EPL: Maturing Liverpool

EPL: Maturing Liverpool
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (C) scores against Manchester United during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, northern England September 1, 2013.

What a difference a year makes.

Just under 12 months ago, Liverpool hosted Manchester United at Anfield and lost 2-1. Sunday's night, in this season's corresponding fixture, they won 1-0.

The funny thing is, I actually thought they played much better football in last season's match.

But they had a lot of kids on the pitch then and played too much with their hearts, and too little with their heads.

Jonjo Shelvey, who has been sold to Swansea, got sent off in the first half and United eventually won with an 81st-minute penalty, converted by Robin van Persie. Last night, however, we saw a more matured Liverpool team.

They were sharper than United and were better when they had possession. And once they scored that early goal through Daniel Sturridge, they never really looked like they were in trouble of conceding.

Steven Gerrard played in a deeper midfield role this season alongside Lucas Leiva, and the skipper looks like he's finally comfortable there.

And fullbacks Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique didn't bomb forward as they normally do.

This season, Liverpool tend to go into defensive mode right after they take the lead.

And although things have turned out well for them so far, I think it's something that could also potentially become a problem for them later on.

We saw the same thing when they beat Aston Villa last week.

The defenders sat back when the team got in front.

And Sturridge started drifting out wide, taking the sting out of their attack.

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