Perhaps it’s just another false dawn in Manchester United’s recent history. Perhaps everything just went United’s way on the day.
But that wasn’t how it felt against Tottenham. It felt as if Manchester United had turned a corner in terms of performance level.
They were hungry and played the game at a much higher tempo – those elements have already been well highlighted by the media.
But the crucial addtion to Manchester United’s recent performances was PRECISION. All season we have watched as United have been almost comically careless in possession. They seem, at times, to have completely forgotten how to pass the ball.
But the unforced errors were dramatically reduced in this match. More often than not, the passes found their man.
And therein lies another problem for Louis. His biggest signing to date, Angel Di Maria, tends to give the ball away a lot. Even when he’s on top form he takes a lot of risks – that’s his game – and this will always mean that possession is ceded more often than with other players.
Juan Mata, while less dynamic, is the antithesis of this. Even when he plays badly he tends to keep possession. He is too easily knocked off the ball but he will rarely misplace a pass.
So the big question ahead of Liverpool is will Louis tinker with this new found winning formula or will he stick with the side that gave the best performance of Manchester United’s season?
The style of the opposition will of course be a big part of Louis’s reckoning. Liverpool have rediscovered their own tempo of late and now get the ball from back to front quickly again. They are a fast and athletic side.
Manchester United will also expect to have less possession away from home and work more on the counter. On top form, Di Maria is perfect for counter attacking play and may get the nod for this reason. But Mata does deserve another start.
Apart from that we expect LvG to go with the same side. They didn’t just get a positive result on Sunday but, to a man, the players performed to their capabilities.
Smalling and Jones played their first league game of the season together in the middle and settled superbly. Blind was solid as a rock at left back. Valencia had a better game on the right.
Carrick was a giant and Herrera makes things happen alongside him. The much maligned Fellaini was monstrous and Rooney back to his very best.