It is always painful losing but when we lose to Manchester United it always hurts more.
Manchester United had a good start to the game and created many chances in the first half, on the other hand we didn’t have a single shot on target in the entire half. It looked like we were going into the dressing room goalless however a Ryan Giggs corner found Dimitar Berbatov who gave United the lead in the 42nd minute. Just a minute after the goal United had a shout for a penalty when a pass back from Maxi Rodriquez hit Jamie Carragher’s arm. From the replay it did look like it was outside the box and Carra was moving his arm away so credit to Howard Webb for a good call.
The second half started like the first half ended and in the 56th minute the woodwork denied Nani from making it 2-0. The reprieve didn’t last long however because three minutes later Berbatov made it 2-0 with what I must admit was a stunning goal.
In the 61st minute Roy Hodgson subbed Maxi Rodriguez for David Ngog and it was the move that changed the game. Shortly after Ngog came on Jonny Evans brought Fernando Torres down in box and Steven Gerrard converted the penalty given. Evans was lucky to get off with only a yellow card on what should have been a straight red. The goal gave us energy and in the 69th minute John O’Shea brought Torres down just outside the penalty box. Steven Gerrard scored from the free kick given and tied up the game 2-2. Again we felt cheated that O’Shea only got a yellow and not a red as Torres was through on goal.
It all looked like we were going to get something from the game however Dimitar Berbatov completed his hat-trick in the 84th minute and the game ended 3-2.
The loss now leaves us with 5 points out of 5 games, we are currently in 16th place.
THE GOOD: Good comeback having been 2-0 down and what looked like a disastrous showing turned into a respectable performance.
THE BAD: Our very poor display in the first half.
THE UGLY: We are now only 1 point from the relegation zone.
My fellow REDS,
Let’s still hold our head up high !! .. and WALK ON !!
Boo, webmaster LSCM
Now before we start to moan & groan at another “capitulation” at our arch rival’s den… let’s honestly ask ourselves whether we had the Mancs by their throats at one stage ?
If ever.. this was a game marred more by the wet weather.. making any passing or tackling.. sliding on a thin line between success and a disaster. So lets give credit where it is due.. it was a brilliant hat-trick by Berbatov to grab back the win.. reminiscence of the 4 goals Viduka scored for Leeds in a thriller 3-4 loss many years back.
What may have pained us was how toothless we were despite the fresh legs of Jovanovic and Ngog for the closing minutes. There was even a tinge of despair in Gerrard’s freekick conceded at 93rd min.. killing off whatever chance we had of an equaliser in the final 60 seconds. It was like we just collapsed at Berbatov’s winning goal even though there was a good 7 minutes plus added time remaining.
Mentality is what Roy must work on in the coming months.. we have run out of excuses and with the second half of Roy’s 10-game-evaluate-us call looming next week we can ill-afford any more bad loss of points.
It was a wet noon time kickoff.. not conducive for a passing game but ideal for hard-running and chasing which Man Utd were good at with their pair of wingers Nani and Giggs with eager wingbacks O’Shea and Evra for support.
Thus it was no surprise that Roy employed a 2-man holding midfield but what surprised many was his choice.. Poulsen and Gerrard with Meireles handed the free role behind Torres. In the end, poor Nando was left pretty much in isolation as there was not much proper support forthcoming. The home side were allowed to pour forward though chances were few and far. Nani had an early miss after some good work at the flank. We had a zipping shot by Johnson to show but no more. Maxi with him had to contend more with the duo of Giggs and Evra. Konchesky on the other side had a couple of fruitless runs and Cole was pretty much subdued at the flank.
On the other hand, Skrtel and Carra were having their hands full containing Berbatov and Rooney. As the first half looked like heading for a stalemate, Berbatov fashioned an easy goal despite the attention of Torres at a corner kick. A bad goal to give away but we still had the personnel to launch a fight-back.
Thus out at the break, we were pushing harder towards the Man Utd goal, where thus far Van der Saar was enjoying a holiday really !! But Man Utd were always threatening at the break and Nani was to be denied again, this time by the post after another lack of marking on the left side of our defence. Then Berbatov scored a brilliant goal out of nothing.. an overhead kick with his back towards goal.. giving Reina no chance.
But was was to follow would warm our hearts !! Despite being down 0-2, we poured forward and immediately, a sweeping move saw Torres being swept off his feet by Gibson giving Howard Webb an obvious decision to award us the penalty despite the lame protestations of the home side. Up came Gerrard to coolly slot past Van der Saar to narrow the deficit. By then Ngog was on for an ineffective Maxi. This really gave Torres more space to work with and we were soon rewarded. A through ball saw Torres bumped to the ground. A freekick just at the edge of the box though Webb decided not to incur the wrath of Ferguson or the home side by just flashing the yellow card on O’Shea when he was clearly the last line of defence, thus deserving a red.
As Gerrard lined his shot, the Red Devil’s Wall literally parted just enough for Stevie’s shot to squeeze through the gap past a bemused Van der Saar.. Oh WHAT JOY !!! Another kiss to the TV cameras with possibly more to come.
The home side were clearly rattled but sadly we just could not drive through the dagger.. Meireles did have a half chance with a diving header after a quick lob by Poulsen. Jovanovic brought some hope of a breakthrough when he came on for Meireles. Agger had to provide cover on the left in place of Konchesky against the increasingly rampant Nani.
