Five lessons learned from Manchester United's horror show against Liverpool

Old Trafford

A catastrophic home performance saw United hammered 3-0 at home by Liverpool, with Steven Gerrard scoring 2 out of 3 penalties and Suarez netting the third

Fellaini looks a long way off a £28 million defensive midfielder

Starting deep in United's midfield, Marouane Fellaini was tasked with sitting alongside Michael Carrick to break up Liverpool's intricate passing game, while providing reinforcement against the runs of their attackers. The Belgian, and Carrick, had a torrid afternoon, losing out to the quick feet and thinking of their opponents, with Fellaini particularly looking a long way off being worth his transfer fee. He could also have given away a penalty early on for a couple of poor challeges on Suarez. But why is he even playing so deep? His impressive games for Everton all came in a more advanced role. The problem is that he rarely played with two strikers at Goodison, so he could float between midfield and attack. He can't do that when Rooney and Van Persie are in the team.

The midfield and defence look really susceptible to pace

Sterling, Sturridge and Suarez had much of the game their own way at Old Trafford, with only Rafael the only member of the United midfield and defence with any semblance of pace. Liverpool's  movement and speed to get on the end of their passing moves frequently exposed the home side, and given that it is feasible that as many as four new defenders will have to be brought in over the summer, it is vital that their is some pace in those incoming players. That this was perhaps United's first choice midfield but was so sluggish will have also been a real concern for David Moyes.

Robin van Persie is a long way off top form 

For all Wayne Rooney's eagerness to get involved in the game and threaten for United, Robin van Persie was more than noticeably absent when it came to exerting an influence. He was on the periphery for much of the match, and his touch and finish was lacking its usual class. A free header with 15 minutes left was the best chance to fall to him, but he was a long way off. United fans will be hoping such a performance isn't an indication that recent rumours of him wanting to leave the club are true.

Can Mata, Januzaj, Rooney and Van Persie all play in the same team?

For all that attacking flair and talent on show, United ended the game with just one shot on target, showing that linking those four together isn't an easy task. The fact is that Mata and Januzaj are not defensive enough to play on the wings, and when they are in a proper contest, as they certainly were against Liverpool, there needs to be some willingness to track back. Incorporating them all into an efficient, resilient outfit is the key for David Moyes, and still something he has yet to manage. 

Penalties and red card aside, United were a LONG way off Liverpool

And though the third penalty was debatable, they could have conceded another two, while Rafael could have already been sent from the field by the time the first goal went in. It could have been so much worse for United, which is saying something after such an atrocious showing, possibly one of their worst at home in decades. This is not something that can just be brushed aside, United have to make changes at some level, whether it's management, players or tactical, otherwise their dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson is going to seem a long long way off.

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