Romelu Lukaku has reacted to the widespread criticism sent his way following Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
All eyes were on whether the Belgian, who has 11 goals in a Man United shirt this season, could replicate his potency going forward at a ground who hasn’t scored at since 2013.
And he dramatically failed to offer much at all, missing his one chance in the second half and struggling to serve as a reliable outlet further up the pitch.
Speaking after the game, Lukaku was notably relaxed about the derision coming his way for what was a lacklustre display.
“That has to be the striker’s biggest strength,” he said. “Knowing that you are going to score and that you are going to miss.”
“But every time I miss, people put it like this – but a lot of strikers in the league miss bigger chances than me. But with me it’s always ‘Rom did this, Rom did that’ I don’t know why.
“With me it (my price tag) is always put out. I accept that as a matter of fact. I’m always relaxed.”
The label ‘flat-track bully’ has been levelled at Lukaku for some time now and his disappearance act at Anfield only provided further fuel for that flame.
But should United fans be worried? Can their main man up front deliver in big moments?
Perhaps that isn’t the right question. We know what Lukaku can do against lesser sides and the contrast from last season as a result couldn’t be more different, but what about when the conditions aren’t working in his favour?
When he doesn’t have players bombing forward alongside him and the opposition defence isn’t retreating, and instead he has to hold the ball up and do things on his own to a degree, how then will he react?
The signs on Saturday weren’t positive, yet neither were they terminal. But make no mistake: Lukaku needs to demonstrate that he can tick this box as well.