Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United: Tactical Breakdown
David de Gea lived up to the hype, and going into the big game, was leading the league in saves and had the best saves to shot ratio (87 percent)—those stats will be padded up after his man of the match performance.
Let's tactically breakdown the game.
Liverpool 4-2-3-1 vs. Manchester United 4-1-4-1
Liverpool had 56 percent of possession, made 99 more passes, and controlled the game more than Manchester United.
Why was this the case?
Phil Jones being played out of position.
Liverpool's midfield three of Charlie Adam, Steven Gerrard and Lucas looking more cohesive than Manchester United's midfield three of Jones, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs.
Which says something considering Lucas didn't play a good game.
Manchester United were way too slow, were too stagnant and lacked creativity.
José Enrique's Defensive Ability or Park Ji-Sung's Inability to Attack?
To think Manchester City bought Gaël Clichy for £7 million and Aleksandar Kolarov for £16 million.
José Enrique would have only cost Sheikh Mansour £5million.
For me, on form, he's arguably the best left back in the Premier League so far.
Like Roland Nilsson decades earlier, Enrique for some reason, just doesn't seem to receive the accolades he deserves.
Enrique had Park in his pocket for 69 minutes, and would have continued to dominate the South Korean if not for Park being hauled off for Wayne Rooney.
Seven successful passes in 69 minutes from the South Korean says it all.
Martin Kelly's Coming of Age
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Martin Kelly may not have dominated Ashley Young to the extent José Enrique dominated Park Ji-Sung, however Kelly limited Young to a pretty ordinary game.
Considering how extraordinary Young has been, and how important the winger is to Manchester United's game, Kelly deserves plaudits.
Forget about Glen Johnson; focus on Kelly.
Offensively, Kelly didn't offer too much, but he did get three sneaky crosses, or be it all three were unsuccessful.
He could have a Branislav Ivanović like impact at right back.
Writing on the Wall for Rio Ferdinand
I wouldn't go as far to say Charlie Adam dived, but he he made referee Andre Marriner's decision easier by going down after minimal contact by Rio Ferdinand.
The talking point isn't if Adam dived, it's Ferdinand's positioning.
Or can one make the point it was good play by Adam who shrugged off Phil Jone's pressure, went past Darren Fletcher, and then left Ferdinand flat footed.
The Moment Ryan Giggs Cost Manchester United
It hasn't been a good year for Ryan Giggs, off the field and on the field.
It would be disappointing if he retired in this fashion, but one cannot understand how he justifies a position in the starting 11.
He was very static today, he didn't offer anything creative, nor did he boss the midfield.
It will be replayed over and over again–The moment when Giggs decided to break away from the wall. Also, what are the chances that Steven Gerrard's shot straight through where Giggs would have been to block it if he stood his ground.
Jamie Carragher and Martin Škrtel
As Nani was shaping up to take the corner, the camera panned into the penalty box, and as usual you had Jamie Carragher tussling with Danny Welbeck and Martin Škrtel all over Chicharito.
Welbeck pushes off Carragher, and the Liverpool defender has that split decision to make: Should I follow Welbeck or should I stand my ground?
For whatever reason, I presume, he thought he could win the header in his position, but it was a horrible read because Welbeck won the ball and Chicharito sneaked in front of Škrtel to score.
This game highlights the Achille's heel of Liverpool.
Kenny Dalglish can complain all he wants about referees, but as far as I'm concerned; centre back is an issue.
Give Sebastián Coates a chance.
Kenny Dalglish's Refusal to Use All His Substitutes
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You only need to look at what Sir Alex Ferguson did.
He rolled the dice and Chicharito scored.
Why didn't Kenny Dalglish use all his substitutes?
Jordan Henderson was having an impact, why not chuck on Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll, to put some pressure on Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans, who is suspect when it comes to defending.
Put it this way, if Óscar Cardozo, who has no pace can leave Evans in stitches and sevens, I'm sure Bellamy would have had some positive impact.