Cooney and Black

Manchester United to win the league? Wayne Rooney should dream on. They’re simply not good enough at the back to harbour thoughts of overtaking Chelsea and Manchester City

Wayne Rooney

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SO, Wayne Rooney believes that Manchester United can become Barclays League champions this season.That just goes to show how carried away you can get after a satisfying result against your fiercest rivals.

United’s 3-0 win over Liverpool, a game that Gary Neville called the Red Lion against the Dog and Duck, hoisted the Reds up the table and into a position where they can become title contenders.

Dream on, Wayne. United could easily have been beaten 3-0 by Liverpool. They had goalkeeper David de Gea and Brendan Rodgers’ side’s wasteful finishing to thank for the three points and their sixth consecutive win.

United are simply not good enough at the back to confidently harbour thoughts of overtaking Chelsea and Manchester City.

A side with a more potent strike force would have gorged themselves on goals, Liverpool were poor up front, but did not play as badly as the score line reflects.

United this season have used 16 different defensive combinations, and manager Louis van Gaal has already stated he does not expect to strengthen during the January transfer window.

He will point out that Michael Carrick and Ashley Young have made great strides since they came back into the side.

But they are not the answer to a problem that has been somewhat camouflaged lately by winning results against ordinary teams. And that is what Liverpool are right now.

Steven Gerrard is going backwards, Raheem Sterling is a shadow of the player he was last season, and Mario Balotelli should only be used as a bench player because what he offers the team in terms of commitment is unsatisfactory.

And yet they could easily have beaten United, and is the reason why Liverpool will hold fire on removing Rodgers from his job. However, he is running out of time. Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson were removed in double quick time, and Rodgers will be looking over his shoulder as Dutchman Frank de Boer waits in the wings.

United’s dressing room is together, Liverpool’s is anything but. However, there is much to do at Old Trafford, and Rooney may rue his comments.

Despite what van Gaal claims about not spending on reinforcements, he knows full well he must bring in others. Liverpool did him a favour last week by missing so many chances.

By my reckoning, it may be three more years before United make a serious challenge again.

Rooney, meantime, claims they are ready now. Captain’s bravado, perhaps?

 

 
PICTURE COURTESY OF: JEFF HOLMES PIX

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