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Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United Match Report
The games are coming thick and fast right now for Liverpool Football Club and in what has been a pivotal week in shaping Liverpool’s season. With a trip to Wembley in the Carling Cup Final to look forward to after seeing off Manchester City on Wednesday, Liverpool now faced bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Liverpool lost to United at Old Trafford in last season’s FA Cup in Dalglish’s first match in charge on his return to Liverpool as manager. This would also be the first time the sides have met since the Evra, Suarez case which would add to the interest of this fixture.
Dalglish made 4 changes from the side that played against Manchester City on Wednesday night, with Carragher coming back into the side in a holding midfield role on his 34th birthday, also coming into the team were Martin Kelly, Andy Carroll and Maxi in place of Adam, Johnson, Kuyt and Craig Bellamy. It had a more defensive look to the team than what lined up against Manchester City, but with good attacking options on the bench.
As per usual there was a red hot atmosphere inside Anfield for this fixture as the game kicked off. The game started with both teams sparring for possession. Maxi tested De Gea early with a stinging shot that the United stopper dealt with.
United responded, with Giggs volleying straight at Reina from the edge of the box. As the game settled down, it was United who were having the lion’s share of possession with Scholes instrumental in midfield as he dictated the play as Liverpool sat deep looking to hit the visitors on the break. But in the 21st minute Liverpool took the lead when Agger headed in a Gerrard corner with De Gae caught out of position. Bouyed by taking the lead, Gerrard then shot over the bar after a trademark surging run by the Liverpool skipper.
But United drew level after Rafael surged past Enrique before cutting the ball back to Park who fired low past Reina silencing the Kop. Both teams went in level at half-time with everything to play for in the second half.
The second half started in similar style to the opening of the first half in cagey fashion. Liverpool had a shout for a penalty when Smalling fell on the ball, but referee Halsey waved away the appeals. Then Martin Skrtel saved Liverpool after Wellbeck got the ball past Reina on the edge of the box, before Skrtel managed to intervene.
Dalglish made a double substitution with Kuyt and Adam coming on to replace Maxi and Carragher as Liverpool looked to win the game in the latter stages. Gerrard forced a save from De Gea with a curling free-kick before leaving the field to be replaced by Craig Bellamy.
Liverpool pressed for a winner in the last 10 minutes and they got their reward with two minutes remaining when Kuyt fired past De Gea after Andy Carroll had flicked on a long clearance by Reina, sending the Kop wild with delight. Liverpool could have scored a third when Carroll headed against the upright before Kuyt fired the rebound wide. Liverpool held on to win, ending a perfect week for Dalglish’s team and plenty to look forward to in the remainder of the season.
I was amazed by Kenny’s team selection and thought he got it wrong but maybe that is why I am writing this and he is the manager of Liverpool. The team looked very defensive and I was worried that Carroll would be left isolated. United had most of the possession without threatening as Liverpool looked to hit on the break with Carragher protecting the defence. Liverpool scoring the first goal was very important and was not affected by losing the equaliser before half-time. Dalglish’s plan worked perfectly as he made attacking substitutions in the second half and pressed United back. A great time to score a winner by Kuyt with only minutes remaining. Liverpool’s defence was brilliant once again, limiting United to very few chances and Andy Carroll led the front line effectively as he worked superbly for the team. A great week for Liverpool, progressing in two cup competitions.
Man Of The Match – Skrtel – another superb performance by the big man. He really is improving all the time and has become one of our most consistent performers this season.