Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has encouraged Jose Mourinho to adopt an attacking approach against Liverpool on Sunday.
Manchester United’s early season momentum was effectively crushed when Mourinho employed cautious tactics at Anfield and came out with a 0-0 draw, while Manchester City went and scored seven against Stoke City on the same afternoon.
A pattern had been established, with Man United losing their next game to Huddersfield Town and falling five points behind Pep Guardiola’s men – a lead that has since been extended to 16 points.
And Keown, writing in his column for the Daily Mail, noted that Mourinho needed to set a different precedent at Old Trafford.
“Let’s not forget that it was at Anfield earlier in the season when their title challenge effectively came to a halt,” he said.
“Until then, United had corrected a lot of the inefficiencies from the season before. Romelu Lukaku looked their most influential player but all of sudden he became an isolated, lone striker who did not pose the same threat.
“By playing so negatively against Liverpool, United lost momentum and the following week lost at Huddersfield.
“On Monday night, United found themselves 2-0 down at Crystal Palace. They were forced to go and play, the handbrake was released and we saw some of their best football of the season.
“When Jose Mourinho allows his team to go and play, look at what happens.”
United rediscovered a sense of pure attacking zeal on Monday night that has been absent from their play for some time, but it was something else that will serve as a greater source of encouragement ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash: the way United finally went against the grain and responded to going behind.
It was the first time they won having been behind at half time in 28 games; the first time they overturned a two goal deficit since Boxing Day 2013.
Most notably, however, it was the first time in the post-Fergie era they have produced comeback wins in consecutive games.
Too often this season United have fallen behind and seemingly accepted their fate, but following a difficult February month something has changed.