Whilst it's disappointing that any Mersey derby would be remembered for the wrong reasons, rather than good, there were many positives both sides could draw from the Saturday lunchtime.
Above all, our players' combined muscular fitness has vastly improved.
This meant we could pass the ball with fewer touches and far more urgency - making the opposition's task of getting it back from us a trickier and more exhausting one.
Admittedly, using the ball in their half needed to be better. Like Matthew wrote, I too am a big fan of Andre Gomes, and despite Coleman's loyalty and work-appetite honour and integrity, I saw more than enough of the midfielder's game last year to believe he's our long-term general for the future. This performance was a concern, to say the least.
When we did turn field position into good chances, we looked as though we belong where I hope we all want our club to be again. Rodriguez's cross-field pass to Digne and that cross to DCL was exactly what a 4-3-3 formation is designed to bring. Not the finish this time, but DCL came up with the goods big-time with a similar move late-on. A Digne cross Baines made his trademark with, and an unbelievable leap AND finish. van Dijk's absence will hurt Liverpool badly, but Matip and Robertson were awesome in defence UNTIL DCL's moment that I sure enjoyed - knowing I am now one of many whom believed the guy would never be more than a superb 2nd choice striker - and have been proved wrong, with Ancelotti's vision and the player's willingness to learn from his manager and former pro Ferguson.
As for our team's endurance, the short pre-season has clearly robbed Ancelotti of conditioning his players ability to keep up with the pace Liverpool can set. It showed five minutes into the second half, but as Matthew again mentioned, the guts to dig deep was just as evident - good coaching, though in good times, it very much is.
So regardless of the loss of the 100% record, or the salvaging of the unbeaten run, we can move on with the knowledge we gave as good as we got, and that all on Merseyside can move on heads held high. That's the way it should be, especially in times like these...
"Don't you turn too - if I ever change..."
Mark Reynolds, one half of Liverpool's second-finest band ever: Red Flag.
(The band name purely a reference to the motor racing signal that stops F1/IndyCar races, not our neighbours.)