Man United missed Rooney against Liverpool
Our analyst tells SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ that Man United missed Rooney against Liverpool
MAN UNITED 3
(Daley Blind 49, Ander Herrera 70-pen, Anthony Martial 86)
(Christian Benteke 84)
Manchester United beat Liverpool without the injured Wayne Rooney. Do you think they play better without him?
HOUGHTON: Absolutely not. They missed him.
Rooney gets a lot of stick for one reason or another but, in truth, he's just 16 goals off Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time United goalscoring record.
And he has also recently broken England's all-time record, so he can't be that bad, can he?
But he needs help from his teammates, and he'll start looking much better when the whole team really gel.
I like Bastian Schweinsteiger, he's an intelligent player, and he's getting fitter with every game.
It seems like Ander Herrera has also played himself into Louis van Gaal's first-team plans.
Van Gaal also has Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay to fit into his system and, once everybody is on the same page, we might see the best of Rooney.
What do you think of van Gaal's surprise move of playing Marouane Fellaini as the main striker?
Fellaini is certainly not a natural striker.
There were a number of times he looked lost inside the Liverpool penalty box, but I don't blame him.
I played up front for Liverpool once when we were short of players and, as a midfielder, it can get disorientating - because you don't know where to run!
But Fellaini bossed the Liverpool defenders. Van Gaal wanted a physical presence, and he got it.
Van Gaal said he hopes the win will be the turning point in their season. Should United fans be happy?
Not yet. They should not read too much into the result, because United were not convincing.
They needed to bounce back from the Swansea defeat, and they did that. But they're a long way from where they want to be.
What more does van Gaal need to do?
His main focus will be to get his new-look squad to gel, but also to keep on winning.
The style of play will develop as the season goes on, and they're definitely a work in progress.
What did you think of Martial, who scored on his debut?
Credit to him, it was a good finish.
But he walked through the entire Liverpool defence en route to goal and, if I were Martin Skrtel in particular, I would not want to see a replay of the goal.
Martial made the big Slovak look like an amateur.
Liverpool's defence has shipped in six goals in two Premier League matches. What's wrong there?
I was at Anfield for the previous game - the 3-0 defeat by West Ham - and it was the same story against United.
The defending was dreadful and it's a problem.
They also look short on confidence.
If I were Brendan Rodgers, I would advocate using three centre halves.
Bring Mamadou Sakho back into the side or shift Joe Gomez from the left into the centre.
Rodgers has to do something drastic. Gary Neville called them "average", and he's spot on.
Is Rodgers in danger of getting the sack?
The Liverpool fans will be asking the question - is he the right man for the club?
There are a number of managers available - Juergen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and Michael Laudrup among them - and the fans will think that they can do a better job than Rodgers.
It was always going to be difficult for Liverpool at the start of this season.
But, back-to-back defeats - at home against an unfancied West Ham team and away to bitter rivals United - are bitter pills to swallow.
The next four games will be pivotal for the Reds.
They travel to Bordeaux in the Europa League, followed by three home games - league matches against Norwich and Aston Villa sandwiched by a League Cup tie against League Two outfit Carlisle.
There'll be huge pressure on Rodgers and, if he doesn't deliver, I'm not sure if the owners will continue to back him.
The next four games will be pivotal for the Reds. There'll be huge pressure on (Brendan) Rodgers and, if he doesn't deliver, I'm not sure if the owners will continue to back him.
— Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton