Taking down last year’s champions 3-0 on their home field is a convincing show of strength. Liverpool FC did just that this Sunday when they defeated rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.
On paper, one might not think much of the victory. Manchester United is placed seventh in the Premier League and have had an abysmal season while Liverpool sits in the fun part of the table at second place, boasting the highest score of goals. For the two teams though, this victory is of monumental importance and signals a shift in dominance that otherwise has been the same for the last two decades.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s retired manager, count it as his biggest achievement to have knocked Liverpool off their perch as England’s most successful team. Since being named manager in 1986, he managed to rebuild the club and in the 1992-93 season he took home the club’s first championship since the mid-sixties. With Ferguson behind the wheels, Manchester United subsequently claimed the title in 94 as well and in his 26 years as manager, he won 38 trophies. This effectively put the Devils and the Reds side-by-side as the most successful clubs in England.
Rafa Benitez came ever closer to reversing United’s dominance in the 2008-09 season where Liverpool not only clenched a 2-1 victory at Anfield but also a 4-1 win at Old Trafford. In the end, the Merseyside club saw their dreams crushed as they came second to United only four points short. Since then, skipper Steven Gerrard hasn’t been closer to winning his first ever league trophy. That is, until now.
The calendar reads 2014, and it is truly a year of change. Manchester United are the one’s getting knocked of their perch now. The top four team’s race for the title is closer than it has been in several seasons. Liverpool has completely reinvented themselves. The SAS partnership is one of the best, if not the best, striker partnerships in Europe. Steven Gerrard has found new purpose in his role as the deep-lying playmaker.
Despite momentum, Brendan Rodgers and his players still have big games ahead of them that must be won. They play Tottenham at Anfield in March. Manchester City and Chelsea are coming up in April. These clashes will take place at Anfield, something Kop faithful’s will relish in, since its impregnability resembles that of old days.
After having utterly destroyed their rivals at Old Trafford, Liverpool will not enter their next games with trembling knees no matter the opponent; having conquered history, they can conquer anyone. In a similar matter to when Ferguson first came into Manchester United, Brendan Rodgers has had some building and convincing to do. After only his second season in charge and accomplishments like the league title and Champions League ever near, things are coming full circle in the North West England. Liverpool FC is ready to be a leading team in the Premier League once again.
What better way to show the reversal in roles than the two Scousers comments after the game.
Wayne Rooney: “It’s like a nightmare. It’s one of the worst days I’ve ever had in football”
Steven Gerrard: “I think we have shown out there that we are genuine contenders and we are going to fight to the end”