Match Report: Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool

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Manchester United suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals Liverpool in what proved to be a very depressing day for any Red.

United fans had welcomed Rafa Benitez to Old Trafford with the usual chants of ‘He’s cracking up!’, which of course was in reference to Benitez claim that referees favour Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson goes unpunished when questioning decisions. Liverpool’s recent record at Old Trafford wasn’t great – and the last time the Merseysiders scored a goal was in 2004.

United lined up 4-4-2 with Berbatov, Giggs and Scholes dropping to the bench after the 2-0 victory over Internazionale in the week – with Tevez, Anderson and Park replacing them. Liverpool lined up with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation – which proved to be very effective across the course of the game. Liverpool were forced to make a change just prior to the kickoff when Spanish fullback Arbeloa injured himself during the warm up and veteran Sami Hyypia replaced him.

United started off reasonably well with Tevez, Park and Evra linking up well on the left handside of the pitch. However, Benitez’s usual deployment of two anchormen screening the back four worked a treat to help nullify United’s wingers – Ronaldo and Park. United’s play was often quite narrow, which allowed the left fullback Aurelio to roam forward.

Having said that United got the break through on 23 minutes when Tevez played a glorious outside of the boot pass through for Park to chase. Park then touched the ball passed the on coming Reina – who brought the Korean down – penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to score his eighteen goal of the season in all competitions. United had the lead over their rivals and knew that they had only conceded goals in four games at Old Trafford – against Newcastle United, Hull City and most recently Blackburn rovers.

However, the lead lasted only five minutes when Liverpool’s young defender Skrtel blasted the ball from his own area towards the United goal. Ferdinand and Vidic had covered well with Torres lingering in front of the Serbian. As the ball dropped, for some reason, Vidic failed to head the ball and let it drop. Torres then pounced with immense speed to unsettle the defender who then proceeded to fall over giving Torres a one on one situation – which the Spaniard took full advantage of. An enormous error of judgment on behalf of Vidic who has been brilliant this season for the Champions.

The goal ruffled United, which resulted in a number of passes going astray – whilst Liverpool’s mentality changed, knowing that United were cleared affected by the error. Liverpool closed down United all over the pitch, pressing them high in their own half – whilst United adopted a deeper approach – with Wayne Rooney clearly showing his frustrations at the adopting of this mentality. Time after time it was clear to see an irate Rooney screaming at his colleagues – who were some way away from him.

Liverpool scored a second on the stroke of half time when Gerrard was brought down in the box by Patrice Evra. A clear penalty as Torres and Gerrard linked up well just outside the United box. Torres supplied an inch perfect pass for Gerrard to accelerate onto and win the penalty. Gerrard dispatched the penalty to Edwin Van Der Sar’s left side before running off kissing the badge on his shirt – maybe a reference to the chants that United fans sing about Gerrard’s failed transfer to Chelsea in the summer of 2005.

After the break United picked it up a little and bombarded Liverpool with chances, however Liverpool did defend exceptionally well and only and Anderson corner, which was dropped by Reina, and a Carlos Tevez chance were of any concern. Sami Hyypia played very well, especially considering that he was drafted in at the last hour, intercepting a number of passes and reading things very well.

United were pressing for an equalizer and Ferguson decided to bring on the old guard of Giggs and Scholes along with Berbatov who replaced Anderson, Carrick and Park. Michael Carrick, who is highly regarded at Stretford-end.com, was way below par for his standards – following a quiet game against Internazionale on Wednesday – and failed to stamp any authority or demonstrate his illustrious range of passing.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the game United were down to ten men when Nemanja Vidic brought Gerrard down having missed an interception. Alan Wiley was left with no choice but to send off the Serbian – who had an extremely miserable afternoon. The United number fifteen is favourite to wint the player of the year award – although he will not want to remember this performance as he trudged off the Old Trafford turf.

Liverpool not only benefited from the numerical advantage on the field but from the resulting freekick from which the foul occurred. Fabio Aurelio stepped up to place a superb left footed strike past the flat footed Edwin Van Der Sar. The Stretford End was stunned as Liverpool celebrated a two goal advantage with just over ten minutes left to play. United had last conceded three goals at home in the league to Hull last Autumn.

United pressed further more, although not really forcing any clear cut goal scoring opportunities. Liverpool then rubbed salt into the wounds of the United players by scoring a fourth in injury time. A long punt down the field from Reina wasn’t challenged dropped to the Liverpool substitute Dossena who then lobbed Edwin Van Der Sar to round off a quite miserable day for United. Two goals scored by direct balls not being cut out will not pleased Sir Alex Ferguson.

United were second best for most of yesterday’s contest, despite the post-match comments of Sir Alex. All four of Liverpool’s goals were products of errors made by United – however nothing can be taken away from Liverpool who deserved their victory yesterday. Fernando Torres showed why he is a top class striker – showing strength, pace and sublime movement – which will leave many Reds wondering why United didn’t purchase him when he was at Atletico Madrid. Sir Alex Ferguson will expect a reaction and considering United haven’t conceded four goal at home since the 4-1 defeat to QPR on New Years day 1992 – I expect one.

