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Monday, 20 September 2010
MANCHESTER UNITED 3-2 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT
I just had to make our badge bigger than theirs as they will never be as big as us. This is my view of yesterday's game as I never got to see the game live other than the last 15 minutes and the highlights last night, so forgive me if my report is not up to scratch. I had been looking forward to this match all week long, like I'm sure all Liverpool supporters. Always one of the key dates on any Liverpool fan's calender, but after the indifferent start we have had this match had more importance than usual.
After resting so many players in midweek and still coming away with a good win, Liverpool's regular players were back for this one. Personally I thought Hodgson put out as good a team selection as he could have not many arguments from me, A little surprised Cole was out on the left with Meireles playing just behind Torres but I thought it looked good with Poulsen playing with Gerrard and Cole can play out wide where he was mostly used with Chelsea. I was pleased with the rest of the team although I prefer Kyrgiakos to Skrtel or Agger but I know I'm in the minority and I was expecting Hodgson to bring back Skrtel.
With what I saw on television and heard on the radio it seemed to me that Liverpool played second fiddle to United in the first half, with United dictating the play and Liverpool struggling to make any headway or chances. Although Man United were on the offensive for most of the half they never really created many openings. One of their best chances coming after a good move from Berbatov and Rooney which resulted in Nani having a great chance inside the Liverpool box which he snatched at pulling the shot wide.
Liverpool's only real attempt on goal in the first half came when Johnson cut inside from the right and fired a shot well wide. But just as it looked like Liverpool were going to hold out until half time, United struck, Giggs sent over a corner kick which Berbatov headed into the near post and into the Liverpool net. It can only be described as a very poor goal to lose as Liverpool defended very badly at it. Torres in particular was holding onto Berbatov but from behind instead of standing in front of him making this such an easy header for Berbatov. Konchesky was partly to blame as well as he wandered from his near post and may have been able to block on the line.
A massive disappointment for Liverpool just before half time but it could have got worse before the end after a loose header back to Reina struck Carragher on the arm and the Man United players appealed for a penalty thankfully referee Webb waved them away.
The second half was a totally different game with goals a plenty from the nervy, cagey first half. Man United were still the better team but Liverpool were trying to get forward more often as they had to chasing the game. But then it looked all over round about the hour mark when Berbatov brilliantly controlled a cross inside the Liverpool box and with his back to goal he hooked the ball over his head into the net via the underside of the Liverpool crossbar. It really was a touch of class from the in form striker.
Hodgson made an imediate change withdrawing the ineffective Maxi and bringing on N'Gog to try and give the isolated Torres. The change by Hodgson did make a difference and Liverpool showed they were not going to go down without a fight.
Suddenly a good break by Cole into the United half exposed United and he played a great pass to Torres who accelerated into the United box but as he shaped to shoot he then cleverly cut inside and was scythed down by Johnny Evans giving Howard Webb no option but to point to the spot. The inevitable result with Gerrard scoring and giving Liverpool hope. United seemed rattled and then on 70 minutes Meireles played a ball behind the United defence which Torres read but O'Shea impeded the Liverpool forward sending him to the ground just outside the box. Big question should O'Shea recieve a red or a yellow card ?
Webb produced a yellow card and O'Shea heaved a sigh of relief. I think Webb got the decision right, as much as I don't like Webb as a referee. It was unclear wether Torres would have got on the end of the pass with Van de Sar rushing from his goal.
Gerrard hit the free kick and somehow managed to find a gap in the United defensive wall which Fletcher made when he moved, the ball ending up in the United net with Van der Sar left stranded.
It really was an amazing turnaround and Meireles was a unlucky not to nod Liverpool in front as he tried to header a searching ball towards the United goal just sending it wide. But this was about Liverpool's last chance as United tried to regain the lead as they made more offensive substitutions as Liverpool countered with Agger and Jovanovic coming on for Konchesky and Meireles. But as I watched the game come to a conclusion I just felt as if United were going to score again and they did. When, with six minutes remaining O'Shea, who was lucky to still be on the park crossed the ball into the Liverpool box and that man Berbatov got up higher than Carragher and headered into the corner of Reina's net, breaking Liverpool hearts.
Liverpool had nothing left and United ran down the clock winning the game and leaving us gutted.
Quite an amazing game and scoreline but massive disappointment at the end. I think in all honesty it would have been unjust if we took anything from the game as I believe United were far superior but then it was a tremendous comeback that was unlucky not to be rewarded. Before the game however I was confident of beating United as I think we have better individuals than them, but they showed far more desire and play more as a team than us. The first goal was a terrible goal to lose, poor defending. The other two goals we lost well you just have to accept they were well taken goals. I think Webb got the decision right with the O'Shea challenge. Overall United played better than us and they did deserve the win. But I am bouyed by the character we showed to get back into the match as I feared us getting hammered. So although we lost against our fiercest rivals we have many positives to take from the game. Roll on next week and the Sunderland match and back to winning ways in the league.
Man of the match - Gerrard when all looked lost Gerrard once again pulled us back into the game with his 2 goals.