Following a fantastic 3-0 victory by Liverpool over Manchester United, the debate amongst Kopites has begun over whether this victory was better than the famous 4-1 win in 2008/09.
Whilst there is no way to settle it conclusively, I thought I’d take a quick look at the match stats and make a judgment that way.
Compared to 2009, Brendan Rodgers’ team had more possession, and were also more accurate in their passing (both in the United half, and in total).
Not only that, but the current Reds vintage had more shots (on target and in total) and created more chances than Rafa Benitez’ side too. This is particularly noteworthy, as Liverpool lead the latest match for ten minutes more than they did in the 2009 encounter, so you would perhaps expect them to have fewer shots this time around as the Red Devils spent longer trying to get back into the game (and losing teams tend to shoot more than winning ones).
It’s interesting to note that the 2014 Manchester United actually passed with greater accuracy than their 2009 counterparts, though it did them little good as they created fewer chances and had fewer shots. This is probably due to the central issue that undermines this comparison though: the varying merits and qualities of the four sides we’re looking at.
Even if we ignore the four managers involved, United went into the game in 2009 in first place in the league, with sixty-five points from twenty-seven games, as opposed to seventh with forty-eight points from their twenty-eight matches. There’s an obvious gulf in quality right there.
Liverpool’s position was essentially the same for both matches though: third in the league having played twenty-eight matches in both scenarios, with Rodgers having earned a single point more than Benitez had.
Clearly Liverpool were more likely to win this match than they were in March 2009, but then the stats suggest they performed better too. It is impossible to conclusively say which was better, but the numbers suggest that 4-1 flattered Liverpool in 2009 whereas the score this time around was merited. Which do you think was better?