Manchester United responded. There was a real pressure about tonight’s result against Liverpool. It may have only been a Capital One Cup tie but the repercussions of losing to Manchester City and Liverpool within the space of three days would have been damning for Moyes.
1-0. A win was needed. The City game is now in the past and United responded in the perfect way with a win.
Liverpool made two changes to the side that lost to Southampton at the weekend. United made eight. For our second string team to do that to effectively Liverpool’s first side was great.
It was not the exciting football that many had hoped for but a win is a win.
Javier Hernandez. Chicharito has struggled to get any game time this season but you know whenever he gets given the opportunity, he is probably going to score.
He had a quiet first half but didn’t waste any time putting United ahead in the second. His finish from Rooney’s corner was fantastic with the Mexican able to manoeuvre his leg quickly enough to steer the ball in. It was a real striker’s finish and he made the difficult technique look easy.
Something that was also apparent from Hernandez was his vastly improved first touch. Whereas before he found it difficult to get more involved in the game, he showed some deft touches tonight in real pressure situations.
Hernandez needs to play more. He always scores.
Cutting in from the wings. A front four of Rooney, Kagawa, Nani and Hernandez gave Manchester United fans a real hope of some liquid football after the dour events of Sunday.
But after a bright first ten minutes, United looked like they didn’t know what to do. There was no fluidity and chances were at a premium.
The second half saw much of the same but United played much better on the counter attack where we looked most threatening.
Nani had quite an ineffective game as did Kagawa for the majority of it. Both had their individual moments but given how they had been hailed as the solution on the wings, they did little to show that.
Jones and Giggs midfield. Given how well Cleverley played in his 20 minute cameo against Manchester City, it was really a surprise to Jones and Giggs start in the middle. On paper it looked like a weak partnership and so it proved in the first half.
United had no midfield presence. We depended on taking the ball wide before crossing the halfway line. Giggs looked for the Hollywood balls while Jones was obviously tasked with breaking up Liverpool’s play.
Jones played well man marking Suarez but Giggs wasn’t good enough. It has been said before but it will be said again – Giggs shouldn’t start games any more.
Promising defence for the future. Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling both made their first appearances at centre back for United this season, and they were both superb.
Evans was named man of the match but it could have easily been Smalling (I would have given it to him instead). David Moyes has preferred to use Vidic and Ferdinand as his first choice pairing but Smalling and Evans have showed him how stacked United are in the defensive department.
Tonight was a tough, nervous game but for Smalling and Evans to keep a clean sheet was fantastic.