Romelu Lukaku had a hunch during the World Cup that one of his Manchester United colleagues was in for a brilliant personal campaign.
While the Belgian was in Russia for the tournament he kept getting messages from Luke Shaw in the United States. The content of those messages convinced Lukaku that the defender was ready to storm back to form.
Shaw was voted United’s Man of the Match against Liverpool but Romelu believes the Reds’ left-back is worthy of an even higher personal honour.
“Luke Shaw has been the best player of the season for me,” Lukaku told reporters after Sunday’s match.
“He has been brilliant since the start. Throughout the summer we kept in touch and I remember when he was in New York he was sending me videos of him running on the treadmill.
“I was in Russia for the World Cup and I got these videos and I saw someone who was going to come back and be good.
“He scored in the first game of the season against Leicester City and he has never looked back.
“He has always had the potential of being one of the best left-backs in the world, from the time when I used to play against him when he was at Southampton to now.
“He has had his injuries but he’s playing regularly now and I am really happy for him. I hope he is going to keep on delivering.
“You cannot look at Luke as a prospect now, at his age he is a top player and is consistent. What more do you want from him?”
However, Shaw himself reckons there is more to come, even though he completely outmanoeuvred and nullified the Premier League’s joint top scorer Mo Salah, who has 17 goals to his name this season for Liverpool. The Egyptian was so outplayed and kept quiet that Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp eventually substituted him in the 79th minute of Sunday’s 0-0 Old Trafford draw.
So does Luke feel it was one of his best performances for United?
“Defensively definitely, yeah, but these are the games that you want to try and step up in, you want to try and prove why you’re here,” said Luke.
“You’ve just got to enjoy it and you’ve got to take it as it comes.
You want to play against the best, you want to test yourself against the best and I want to keep doing that in my career.
“I’m still quite young. There’s always room to improve and that’s what I want to do, keep improving and see what happens.
“I think I’ve still got another level to come. I don’t think I am really at my best and I know what I can do when I’m at my best.
”Of course I am happy with how it went against Liverpool but there’s still more to come from me especially and that’s me being honest.
”I feel I can do more but the only thing I need to focus on is myself, keeping myself in the right condition and keep pushing myself every day and trying to become what I want to be.
“There are a few things in my mind that I know I can do, but I need to do more of it. But that’s something for me and I need to do that myself.
“Like I said, I just want to keep working hard and the most important thing in football is to keep enjoying it. At the moment, everyone at this club is doing that and it’s great to be around the place.”