Man United’s new-look defence will recover from shaky Ajax display
Sharethematch.com looks at Manchester United's new-look back four and Liverpool's chances of securing fourth spot
Manchester United’s defence will mature
In his post-match comments Sir Alex Ferguson put Manchester United’s underwhelming defeat by Ajax at Old Trafford last night down to “inexperience”.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that he was talking about the back four of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Brazilian brothers Rafael and Fabio.
Now, certainly the goals conceded were avoidable, lapses at set-pieces are bound to incite the ire of a manager, but there is much light at the end of the tunnel.
That defensive quartet already have over 40 games of European experience between them, imagine how that number will rise over the next decade.
Experience is not going to be an issue for much longer for those four and in actual fact you could make a strong case for saying that with Nemanja Vidic out injured, it’s not far off their strongest back line right now.
Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans might have something to say about that but the former’s injury proneness makes him too unreliable for the rigours of domestic and European football and Evans is unbelievably lucky to wear the number six shirt.
So while Thursday night ended a fine unbeaten record at home in Europe, the Red Devils are still through to the next round and look to have a youthful back four, who bar the odd lapse, looked pretty solid for the most part.
Now if only we could say the same about the midfield.
Liverpool still contenders for fourth spot
All the talk seems to be about Chelsea and Arsenal battling it out for fourth, but Liverpool have a good chance pipping both of them to it and securing Champions League football for next season.
Kenny Dalglish’s side have been inconsistently consistent all season but had it not been for some poor home form they would be in the hunt for third, let alone fourth.
They will lift the Carling Cup on Sunday and are still in the FA Cup so confidence must be sky high at Anfield right now.
They also have Luis Suarez back playing, and, whisper it quietly, Andy Carroll starting to show why they shelled out £35m to bring him to the club.
Big tests lie ahead at home to Arsenal and away at Newcastle but win those and it is easy to see Liverpool ending the season on a high – what odds on a cup double and fourth place for Dalglish’s men?