The visitors completely controlled the match against the Premier League champions at Old Trafford, in a game that was packed full of controversial incidents but, nonetheless, the hosts were completely outplayed by their rivals.
There is a tendency in the modern era of football for fans, pundits, and journalists to focus on what teams do in the transfer market for a few months of the year, more than what they do on the training ground week in week out, but Sunday’s game sheds light on exactly how much more crucial it is to have quality coaching than quality signings.
Of the starting XI for Liverpool, not one of the ten outfield players on the team sheet were signed in the last 12 months by Brendan Rodgers – apart from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, the team on the pitch at kick-off were all at Anfield last season.
Daniel Sturridge was bought in January last year and substitutes Philippe Coutinho and Iago Aspas were signed by Rodgers in January and the summer compared to Manchester United’s £64.5 million outlay combined for Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini in the last 12 months.
United boss David Moyes has been under fire from all directions this term in what has been an incredibly difficult debut season in charge of the champions. But his coaching methods and style of play has been, in my estimation, where he has failed most spectacularly and Rodgers has succeeded most admirably.
Liverpool finished 7th in the Premier League last season in Rodgers’ first term in charge, let us not forget, and United finished worthy champions under Sir Alex Ferguson. But this term the Red Devils have completely capitulated without the Scot who held the reigns for 26 years.
The team that pundits waxed lyrical over all season long in 2012/13 are suddenly this term in need of a complete squad overhaul.
It is not unusual for journalists and supporters alike to be somewhat reactionary but it must be noted that the vast majority of players at Moyes’ disposal are the same players who were crowned champions under Ferguson in the last 12 months.
Meanwhile, the same outfield players on the team sheet on Sunday were there as Liverpool finished 7th last term.
The work Rodgers has achieved on the training ground with the Reds this term has been nothing short of sensational. The way they controlled the game and have been doing for the best part of the season shows exactly why a quality coach is so important.
Liverpool are genuine title contenders this term just months after being barely top six contenders, and that gulf has been bridged almost entirely by coaching and training and work that we do not see behind the scenes, not the work we do see in the transfer market.