It is wide open now at the top of the Premier League table, and it is certainly going to be an interesting finish to the season. The top and bottom of the league has tightened up. Liverpool made good on their promise yesterday. And then some.
Of the top four sides in the league, it is not ridiculous to suggest Brendan Rodgers' team are in the best form. Apart from Jose Enrique who is out injured, all their main players are playing well. They carry goal threats all over the park, are full on energy and are performing to a very high level.
It was incredible to witness just how sluggish United looked in comparison to Liverpool. You maybe thought this would have been the one game where they found some aggression and energy, but all you were left to watch was an empty tank, a carcass of a team left for Liverpool to feed on.
I don't think United can be as bad as they were against Liverpool. Not when it is less than a year since they won the Premier League by some margin. They cannot be that bad. The manager David Moyes is part of the problem at the club. He has to shoulder some of the blame.
In his defence, you would say that the squad he has inherited contains none of the characters he is after. But he hasn't covered himself in glory with the signings he has made. Marouane Fellaini has not been good enough to wear a United shirt. Juan Mata has yet to bring his form from Chelsea to the party. Then you have Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who look like they would rather be anywhere else but playing together on the same pitch.
Things have been going so well at Old Trafford for so many years, but it just goes to show that it doesn't take too much to disrupt anything really. Nobody saw it coming, but suddenly United are playing catch-up. Liverpool know how difficult it is to be in such a predicament having suffered it for years.
Every year, Liverpool started the season thinking: 'This is going to be our year.' But the problem was the players and coach weren't quite right. It has taken a long, long time to put matters right.
Will United stick with Moyes or sack him before next season? Well, what we are led to believe is that everybody at the club still supports him.
They seem to be quite prepared to give him a lot of of money in the summer, and allow him to spend in the next transfer window. But that could all change if they feel it is not going to happen under Moyes. I always felt that is the way it was going to go at United no matter who succeeded Fergie.
I'd say at the moment, it looks odds on that Moyes will be the manager at the start of next season. The problem Moysie has is that he wants the season to end now so he can get on with the clear-out job. But there are still nine games to play, and he runs the very real risk of more embarrassment.
For United, the loss to Liverpool was very embarrassing. That is the only way to describe it. Sometimes, when you lack a bit of quality you give everything which is probably the best way of describing Tottenham's performance against Arsenal later on Sunday. But United didn't. Never mind outplaying them, Liverpool outworked them.
Liverpool have a flexible system that works so well because they work so hard. Liverpool were first to every first ball, second ball, third ball...whatever you want to call it. All over the park, they were hungrier and had a greater desire to win the match. It was what we thought might be the case. United could not cope with the pace of Liverpool.
The intensity and tempo of Liverpool was just overwhelming. Hence the reason why United conceded so many penalties. When you can't cope, that's what you do. You foul, and you look clumsy. That is exactly what United looked.
It is not a big squad at Liverpool, but everybody is playing well. There are tough games ahead for Liverpool, but they can't do any more than they are doing at the moment. Luis Suarez has an excellent record of remaining fit, and it is going to take a lot for Daniel Sturridge not to want to be part of every game between now and the end of the season.
If you take Liverpool to play Manchester City tomorrow, you would fancy Liverpool. As Steven Gerrard intimated, why wouldn't the title be on? The intriguing game for Liverpool is Chelsea at home. What does Mourinho do to stop them? But in the remaining nine games, I could make a case for the Reds winning every single one of them.
It might not work out like that, but it looks like there is no sign of stopping them. They knocked in three at Southampton then three at Old Trafford. The defence is also looking a lot sharper. Like one that befits a team challenging for the title. There is a vast improvement at the back. The whole club has grown; everybody is enjoying their football and the product on the park is just getting better and better. There are a lot of unsung heroes. Glen Johnson was very impressive.
There are no European or FA Cup matches to disturb Liverpool. Given the choice, Liverpool would prefer to be in the Champions League. It is just the way it has worked out. But it has helped their situation in chasing the league.
I think the Liverpool board felt last season that Brendan could make the team better without having to bring in a lot of new faces. I think that has been illustrated with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson.
These players have improved under Brendan. They are playing as well as they ever have. Upon reflection, there has been good fortune in not landing guys like Willian and Yevhen Konoplyanka. The balance is absolutely right.
Gerrard won't worry about not matching my rare treble of penalties
Jan Molby specialised in scoring penalties for Liverpool. He is pictured here netting from 12 yards against Nottingham Forest in 1991.
I noticed Steven Gerrard recalling my hat-trick of penalties back in 1986. He has a good memory because he probably remembers it better than me.
It is a funny story because when I scored my hat-trick of penalties, it was the first time Steven was at Anfield as a Liverpool supporter. To be honest, I don't remember much about that game, apart from it was a League Cup game against Coventry. You always remember scoring a hat-trick because it doesn't come along that often. But it wasn't one of my most memorable matches.
It would have been nice for Steven to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford, and especially all from the spot, but he could afford to miss one at that stage because it didn't matter. If it was the first one, he wouldn't have missed it. Steven is just enjoying his role in this side like every other Liverpool player.
That is down to the manager. If Liverpool can make good on Steven's desire to win the Premier League title, he might well have to score a few more penalties before the season concludes.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Premier League