Prior to the match between Manchester United and Liverpool, David Moyes had suggested that the visitors were favourites as they headed to Old Trafford. And when the final whistle blew, few would disagree with him.
Brendan Rodgers' side were better in every department against the reigning champions, harrying, closing down and giving United's more creative players no time to think let alone act.
The 3-0 scoreline did not flatter the Reds, and were it not for a post and an outstanding save from David de Gea, it could have been even worse.
But of all the United players on show on Sunday, one appears to be causing more debate that any other, and that player is Rafael.
The Brazilian right-back has always divided opinion, his hard work undeniable by his rash streak meaning a poor decision is always a possibility. And that was the case again on Sunday, as he flicked Luis Suarez's dinked ball away with his hand and gave Liverpool the chance to open the scoring from the resultant penalty.
But it was not just that. Rafael was also lucky to remain on the pitch after an earlier rash challenge on Steven Gerrard was followed by another poorly-timed effort that could easily have led to a red card. But instead it would be his teammate Nemanja Vidic who would ultimately be dismissed for a foul in the penalty area on Daniel Sturridge that looked anything but.
But back to Rafael...
As you can see from the Opta stats below, he won five tackles, 12 duels, one aerial duel and three interceptions. He also ran up and down the right flank like his life depended on it.
|Player||Won Tackle||Duel Won||Aerial Won||Interception Won||Mins|
But then there were those fouls, and the seven duels that he lost, and the two occasions when he was dispossessed. But that is what the statistics say...what about the fans?
|Player||Challenge Lost||Fouls||Duel Lost||Dispossessed||Mins|
After the match we took to Twitter to see what the United faithful made of Rafael's performance. We could not print some of the message, but below are a selection of those we could. And as you will see, there were contrasting feelings towards the young defender.
Besides the penalty, Rafael was the only guy playing for Manchester United today...— Zothile (@Zotyl) March 16, 2014
@ManUtd well done to Rafael for being the only united player that turned up today!— Christopher McManus (@chrismcmanus) March 16, 2014
The biggest mystery today isn't that Manchester United are now poor, we all know that, but how on earth is Rafael still on the pitch?— Simon Fish (@SimonJohnFish) March 16, 2014
When Rafael is both your best and worst player on the day, you're probably in trouble. @ManUtd— J. Francis (@The_Gav21) March 16, 2014