David Moyes admitted he was unable to explain why Manchester United were so poor as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Liverpool scored two penalties, through Steven Gerrard, and missed another before Luis Suarez sealed the win with Nemanja Vidic given his marching orders for the fourth time against the Anfield club. It was the latest humiliation for Moyes and United, who stay well off the pace for Europe and 18 points away from Chelsea in top spot.
The United manager conceded Brendan Rodgers’ team were the better side as they recorded their first victory at Old Trafford since 2009. And Moyes, who conceded the United job is proving harder than he ever expected it to be, struggled to find reasons why his side underperformed so much.
He said: “It’s difficult to explain it. I felt as if the players were in good shape and good fettle going into it, but we didn’t get to the standards required to beat Liverpool. I’ve said all week I’ve seen confident players who are well motivated and hard-working and conscientious. I’d not seen that [coming].”
Asked to put his finger on the reasons, he said: “I just think that Liverpool played well and we didn’t play as well as we can.”
Referee Mark Clattenburg was at the centre of things, awarding Liverpool three penalties, but Moyes did not vent his fury at the official.
Moyes told Sky Sports: "It's hard to assess the game which was littered with penalty kicks and decisions, some were right and some were wrong. It was a tough day for us. At half-time, we were 1-0 down to a penalty kick, but I didn't think there was a lot in it. But to give away one 20 seconds into the second half made it a real uphill climb after that."
When asked if Liverpool were the better side, Moyes replied: "Yeah. They played better than us. Some decisions went for them which were important at the right time with the penalty kicks they got. They earned them at times, and some occasions they didn't earn them at all.
"It's better if I don't talk about them, that's up to the authorities and you hope they make the right decisions."
United have been beaten 12 times under Moyes this season and he said: ““The job was always going to be hard. Harder [than expected]? Yes I would say so, yes.”
United are now 14 points behind Liverpool but Moyes insisted they can still finish in the top four, stating: “It will be very difficult but it’s not over yet so we have to keep working as hard as we can towards trying to do it. I’ve been saying for a while we’ve given ourselves a long task and a long road to try to get back in it.”