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3 things we learned from Liverpool's embarrassing 3-0 loss to Manchester United

This was much more about the things Liverpool did wrong than the things Manchester United did right. Liverpool did a lot of things wrong.

Liverpool's disastrous season keeps getting worse. Five days after getting knocked out of Champions League, they've been beaten 3-0 by Manchester United, and they only have themselves to blame. They had more chances and generally played the better football, but were undone by individaul errors and nonsensical management.

The game turned on its head 12 minutes in, when a missed Liverpool chance led to the opening goal at the other end. Adam Lallana found Raheem Sterling with a brilliant through ball, but Sterling shot the ball right into David De Gea, who made the first of his half-dozen very good saves. United broke quickly, working the ball down the right flank to Antonio Valencia, and he came up with a brilliant assist. The Ecuadorian wingback nutmegged Joe Allen, ran into an acre of space and cut back for Wayne Rooney, who placed a perfect shot from 15 yards. Brad Jones, strangely in for Simon Mignolet, dove the wrong way.

Sterling should have scored again in the 24th minute, but -- in what would become a theme in this match -- shot within De Gea's reach. Glen Johnson picked up an injury during that move and had to come off, so Kolo Toure entered the match for Liverpool.

United went into the break with a two-goal lead, though they certainly shouldn't have. A cross by Ashley Young was flicked towards the back post for a well offside Juan Mata, who headed into an empty net. Strangely, the linesman's flag stayed down and the goal stood. Van Persie's touch didn't redirect the ball significantly, and it's possible the linesman thought the ball had fallen directly into Mata's path from the cross.

Despite his solid performance, Lallana was removed at halftime, with Mario Balotelli replacing him. Balotelli looked dangerous at times, but his presence didn't lead to any more goals, even if it should have. Sterling missed his third big chance of the day in the 51st minute, shooting right at De Gea again, and the United keeper was made to do a bit more work in the 67th minute. Sterling cut back for Balotelli, who looked sure to score, but De Gea tipped his shot onto the crossbar.

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Van Persie scored United's third goal in the 72nd minute, at the end of a great break and a comedy of errors from the Liverpool defense. Mata played a brilliant ball to Rooney, who hit a weak square ball into the area. It should have been cleared easily, but Dejan Lovren simply kicked the ball right to Mata. He found van Persie, who was able to pass the ball into an empty net after Jones ran in the opposite direction of where Mata sent his pass, for no discernible reason.

Liverpool were well on top for the rest of the match, but it didn't lead to any goals. Balotelli had the bulk of Liverpool's shots, but was denied by De Gea repeatedly, and the United goalkeeper was very clearly the man of the match.

Manchester United: De Gea, Evans, Carrick, Jones (McNair 89'), Young, Fellaini, Mata, Valencia, Rooney (Falcao 78'), van Persie, Wilson (Herrera 71')

Goals: Rooney (12'), Mata (40'), van Persie (72')

Liverpool: Jones, Moreno (Markovic 68'), Lovren, Skrtel, Johnson (Toure 26'), Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Lallana (Balotelli 46'), Sterling

Goals: None.

3 things

1. Brendan Rodgers' decisions are strange - Lucas Leiva is one of few Liverpool players in solid form, but he was dropped for a game away to a good opponent. Jordan Henderson is Liverpool's other very good midfielder, but he's being played anywhere but midfield. Adam Lallana had a great first half, then was subbed. Raheem Sterling was great as a center forward in the first half, then was moved into a different position. Simon Mignolet is in poor form, but Brad Jones is not Premier League standard. Nothing Rodgers did in this game made a lick of sense. If he gets fired, he can hardly argue that he doesn't deserve it.

2. Steven Gerrard is still not a DM - While TV broadcasts made a point of highlighting Coutinho not tracking Rooney on United's first goal, Rooney isn't really his responsibility. They're both attacking midfielders, meant to sit pretty high up the pitch. The space Rooney ran into to score his goal is supposed to be restricted by Gerrard, who was ball-watching and offering absolutely nothing defensively on that move. This is a regular thing for Gerrard, but Rodgers has done nothing to address the problem.

3. United's makeshift wingbacks are getting it - While United were totally ordinary and this game was more about Liverpool's mistakes (and De Gea's brilliance) than anything the Red Devils' outfield players did well, there was one huge positive: the attacking play of United's wingbacks. It's not totally surprising that a pair of converted wingers can contribute offensively from these positions, but Valencia and Young were especially good going forward in this game. They made great decisions and their crossing was superb.