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* Liverpool's first-half game plan seemed to be to sit back, allow Manchester United to knock the ball around in their own territory and then press hard when they start attacking. One can see why they adopted this approach, because United's attack (read; Robin van Persie) is so deadly that if you leave yourself open, you could end up buried before you've realised what's going on. The problem was that firstly they didn't carry it out nearly well enough, but secondly that it was surely the wrong way to go about things against United.
Those that have troubled the league leaders this season (Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle) have attacked their brittle defence from early in the game - something Liverpool did after the break, but not before. If they'd played in the opening 45 minutes as they did in the second, it might have been a totally different game. In fact, United are probably the worst team to take this approach against, since Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley appreciate time on the ball more than most, so were given plenty of space in which to pass their way through Liverpool.
* Indeed United's first goal came as a consequence of Liverpool not pressing where they should. It was a fine passing move, culminating in terrific balls from Tom Cleverley and Patrice Evra and a fine finish by Robin van Persie (that swept shot across the keeper - nobody does it better), but Liverpool were far too lax, allowing United too much room to pick apart the defence. Andre Wisdom was particularly culpable, allowing Evra to pick out Van Persie with a terrific low drilled cross.
* Liverpool's first 'shot', if you want to call it that, didn't come until the 36th minute, when Luis Suarez hoofed a volley miles over the bar. Manchester United had conceded 28 goals in their previous 21 games. Liverpool had the Premier League's second-top scorer in their ranks. You can see where I'm going with this.
* It was remarkable how dramatically the roles were reversed in the closing 20 minutes or so of the game. While United won, it should be slightly troubling to them exactly how desperately they were holding on, for in reality they should have wrapped the game up by half-time, such was their dominance. A combination of Liverpool's switch to a more attacking mind-set and their own defensive nerves combined to create something of a siege as the game ended, partly down to Sir Alex Ferguson's selection and substitutions.
While Ashley Young may have been forced off by injury, Antonio Valencia's form has been so poor this season that he was probably not the right man to introduce when United needed to keep the ball - even bringing on Phil Jones or Chris Smalling then pushing Rafael further forward may have been a better plan, or perhaps bringing Ryan Giggs on and switching Shinji Kagawa to the right. Having not brought Jones on then introducing him for Kagawa and reverting to a 4-5-1 formation was far too defensive, and at least contributed to, if not caused, the late siege. Still, they did hold on in the end. Just.
* You have to think that United's defensive wobbles will cost them dearly at some stage this season, for against a more coherent attack they may have been punished. One moment in the second half summed things up nicely, when Suarez lost control of the ball in one of his runs, it bobbled into Vidic's path but the big Serbian scuffled around and failed to clear when he had plenty of time. The ball was eventually smuggled clear, but it was far from convincing - one suspects that Jonny Evans would have started with one of the two had he been available.
* Speaking of concerns, should Liverpool fans be worried about how often Brendan Rodgers seems to get the starting line-up/tactics wrong, only to rectify it during the game? It's happened several times this season (matches against Everton, Wigan and Udinese spring to mind), so which is it - should he be praised for spotting mistakes and changing them, or criticised for making the errors in the first place?
* Another quick word on Valencia - what the hell has happened to him this season? Something seems to have gone in his head - he gave the ball away six times after coming on at half-time, and frequently seemed not to be in total control of his limbs. In fact, on occasion it seemed as if his brain was concentrating on what his left leg was doing, so didn't have the capacity to control his right when the time came. It told you something when Ashley Young was selected ahead of Valencia on the right, and there was barely a peep from the sections of the United support that aren't too fond of Mr Young.
* Perhaps the key performance of the day was from Luis Suarez. Matthew Stanger asked before the game whether United would put any special plans in place for the Uruguayan, but as it turned out they actually didn't need to, so subdued was the forward. So often this season Liverpool have relied on him for inspiration, creating chances for himself and others from nothing, but there was little of that at Old Trafford. Part of this was undoubtedly due to his isolation in the early stages, and he was more involved after the break, but this was not one of his better games.
* Daniel Sturridge's effort from three yards off the by-line in the closing stages showed the potential problem with him and Suarez in the same team - they now have two players who'll try shots from utterly ludicrous angles. Of course, the flip side is they do now have two players who will actually shoot, but there could be some frustrating and exasperating moments ahead at Anfield. In addition, there were moments when both that pair and Fabio Borini looked to occupy the same spaces - this will be a problem that can be ironed out over time, but Liverpool fans may have to be patient with their forwards.
* It was also interesting to see Rodgers revert to something approaching a 4-4-2 when Sturridge was initially introduced, suggesting he does have a degree of flexibility when it comes to tactics. It's certainly the most straightforward way to accommodate both men, but does mean Liverpool will lose a degree of control from the midfield, and means Raheem Sterling will have to operate as a wide midfielder, rather than a winger/wide forward. These are the problems Rodgers has with this squad, but if one was to put a positive slant on things, it does mean they now have plenty of options.
* Rafael will be a remarkable full-back one day. And that day might be quite soon - there are obviously weaknesses and rough edges to his game, as was shown by his criminal slowness in reacting to the rebound for Liverpool's goal, but for much of the rest of the game he was tenacious going forward and in defence, but perhaps crucially seems to have added an element of control to his game that was lacking before.
* On the goal, David de Gea received some criticism for not pushing the ball away from goal, but it seemed that he only very slightly mistimed his dive - in fact, he went a little bit too far to his right and the ball hit the heel of his hand, thus directing it straight into Sturridge's path, rather than out for a corner. On balance, I'd say that was unlucky, rather than poor goalkeeping.
* Danny Welbeck's a funny player. As someone commented in the F365 office, he's a man praised quite rightly for his runs and work off the ball, but when he actually gets the thing he's far too wasteful. The moment in the second half when, through graft and determination he fashioned a chance to create something down the left, but when he got into a position to cross, his co-ordination failed him and he fell over.
* There's an old line about the difference between English and Spanish players. I can't remember who said it first, so if it was you - congratulations, you're quite the sage. The theory is that while English players run away from a colleague who has the ball and into space, a Spaniard will run towards him because he trusts his technique to get out of any tight spots. In Kagawa and Cleverley, United have two players who move towards the ball, and the pair of them barely gave the ball away for the whole game. This could be rather important for United.
* How has Patrice Evra suddenly become a huge threat from set-pieces? While Nemanja Vidic will be awarded the goal after it flicked in off his eyebrows, Evra's initial header may have gone in anyway. The French left-back has scored four so far this season - that's double his previous league tally in his entire United career. Perhaps more importantly, his defensive play has improved since last season, when for long spells he looked like something of a liability.
* One enormous relief for all of us is that there will be little or no tedious 'debate' about the performance of Howard Webb. The referee had a very solid game, with not much at all to get worked up about. In fact, there were no 'controversial incidents' at all to talk about. Football, eh?
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter