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Monday, 7 March 2011
LIVERPOOL 3-1 MANCHESTER UNITED MATCH REPORT
After defeat last Sunday at West Ham it was back to Anfield against old foes Manchester United who were also going into the match on the back of a defeat to Chelsea. It is always one of the key dates of the year but with United sitting on top of the league Liverpool were hoping to peg them back at Anfield. Liverpool had been on a great run of form until losing to West Ham and were hoping to bounce back quick and to do it against United would give everybody a huge lift.
Kenny made a couple of changes to last weeks team with Aurelio and Maxi coming back into the team with Wilson and the injured Kelly making way. Johnson came over to the right back position with Aurelio on the left with Skrtel and Carragher in the middle. The midfield lined up with Maxi on the left and Meireles on the right with Lucas and Gerrard in the middle. Kuyt playing alongside Suarez up front. With Carroll on the bench there was expectations of him making his debut.
A tremendous noise from the supporters as the game kicked off and within two minutes Liverpool were on the offensive when a low ball from Meireles found Suarez in the box but his first touch let him down and Van der Sar collected easily. Liverpool started the match with purpose and as Maxi dragged a 20 yard effort wide of the target, then Suarez volleyed a chance into the crowd. As the half wore on United started to creep into the game and Berbatov went close with a curling volley that clipped the outside of Reina's right hand post. With United having a makeshift centre of defence with Smalling and Brown playing, Liverpool were hoping to unsettle the unfamiliar defensive partnership. A searching ball from Maxi found Meireles who headed back across goal but Kuyt just couldn't connect to give Liverpool the lead. But then on 20 minutes Liverpool were dealt a blow when Aurelio pulled up and had to be replaced by Kyrgiakos with Carragher going to right back and Johnson going to left back with Kyrgiakos partnering Skrtel in the middle of defence. Just after the substitution Meireles cleared a Brown header off the line from a United corner. Then on 32 minutes Liverpool won a free kick just outside the United penalty box, Suarez teed up Gerrard but his effort was deflected to safety. Liverpool took the lead on 35 minutes virtue of brilliant play from Suarez who picked up the ball on the left and dazzled past three United defenders leaving them in his wake before slipping a shot across the face of goal which Kuyt slid home giving Liverpool a deserved lead. Four minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead when Suarez got space down the right and sent a cross to the far post which found Nani who horribly miscued his header back across the face of goal only to find Kuyt who stooped to header past Van der Sar. Liverpool found themselves in a really strong position now and were hoping to go in at half-time with a 2-0 lead but just before the break the game ignited when Carragher caught Nani with a dangerous challenge and was lucky not to see red, a melee followed and Nani was unable to return after being stretchered off. Then moments later Maxi looked to have caught Rafael high on his thigh, with Rafael incensed he then launched into Lucas sparking another frenzy. When the dust settled Rafael was fortunate only to be shown a yellow card, Skrtel also saw yellow for his actions. It was good to hear the half time whistle and give the players time to calm down for the second half. Liverpool had the first chance of the second half when Suarez played in Meireles but his cutback was saved by Van der Sar as Gerrard looked to finish. United did dominate possession as they hoped to get back into the match. As United pushed forward Meireles cleared a header from Berbatov off the line from underneath his crossbar. Giggs hit a 25 yard free kick over the bar, but Liverpool were always looking dangerous on the break and Meireles had a shot from a tight angle palmed away by Van der Sar. But on 65 minutes Liverpool scored a third when Suarez hit a free kick low to Van der Sar's left hand post but the big Dutchman spilled the ball as he saved and Kuyt was on it like a flash knocking the ball into the net and making him the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick against United since Peter Beardsley in 1990. With Liverpool three up Kenny decided to give Carroll his long awaited debut on the 74th minute to a standing ovation. The Kop who were in dreamland serenaded Dalglish with "Happy Birthday" who celebrated his 60th birthday last Friday. Liverpool could have scored again late on with Maxi miskicking and Gerrard side footing a shot just wide. Hernandez scored a consolation for United in injury time but nothing could take the smile of the Liverpool faithful. A well deserved win for Liverpool.
What a day a superb performance after such a poor one last week. Liverpool under Kenny took the game to United for the whole game. Suarez was superb and gets better with every game, he caused all sorts of problems for the United defence. Liverpool defended well and Lucas and Gerrard won the battle in midfield. Kuyt was like a predator with his goals a real poacher. Carragher was really lucky with the tackle on Nani but so was Rafael lucky. It just made me so proud to be a Red and I just feel this team under Kenny is going places.
Man Of The Match - Kuyt - has to be for his 3 goals and his workrate.