a while, Cissohko might be out for up to six weeks. All defenders… and to me that’s a worry as two of those have been regular starters…. would we be able to do anything about that in the last few days of the transfer window? We’ll see in the next post…..