ARE Liverpool really 24 points worse than Manchester United?
Brendan Rodgers didn’t seem to think so at the weekend, despite seeing his side lose at Old Trafford for the 10th time in 11 visits.
I can understand why he would say that. Liverpool have played much better of late, and on that form you’d have to say United are not eight wins better than them in the Premier League standards.
But, when it comes to matchwinners, United are clearly miles ahead of their Anfield rivals.
Rodgers might argue that he wouldn’t swap many of his first-choice players for United ones in a number of positions.
But just look at the breadth of quality Sir Alex Ferguson can call upon. Wayne Rooney wasn’t fit to face Liverpool, and Javier Hernandez stayed on the bench. Antonio Valencia only came on for the closing moments and then there’s Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Once you chip away at Liverpool’s starting XI, the squad looks particularly threadbare, certainly in comparison to United.
Rodgers’ men simply gave United far too much space on Sunday, and if you do that at Old Trafford you are going to be on a hiding to nothing.
I know Liverpool changed things around at half-time and on a good day could have nicked a point, but on a bad day they could quite easily have been 3-0 down by half-time.
There have been a number of teams that have gone to Old Trafford this season, scored first and scored early and put United on the back foot. Liverpool, though, didn’t do that. They just stood and watched.
It was all the more confusing given that United’s attacking line-up meant they were only going to play one way – attacking.
Liverpool were far too passive. They weren’t tight whatsoever in midfield. Daniel Sturridge made a difference when he came on, but you always felt United could snatch another goal if they really wanted.
Not for the first time this season, Rodgers’s side only started playing once they were behind.
That is worrying. It’s almost like the players were saying ‘we are going to probably lose now, so we’ll give it a go’.
If they can play like that when 2-0 down, why not from the off? It’s a mental thing, clearly.
While Rodgers was right not to start with Sturridge, Liverpool’s struggle to start well has happened on a number of occasions now. They start taking chances when there’s nothing to lose.
I don’t want to harp on about United, but hasn’t Ferguson always taken a chance with his teams? That’s the way United have played for 20 years now.
Also, I don’t understand why somebody wants to redefine Steven Gerrard. He doesn’t need redefining, he needs putting in his best place – an attacking one.