David de Gea’s world-class performance against Liverpool during the highly-anticipated Europa League showdown earlier this week was simply a thing of beauty.
In this instance that beauty wasn’t in the eye of the beholder, rather nailed down as fact. The Spaniard once again came to United’s rescue and can be credited with keeping them in a tie that they otherwise probably deserved to be out of by now.
De Gea the superstar
De Gea was virtually faultless on the night, making several top-drawer stops to deny Liverpool what would have been a famous rout at Anfield.
The two he did let past - a Daniel Sturridge penalty that he almost saved and a Roberto Firmino strike from point blank range - had very little to do with his ability between the sticks.
There’s naturally been plenty of praise pushed in his direction, with Liverpool midfielder Emre Can having become the latest star to commend the 25-year-old on his showing.
“We need to play like we did in that first half," Can said, as per the Liverpool Echo.
"De Gea is a very good goalkeeper and he made some great saves.”
That even Liverpool players are throwing their weight behind De Gea’s performance gives an indication as to just how impressive it was.
The saving grace
Indeed, one quick search on Twitter will reveal a plethora of jokes about the stopper propping up his teammates. On that showing, they’re hard to wave off as being unfair.
Once again, as we creep towards the summer transfer window, the question will be posed; will De Gea seek a club more suited to his ambitions when he gets the chance? Real Madrid are known admirers, and even the fact that Keylor Navas has been a standout asset for this campaign is unlikely to deter Florentino Perez.
De Gea's future
De Gea’s future remains at Old Trafford for now, somewhat protected by the fact he penned a new long-term deal only last year, thankfully. That deal could become insignificant fairly quickly if a union with Real is wanted by both player and club, however.
There may be more riding on United overturning the 2-0 deficit they face against Liverpool in Europe than initially meets the eye, in this instance.