Liverpool deserve all the credit they get for their dominant 3-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday.
They showed right from the kick-off that they appreciated what a big game it was for them, and looked a completely different side from that which was humbled 3-1 at West Ham in their previous game.
United did not play like a team on the cusp of winning a record 19th league title, which would see them surpass the record they currently hold jointly with Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish's team used that as their prime motivation, whereas Alex Ferguson's side played as though it was just another game and paid the price.
Dalglish has instilled a real work ethic in his team which was almost completely absent under Roy Hodgson and, with the recent addition of Luis Suarez, can really start moving up the table now, rather than looking over their shoulder.
It is easy to overreact following a bad result, but it is clear that the United squad needs freshening up, in midfield in particular. For all their immense talents, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs's advancing years really showed, especially with Michael Carrick playing between them. Carrick signed a new contract last week, keeping him at Old Trafford until 2014, but how many United fans look at him now and see him as part of the club's future?
Any side that is denied the use of two defenders of the calibre of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand is going to suffer, but Wes Brown looks less of a viable option every time he plays. Ferguson is also yet to convincingly fill the number one spot soon to be vacated when Edwin van der Sar retires.
Ferguson announced he would not be making any signings during the January transfer window, bemoaning the lack of value out there, but there were plenty of good deals to be made last summer. Just ask fans of Tottenham or Real Madrid how much they would value Rafael van der Vaart or Mesut Ozil at now after the two midfielders moved for £8 million and £12m respectively. At around the same time, Ferguson wrapped up the signing of Bebe for just a shade under what Van der Vaart cost Spurs a few weeks later.
It is true that they have missed Antonio Valencia for much of this season, and the Ecuadorean's pace has been sorely missed. His return to action just as Nani faces a spell out is a godsend for United, and he could be the key to fully reinvigorating Wayne Rooney, who remains for the most part as uninspiring as United have been for much of this season.
United's workmanlike approach this term was enough to see them through the first half of the season, but now teams are starting to wake up to the fact that they can get at them.
The shutting out of the media has just contributed to the sense that United are a club going through a tough time at the moment.
In my time there, I can't recall too many occasions when Ferguson told us not to speak to the media. Usually people just came up to you and, if you wanted, you answered their questions. However, things are a lot more regimented now.
It smacks of a lack of professionalism for United to not fulfil their media obligations when every other club does, regardless of their results. Even when you lose, at least go out there and admit you were beaten by the better team.
Fans have a right to know their manager's post-match opinions, especially after a defeat when they want to find out how he plans to put things right for the next game.
When you win you always want to talk, but when you lose perhaps you should talk a little bit more.