Glenn Aquilina highlights five key reasons why Manchester United has been better than Liverpool this season; following United’s 3-0 win at Old Trafford, a fixture that Liverpool ironically won 3-0 last season. This leaves Liverpool a lowly 9th in the table compared to United that is well on its way to securing a top four finish in 3rd place.
1) Transfer Market
Both sides have spent over €100,000,000 in the transfer market this summer. However, whilst Manchester United has spent its transfer budget on world class superstars such as Angel Di Maria, and Radamel Falcao; Liverpool has spent its transfer budget on a multitude of ineffectual players in a bid to bolster their squad depth. Players such as: Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic, and Alberto Moreno, have left much to be desired from the Liverpool faithful.
2) Louis van Gaal
Following David Moyes’s dismissal after Manchester United failed to secure a top-four finish last season, Louis van Gaal was appointed as the new manager of the Old Trafford outfit. Whilst both Brendan Rodgers and Louis van Gaal prefer to play an attacking style of football, Louis van Gaal ultimately finds a way to bring out the best of the players that he has at his disposal. This has resulted in some ‘dirty’ wins, in which van Gaal’s men find a way to win, despite seemingly playing worse than their opposition. Despite preferring a 4-3-3 formation, van Gaal has opted to play with a counter-attacking 3-5-2 formation, absorbing pressure from the opposition before counter-attacking on the break. This system has worked brilliantly against the likes of Arsenal, Southampton, and Liverpool themselves.
3) No Champions League
Much like Liverpool last season, Manchester United has taken full advantage of not having to play an extra fixture in mid-week, thus much more preparation can go into each individual fixture. Also, less fixtures, means that the players are much less fatigued through playing and travelling.
4) David de Gea
This season, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been in arguably the best form of his professional career thus far. “Spanish Dave” has made countless miraculous saves that have turned potential draws and defeats into wins for the Red Devils. On the other hand Simon Mignolet, the Liverpool goalkeeper, has been subject to harsh criticism for a string of dodgy displays. In fact, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers opted to play back-up goalkeeper Brad Jones instead of Mignolet for Liverpool’s trip to Old Trafford.
5) No 'SSS' FOR Liverpool
Last, but not least, the loss of the: Sturridge, Suarez, and Sterling partnership up front, has dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s quality of play. ‘SSS’, as they were dubbed, struck fear in the hearts of defences everywhere, bagging numerous goals in route to Liverpool’s second place finish. However, having Luis Suarez depart for Barcelona in the summer, and losing Daniel Sturridge through injury, has resulted in Raheem Sterling being essentially Liverpool’s only spark of creativity. Whilst talented and lively, Sterling alone cannot possibly be expected to be a game changer. Some have cited that the loss of this partnership as being the root of Liverpool’s problems this term.