All the experience in the world doesn’t mean anything in a derby

Manchester United beat Liverpool by two goals to one to kick off today’s football, thanks to two moments of magic from Juan Mata. It wasn’t a classic Liverpool performance but they scrapped in the second half and could’ve got a point – their captain Steven Gerrard being sent off just 45 seconds after coming on didn’t help the cause and here’s a few things we learned.
Liverpool were renowned last season (and a significant portion of this season) for blowing their opponents away early on, but we saw nothing of the sort today. It took 35 minutes for Liverpool to register anything of note, by which time they were already one down and chasing the ball.
No matter how much he’s played and how big the games have been, as Jamie Carragher said, Steven Gerrard is an “emotional” player. Coming off the bench in a game like that was always going to end up in a Steve G screamer or a red card. That Gerrard red card is up there with the birth of my kids. Absolutely fantastic
Man United were the last team to beat Liverpool before today. Since then, Liverpool have changed to a 3-4-3 formation and no one has figured out how to deal with it. Van Gaal set up his team in such a way that the Kop were completely silenced for the first half an hour, as Liverpool couldn’t get hold of the ball, or even press high up the pitch. Doesn’t surprise me that the only person who has worked out how to play against 3-4-3 is a well travelled continental manager
He’s chopped and changed constantly throughout the season, looking for the right mixture and trying to find a balance. Two of David Moyes’ signings in Marouane Fellaini and Mata have performed brilliantly for him in recent weeks, and with Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in the team the midfield seems to know when to pick up the tempo and attack and when to play amongst themselves. Falcao and Di Maria on the bench in a huge match…who would’ve predicted that at the beginning of the season?


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