Manchester United vs. Liverpool: 5 Things We Learned

Scott Rom@@R_o_MFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

Manchester United vs. Liverpool: 5 Things We Learned

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    Manchester United against Liverpool is probably the biggest rivalry in England and one of the biggest games in European football.

    For nearly all of the past 20 years, United have gone in to these fixtures as favourites and chasing a league title.

    Today's game saw a role reversal, though, with United still having some vague hope of finishing in the top four whilst Liverpool are in the title race.

    Liverpool were deserved 3-0 winners, but the game wasn't without controversy. What did we learn today?

Moyes Doesn't Know What to Do with Mata

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    Juan Mata left Chelsea to ensure that he had more playing time ahead of the World Cup this summer. He was left out of the most recent Spain squad, though, and whilst he is playing all the time for United, he isn't playing in his preferred position.

    Just as Sir Alex Ferguson did with Shinji Kagawa last season, Mata keeps getting shoved on the wing, meaning we don't get to see anything like the sort of player who was voted Chelsea's best for the past two seasons.

    Another game passed Mata by with him failing to have much impact. Having spent £42 million on him, Moyes surely should be able to find a way to incorporate him more effectively in one of United's biggest matches of the season.

Liverpool Won't Be Gifted Games Like This Every Week

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    Liverpool didn't even have to play well to win today. Whilst the away team were clearly the ones in control, David de Gea didn't have a save to make but still found himself playing for the side that were 2-0 down.

    Two mistakes at the back resulted in two penalties. The day could have been worse when Mark Clattenburg awarded the third penalty of the day and sent off Nemanja Vidic, when Daniel Sturridge was guilty of an awful dive. 

    It was only once playing against 10 men that Liverpool could score from open play. Their fans sung songs about winning the league, but it's likely another team will throw away a game as readily as United did today in the remaining months of the season. 

Something Has Gone Horribly Wrong in the United Dressing Room

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    Has Moyes lost the dressing room? When you look at United's starting team, player for player, they still have one of the best sides in the league. When you look at their attack, boasting the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj, it's hard to understand why they aren't scoring plenty of goals every week.

    This season, five teams in the league have a better defensive record than Liverpool, United included, yet at home the current champions couldn't even muster one goal. They barely came close to scoring.

Manchester United Fans Will Stand by Their Team

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    With 20 minutes remaining in the game and the scoreline still at 2-0, United fans started singing "20 times, 20 times Man United, 20 times, 20 times I say, 20 times, 20 times, Man United, playing football the Matt Busby way."

    That chant was sung non-stop, not even pausing when Liverpool scored a third, and carried on long past the final whistle. The disappointed United players applauded the Stretford End as they walked off the field. Once Liverpool had finished celebrating with their fans, their exit was serenaded with the same song.

    The fans at Old Trafford are often criticised, but even on the back of an embarrassing 3-0 defeat, the fans still showed their full support for the team.

David Moyes Isn't Up to the Job

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    Moyes let yet another big game pass him by and is still showing nothing to indicate he has what it takes to manage a club of this magnitude, with these expectations.

    With United's only dangerous chance falling to Wayne Rooney just before half-time, forcing an excellent stop from Simon Mignolet, you would think the manager would realise sometime before the 75th minute that he needed to change things.

    Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck were brought on just a minute before United were reduced to 10 men. With United then playing with just three defenders, and little chance of getting anything out of the game, Moyes waited until United conceded a third before bringing on a defender to replace Vidic.