Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Manchester United's style as 'quick, attacking, flowing football with the right intent' in 2019.
Those comments were made after United stunned Manchester City when winning 2-1 away at the Etihad in December 2019 thanks to two first-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Solskjaer went toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola on that cold winter night and emphatically came out on top. It was a counter-attacking masterclass with United looking electric on every break.
United supporters had a team to be proud of that Christmas, but they're heading into this winter with hope gradually slipping away.
Solskjaer's side against City had purpose on that day, however, two years on from that post-match stylistic observation and Solskjaer's side now lack a clear identity on the pitch. With an improved squad each year and more time in the job, expectations have naturally risen, the pressure has increased and the Norwegian has been forced to tinker his approach.
Although Solskjaer was considering using the 4-3-3 formation in the summer, he's continued with the 4-2-3-1 approach which has become synonymous with his managerial reign - Solskjaer seems to revere the safety that the double pivot is intended to provide.
It became abundantly clear long ago that the personnel that Solskjaer uses in position isn't good enough to win a Premier League title, though, with the limitations of Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay having already been regularly well documented.
With the exception of United's performance against Leeds, United have struggled to control games in the centre of the field this season and, after enduring multiple poor results, Solskjaer opted back for the safety of Fred and McTominay against Liverpool.
Those two players have often unfairly been made into scapegoats and the true extent of United's issues were revealed on Sunday.
With Solskjaer looking to take United to that elusive next step, to win major honours after the arrivals of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, counter-attacking was not viable and United tried to start on the front foot against Liverpool.
Solskjaer's 4-2-3-1 system allowed Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo to form an interchangeable front four as usual against Liverpool, but when those players attempted to press the ball - something they miserably failed at which is down to poor coaching - vast openings were there to be taken advantage of.
Fred and McTominay were left exposed and helpless and Liverpool duly took advantage of those gaps, but United's attacking play has also rightly come under scrutiny this season. It seems they either build up too fast or they're too pedestrian - there's no pattern.
When United attack they move to almost a 3-3-4 formation, with Shaw moving down the left channel to help create overloads.
Solskjaer told Elite Soccer Coaching two years ago how he works with United's players in training to implement his attacking style.
"This session is about developing the ability to attack at speed with immediate forward passing and forward running, combined with the ability to build controlled attacks against a set defensive structure," Solskjaer said, offering a rare insight into his methods.
"At Manchester United, the players really enjoy this practice, as it involves so many different attacking and defending elements in one dynamic, competitive and game-realistic session. The set-up allows us to develop the exciting high-speed attacks that are key to our desired playing style at United. It also gives us the opportunity to practise breaking down compact and organised defences.
"We run the practice every two to three weeks when we do not have a midweek game. Within our physical periodization, the practice will usually take place three days before match day, when we want an intensive output of high-speed running."
One could speculate that Solskjaer still uses that training drill now, but United currently look devoid of any real cohesion.
The extent of the tactical criticism that Solskjaer has received over the years has been unjustified, however, this term's displays have indicated that he may struggle to bring United forward. He's not the tactical calibre of Jurgen Klopp or Guardiola yet.
That's not Solskjaer's fault, he's still a young manager, but he might have to reluctantly continue his education away from Old Trafford.
You can read about Solskjaer's 'different speeds of attack' training session on elitesoccercoaching.net.