The decisive and clinical manner in which Liverpool dispatched 10-man Manchester United is arguably the finest result of Brendan Rodgers' Merseyside tenure. The debate over whether the Reds can now go on to claim their first league title since 1990 is almost irrelevant when set against the turnaround the Northern Irishman has instigated at Anfield. A future title bid is coming regardless.
Many will attempt to attribute Rodgers' success to Liverpool's marked improvement in the transfer window. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho are among an impressive raft of players to join the club in the past four transfer windows.
But against the Premier League champions – a match which produced the most rounded performance under Rodgers – the Ulsterman called upon just three of those successful purchases from the start. It might displease the headline writers, not least those keen to link Fenway Sports Group's investment to any direct success, but achievement under Rodgers is linked to hard graft, rather than hard cash.
Aside from a winning mentality, the perception of the squad inherited by opposite number David Moyes is not that dissimilar to the one which welcomed Rodgers to Liverpool in the summer of 2012. United are suffering from several transfer windows of neglect and with their worst finish in the top flight for 23 years in the offing, the club seemingly requires significant surgery.
Upon signing Juan Mata in the January transfer window for a record £37.1m fee, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward promised Moyes further funds to help reinstall United as English football's premier club. Though it might be hard to hear for United' trophy-starved fans, it will take more than the Glazers' bank-rolling to set the club on the straight and narrow.
And the manner in which Rodgers has turned Liverpool from a club destined for a spell in mid-table to title challengers without the influence of several new players should give Moyes the confidence that going back to basics can be the best policy.
The revitalisation of Jordan Henderson is a case in point. Upon joining from Sunderland Henderson was a misfit in red. Unsure in his own skin, let alone of his correct position, he floundered in the shadow of Steven Gerrard. Now the combative 23-year-old is an equal and then some to the England captain and his effervescence in midfield defined Liverpool's display.
United have several individuals in the mould of Henderson. Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley – who ironically are expected to be displaced by Henderson in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the World Cup – and Robin van Persie look lost. Others are doing little to burnish the reputations they created during the salad days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
With funds sparse at Everton, not only was Moyes forced to scout religiously for players in the market but ensure he was getting the very best out of them. That much-fabled ability has deserted him with United, yet it is key to producing a turnaround in fortunes next season.
A splurge of spending in the summer transfer window might be guaranteed but as the performances of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata have shown, new signings might not trigger a sudden turnaround. The current crop are crucial to managing the transition.
United fans might not wish to admit it, but like in the 80s, Liverpool have set a blueprint which must be repeated. Moyes' task is to follow Liverpool and Rodgers' example.