Given the high standards set by Liverpool this season and the gulf between them and Manchester United in the table, anything less than three points against their struggling rivals was going to be a disappointment.
Sunday’s one-one draw very much was that. A disappointment. However, given how the match played out, it’s a better result than might have been. It was a disappointing game and a result, but it was also a point gained.
“I think it is a point gained,” said Adam Lallana, who came off the bench late on Sunday to score the goal that salvaged that one point for the Reds. “We weren’t at our best. Form goes out of the window in this type of game.”
Form certainly does seem to go out the window when Liverpool head to Old Trafford, and yet it’s hard not to look at a performance like Sunday’s and think it has more to do with Liverpool playing down than United playing up.
It’s not the first time, either, as no matter how good this Reds side get—or how poor United are—they seem to be unduly intimidated by this one fixture, as though they’re playing the badge and its history and not the present.
Perhaps, then, Sunday’s disappointment shouldn’t be surprising. Or not overly so. And in that light, at least there’s the silver lining of a point from that disappointing performance and the fact this one fixture is now in the past.
“We probably weren’t at our best today,” Lallana added of how it played out. “Sometimes you have to look to the bench. If we’re going to win the league and we’re going to compete we’re not just going to need eleven.”