Manchester United 1-2 Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford to face their fiercest rivals with the hope of improving on their poor record of recent years at the home of United. The match would provide a good test to see how Liverpool are improving under Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool have only won one of their last eight visits to Old Trafford and United have been on a run of great form as they top the Premiership table with a seven point lead over their City rivals.
Rodgers decided to go for a conservative selection of his side to try and counter-act the attacking threat of United with Lucas, Allen and Gerrard playing in the middle of midfield. Reina started in goal, with Wisdom at right back and Johnson on the left, Agger and Skrtel partnered once again in the centre of defence. Downing and Sterling were the wide men in midfield, and Suarez was selected as the lone striker. New signing Sturridge had to settle for a place on the bench.
Liverpool started the game looking to frustrate United as they handed possession to the hosts. United probed and Liverpool sat deep in the early part of the match as both goal keepers looked on as spectators.
But United took the lead with the first real chance of the match, when a quick passing move resulted in Evra finding Van Persie with a low cross inside the area, the Dutch striker clinically finished off the move after find a yard of space off Daniel Agger.
The Dutchman spurned a good opportunity to add a quick-fire second moments later, scooping over from just inside the area after being picked out by Ashley Young’s pass.
United were dictating the play and Suarez was left an isolated figure as Liverpool struggled to get forward. Joe Allen played a suicide pass to Welbeck but Agger produced a tremendous block to prevent the visitors from falling further behind.
Tom Cleverley volleyed narrowly wide soon after while a goalmouth scramble inside the Reds’ six-yard box saw Martin Skrtel hack Van Persie’s flick off the line to ensure the scoreline remained at 1-0 heading into the break.
Rodgers introduced Sturridge for the second half replacing Lucas and Liverpool looked more threatening in the early stages with Wisdom spurning a chance early in the second half.
But just two minutes later, the hosts extended their lead as Evra arrived at the back post to nod in Van Persie’s free-kick, though the final touch came off Vidic.
However, Liverpool served up an instant riposte when Sturridge reacted quickest to tap into the back of the net after De Gea had been unable to hold onto Gerrard’s drilled effort.
Borini was summoned from the bench shortly after, taking the place of Sterling as the Reds chased a leveller.
Liverpool’s tails were finally up and Sturridge and Borini both went close as the home crowd grew restless, but they were unable to breach the United rearguard again as the hosts held on for the three points.
Rodgers was far too negative in his tactics as he basically played with three holding midfielders and Suarez playing with no support. United should have been 3 or 4 goals up at the half, but credit to Rodgers bringing on Sturridge at half time to liven things up and he did. Poor defending at United’s second goal although their first was a great goal. I was pleased with the response in the second half, but it was too little too late and we showed United too much respect in the first half. Big positive was Sturridge and Suarez showing a good understanding, but devastating losing to United.