By then, Cole was moved to the centre behind Torres and was showing glimpse of his skill and desire. But we just lacked the cutting edge.. Jova and Ngog were just out of depth. In the end, we sank into a defensive mode and allowed them to send in a cross that was gleefully converted by Berbatov for a well-deserved hattrick. Maybe Reina could have come out and cleared the ball but possibly the instruction was to stay at the line and allow our centre-halves to handle Berbatov and Rooney. Maybe we underestimated Berbatov who did have a wretched time against us the previous season.
At the final whistle, our heads may hang down but let’s reap the positives. Poulsen played a very matured and controlled game holding the middle of the park. We were just outwitted at the flanks where a spoiler like Mascherano would have been much appreciated. Maybe Meireles would suit that role but he looks better stealing the ball and advancing forward rather than tracking back and putting a last-ditch tackle.
Konchesky is ok at the left but needs back-up. Jova doesn’t provide enough defensive cover. Not the way Kuyt does on the right…
Likewise Johnson on his own can be overwhelmed when he has a twin terror to contend with. Maxi would be more adept when against a team on the backfoot.
What is certain now is that Cole’s place is in the centre and not at the flanks where he becomes so restricted.
Reina will also need to be more assertive and commanding in the penalty box. When he sees his defence overwhelmed aerially, he has to take matters in his own hands to reestablish confidence.
In short, it has been a sharp learning curve. A point would have been nice but we got nothing to bring back this time. But there are still 33 games to play and 99 points at stake. Let’s stay focused on getting a win in our next game, at home against Sunderland, and proceed to the next game from there.
Otherwise let’s do what we do best.. let’s WALK ON.. through a storm.. hold your head up high.. And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm.. is a golden sky.. and the sweet silver song of a lark.. WALK ON.. through the wind.. WALK ON.. through the rain.. THO’ your dreams be tossed and blown..
WALK ON.. WALK ON.. with HOPE in your HEART.. and you’ll never walk alone.. YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE..
As expected both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres return to the starting XI. Joe Cole also gets his 2nd EPL start for Liverpool following his three game ban.
Starting XI : Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Paul Konchesky, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles, Maxi Rodriguez, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres.
Subs : Brad Jones, Daniel Agger, Milan Jovanovic, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, Ryan Babel, Lucas Leiva, David Ngog
For Man Utd:
Starting XI : Van der Sar, O’Shea, Vidic, Jonny Evans, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Scholes, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney.
Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Owen, Anderson, Smalling, Macheda, Gibson.
Referee: Howard Webb
Follow the live update on Twitter @empireofthekop
Kick off today’s big game is at 1:30 PM BST
Nathan Eccleston is on Twitter @NE39
Raul Meireles claims that he joined Liverpool so he can play again Manchester United more…
(LOL, here is your chance Raul, go get them)
Fergie blames Rafa for Liverpool’s poor showing last season more…
(Can’t wait to see Inter face United in the Champions League)
Konchesky talks about how Fulham beat United more…
(YNWA let us trash them)
And also urges Howard Webb to keep cool head more…
(You would think Webb having no hair would help cool his head down)
Joe Cole claims that he loves playing against Manchester United more…
(He loves scoring too :-) )
Didi Hamann warned United to watch out for Cole more…
(Don’t help them Didi :-) )
Roy talks about the Vidic-Torres battle more…
(And Torres shall once more be triumphant)
Sterling scored twice as the U18s beat Leeds 2-0 more…
Reports indicate that Hicks is very close to signing the refinancing deal more…
(That would be him signing a death warrant for our club, HE MUST BE STOPPED)
Here is some info on the bank that is helping Tom Hicks more…
The situation will not be pleasant if Hicks refinances more…
(It will be a disaster)
Gary McAllister has joined Aston Villa more…
(Good luck Gary)
And talk of us being linked with Marko Marin more…
(Unless we can get Hicks & Gillett out of the picture we are not getting anyone)
And also Edinson Cavani more…
(Yeah good luck seeing a penny if Hicks is in charge solo)
Finally The Star goes nuts and claims that Roy’s days at Anfield are numbered more…
(O’Neill? What are they smoking at the Star?)
There are many rivalries in football but for the E.P.L. this is the big one, no other game comes close. A recent study found that Manchester United and Liverpool are the top two supported teams in England with a combined following of almost 9 million in the UK alone.
Last season the spoils were split, we beat them at Anfield and United won the reverse fixture at Old Trafford after Fernando Torres opened the scoreline. Of course many of us Kopites would like to remember when we trashed them at Old Trafford 4-1 just two seasons ago. Ironically that victory came a few days after we scored four against Real Madrid. Steaua Bucharest are no Real but after last Thursday’s performance by the Reds many of us have a renewed belief that we can upset our arch enemy at their home.
This is Roy Hodgson’s first game as the Liverpool gaffer against ‘his pal’ Alex Ferguson, Roy has had some success at Craven Cottage against United so he is pretty confident he can do the job.
Joe Cole returns to the lineup after being suspended for 3 EPL games, he had a fantastic game on Thursday and even scored his first Liverpool goal. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are both expected to feature as they were rested against Steaua. Dirk Kuyt is injured while Fabio Aurelio is doubtful.
Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Paul Konchesky, Lucas Leiva, Raul Miereles, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole, Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres
For United, Fergie is without the services of Antonio Valencia. Although Rio Ferdinand is expected to return Nemanja Vidic will captain the Red Devils.
Kick off is at 1:30 PM BST