Merseyside Rise of Liverpool and Everton Highlight Moyes' Failings at Man Utd

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

AP Images

Manchester United have sacked their manager David Moyes after a dreadful first season at the helm of the Premier League club.

Sitting almost as close, by points, to the next opposition—relegation-threatened Norwich City—as they are to league leaders Liverpool, United clearly had no choice but to end Moyes' tenure and did so on Tuesday, as per the official club website.

While for United it is the culmination of a poor campaign, it is the successes of others around them which truly highlight just how far United have fallen in the 10 months since Moyes was appointed boss.


What Did Ferguson See in Him?

Not enough questions have been asked of former manager Alex Ferguson, who made the decision that David Moyes should be his successor last summer.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20:  Everton manager David Moyes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on February 20, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (P
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After a decade at Everton, where the Scot showed admirable consistency, resilience and work ethic to secure a host of top six finishes, plaudits and praise were quick to fall Moyes' way from some quarters. But, aside from those essentially hollow words of "getting the best out of limited players" and allowing Everton to be "punching above their weight," what exactly did he achieve?

Nothing of note.

Moyes never won at Anfield in the league. Or the Emirates, or Stamford Bridge. Or, indeed, at Old Trafford—a statistic he barely deigned to change whilst in the hot-seat at that particular ground.

Seven home league wins in 10 months?

Moyes did not win a trophy, did not win a Champions League match and did not exactly play scintillating football at Goodison, either. Neither was his record in the transfer market with the top-end prices paid for players particularly exemplary.

Beyond character, a perceived ability to carry the weight of office at Old Trafford and perhaps a close acquaintance with the old boss, what exactly was the seal of approval on Moyes' initial appointment?


Rodgers and Martinez Turn the Screw

As Manchester United had to go on without Ferguson, Everton had to without Moyes.

In came relegated boss—but FA Cup winner—Roberto Martinez, as the blue half of Merseyside made the decision to go with style and substance to offset the loss of organisation and stability.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Roberto Martinez the Everton manager directs his players as Brendan Rodgers the Liverpool manager reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on January 28, 2014 in Liverpool,
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Spaniard has Everton immediately challenging for the top four and the Champions League, with eight wins in their last nine games propelling them briefly above even Arsenal and now just one point behind the Gunners with three matches to play.

Across the park, Manchester United's bitterest historical enemies, Liverpool, have cast an even darker shadow down the East Lancs.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 16, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex L
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Last May, the red half of Merseyside ended the campaign in seventh, exactly where United sit now. They backed their manager Brendan Rodgers, stuck with his improvements and principles...and now occupy United's position of last May: top of the Premier League.

To compound the misery for Moyes, both Martinez and Rodgers managed league doubles over Manchester United this season, without Moyes managing to score a single goal against either in a combined 7-0 turnover.


Not Only Moyes Under Spotlight

While records tumbled under Moyes at Old Trafford, Martinez put together Everton's longest league winning streak since the pre-Moyes era and Rodgers has so far racked up 11 straight wins to take Liverpool to the Premier League's summit. Make it to 14, perhaps even only 13, and a first title in 24 years will be theirs.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on as Tim Sherwood manager of Tottenham Hotspur throws the ball back in play during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on March 16,
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

That dims even further the possibility for United to take any positives out of the year, but Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and the entire Tottenham Hotspur circus of the season should also be getting plenty of critical glances and answers demanded of them.

As for what comes next, Moyes will doubtless be handed a mid-table opportunity sooner or later to begin rebuilding his battered reputation, and he dare not fail.

Meanwhile, Merseyside's rise continues apace, with both red and blue having improved immeasurably over the same time that Moyes dragged United down from top of the table, to outside any European spot at all.



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