There was nothing to indicate it was a League Cup Match except for seeing faces like Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez in the lineup, but the pair gave David Moyes plenty to think about in another less than impressive display for Manchester United about his future selections and about what he’s been doing so far.
There shouldn’t be that much pressure on a manager to come through in the League Cup, but when it’s Liverpool coming for a visit and with Manchester United reeling from their derby defeat, there was a sense of doom & gloom in the air in regards to the importance of this match. Moyes, still without Robin van Persie, finally made the right decisions. It didn’t give him team complete dominance over an inferior side and some might say Liverpool were the better team, but at least his side played well enough to find one goal and keep a clean sheet.
It eventually came down to one goal, in one corner kick. Chicharito escaping Jose Enrique, and doing what he does best – find the net from the 5-yard box. There isn’t a lot of versatility to the Chicharito game, but few strikers have this ability of being in the right place at the right time, continuously finding themselves open even though everyone knows how dangerous he is.
The inclusion of Shinji Kagawa on the left side meant Manchester United weren’t planning on losing the middle this time, even though Liverpool offer very little resistance when it comes to the midfield, as Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva don’t wait for too long before getting rid of the ball and feeding their strikers. Manchester United didn’t have moments of being overrun in the middle, as both Kagawa and Wayne Rooney left their original positions to help out as much as possible to Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs, who weren’t really doing anything helpful for most of the match.
This isn’t the Manchester United lineup we’ll see most of this season, but it was a serious match for their opponents, which was enough of an indication for Moyes as to which of his lesser players deserve a chance to see more minutes. While Kagawa and Hernandez certainly showed that they should be a much bigger part of the discussion while both Antonio Valencia and Ashely Young are playing horribly, Nani had another performance that makes you wonder why he’s still on the team.
The Portuguese winger wasn’t helpful when it came to counter attacks, which should be his greatest strength. His dribbling led nowhere, and there was no vision whatsoever in his match. You expect a rusty player to stick to the simple tasks and avoid complications, but Nani never raised his head to possibly realize there are better player than him all around him.
The big achievement from this tiny win is easing the pressure off the team after a rough week. David Moyes found some new wisdom about the players that deserve to play, considering how bad Manchester United looked against Liverpool when the two met in the league. It always helps to have a referee awarding you a corner kick that leads to a goal even if there shouldn’t have been one (a corner), but it mostly helps to have the right players at the right position.