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18 Responses to “Match Report: Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool”

  1. jamiesdad says:

    As a liverpool fan i’m only on your site cos it came up on our news portal. Quite shocked at how honest your views are compared to your manager, which rather than how succesful he has made you why we just cannot stand the fella. He’s just a bad loser.

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  2. trader says:

    Yeah as usual, over the top reactions from both sides. Im a Liverpool fan and yesterday was a fantastic win which gives us a bit of pride in a season that is set to be dominated by you lot, again. The league is still bound for Old Trafford. Ill be honest and say the last thing I want to happen now is to draw United in the Champs Lge because there would be no team talk required by old red nose. Im hoping United get Barca to get rid of one of them, and Arsenal get Chelsea to get rid of one of them!!

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  3. jonnymac says:

    hmmm for a united website not the usual bias crap most have, i have read one that roughly said liverpools first was a free to vidic, the second somehow wasn’t a penalty, the third also was a free-out, never a red and that the third was a fluke. The word sore loser can be applied to a few mancs

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  4. Brush says:

    A very honest and refeshing review – well done.

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  5. Jim says:

    Ditto for Jamiesdad. I don’t think United fans should be too hard on poor old Nemanja Vidic. His errors have been magnified 100 fold simply because Torres and Gerrard seized on them like a couple of ravenous wolves………….but Vidic was far from being the only United player who came up short yesterday. United looked like a team who had forgotten what it feels like to really be pushed hard by the other team. It wouldn’t amaze me if we end up facing each other again in Rome at the end of May.

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  6. ron hadley says:

    I cant belive a manc wrote that report not the usual garbage we hear from them. all season we have had a team who can compete with anyone, problem is when we have some of them injured the squad not good enough to cover. Lets fix that and go for the prem next season this year will have to be champs league again.

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  7. Lads – appreciate the comments.

    Put it this way, it was difficult to write – what I believe is a balanced view on the game – because, like you can’t stand us, I can’t stand Liverpool. Having said that – credit where credit is due and they deserved to beat us at Old Trafford yesterday, although I would argue that we were at fault for most of the goals – but you only play who are put in front of you.

    Do you think Rooney’s comments the day before may have sparked a reaction OR do you believe regardless of his comments – the outcome would have been the same?

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  8. Pockets says:

    What are there only scousers on here today?
    Guess the mancs are in hiding, after their hiding….

    Seriously though fair play for such a balanced article, not what i expect from a manc site!

    I don’t think Rooney’s comments made any difference, he’s only articulating what all bluesh!te and mancs think, and the feeling’s more than mutual. I think we were still on a roll from midweek, and i’ve thought that your defence has papered over some shortcomings in your attack and midfield for sometime now.

    Unfortunately I still think the title is yours, but i reckon we’ll meet again in rome.

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  9. Micrological says:

    I must commend you on such balanced article at obviously quite a difficult time for you.

    Don’t think Rooney’s comments mattered a jot, everyone knew he thought that anyway. It did however make the result tremendously satisfying!!

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  10. mark says:

    excellent blog
    not like some of the other cheap united blogs i have read

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  11. ron h says:

    Rooneys rant made no difference we hear it from the blueshite every day. I think like the anfield game putting 3 in midfield left you struggling to create. That works against teams sitting back giving you the ball but we pressed you higher up the pitch. Fergie had no plan B and the 3 subs looked a bit desperate.
    Our goals were mistakes thats true but Torres and Gerrard forced them and they still needed finishing. Those 2 were fantastic and if we do get drawn in champs league will take some stopping.

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  12. Andyisunited says:

    quite alot of scousrs reading the blog ;)
    excellent review of the game. very honest.
    sorry to mention it again but i was just a wondering, what do the liverpool fans think about our pregame rendition of united road?
    inspiring non?

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  13. Howard says:

    From another delighted L’pool fan this weekend – credit mate for a balanced report. United are rightly a proud club, and fans like you and former and ex players like Sir Bobby and Giggs ensure you get the respect you deserve. Have a word with the other dickheads and that boss of yours though will ya ;o)
    Jeez i wish there was more balanced match reporting like this on these fan blogs.

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  14. The Reds says:

    I think blogs like this actually change many people’s persepctive of fans in general. Stretty is obviously a passionate fan, and for a defeat to Liverpool too this couldn’t have been a good day.

    Most blogs are so blinkered or come up with ridiculous excuses.

    Hats off to you mate – really really impressed. – There is a hope for the fan blog after all.

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  15. GJ says:

    A sane man would not bet a penny on Sir AF version of events reported in the press being the same version that he transmitted to the players at the end of the match.

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  16. jamiesdad says:

    Andyisunited the rendition of united road as a liverpool fan was the best part of the day. Funny that. We know u lot hate our song as well and it does our head in the way it’s played so loud on the tannoy before the game when ours like yours should just be left to the fans. Serious though that guy singin it we thought it was for comic relief.non.

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  17. Zareef says:

    Since your a stretford ender can you tell me If Berba has a song?

    x-cept “He took one look at city and said **** off!”

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  18. It was united defenisive mistake and poor passing of players that allow the liverpool players to demolize them. Maybe next time they will learn a lesson that even you score an early goal, there is a possibility that you may be a loser at the end by big margin, like liverpool do to the. may god bless them all.

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