Despite the result, Liverpool fans were hugely encouraged by what was a very good game for them, full of energy and possession. Joe Allen is becoming increasingly influential and Gerrard has begun finding his rhythm, whilst Sterling terrorized the visiting defence. Surely it is only a matter of time before Liverpool kick start their season with a much needed victory?
In contrast, it took Shelvey’s sending off and the introduction of Paul Scholes from the bench and into the space Shelvey formerly occupied on the pitch to give Manchester United any sort of control over the game, and then only sporadically.
The Red Devils are increasingly looking like the Galactic Empire where the only thing holding their fragile success together is the force of will of the Emperor himself – Sir Alex. Too often recently their team on the pitch has looked average, laboured and out of ideas, but the experience, determination and desire to win that irrepressibly radiates from the dugout seems to be enough to see Man Utd through on most occasions.
This season van Persie has been brought in to add that extra something special to push them over the line ahead of their sky blue rivals, but on Sunday he looked more C3P0 than Hans Solo. Anonymous until the penalty, Princess Leia demonstrates more grit than RVP did trying to get close to the likes of Agger and Skrtel.
Yet the 3 points head to Old Trafford and Anfield still awaits its first league win of the season. However, much credit must go to Man Utd’s twelfth man and big questions remain as to whether Sith Alex can manipulate every referee and match so comprehensively throughout the season.
Manchester United fans must dread the day Fergie finally does retire, his influence is so great on the club. As for whether his methods cross the line usually depends on perspective.
Manchester United supporters will no doubt laugh off suggestions his influence in the game benefits the club in the form of favourable treatment. Yet supporters of other clubs will look forward when his reign ends and his massive personality can no longer make its presence felt in the Premier League.
When the inevitable does occur, they can only hope the successor at Old Trafford is more Darth Vader than Count Dooku.
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