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Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

October 25, 2009
Having Torres back in the side was key to victory

Having Torres back in the side was key to victory

I’m going to enjoy this; results like these don’t come along that often. Oh no wait, yes they do – this is Liverpool’s 3rd consecutive win over United – forgive me.

Coming into this afternoon’s game everybody was talking about how much longer Rafael Benitez would last at the helm. Now, just a couple of hours after, discussion has switched to the re-launch of Liverpool’s title bid. It was inevitable that would happen should Liverpool have got the 3 points, but I’m afraid I’m going to play the pessimist and say lets not speak too soon.

Liverpool were brilliant today, no doubt about it. The spark that they lacked in midweek against Lyon certainly returned against a lacklustre United side, who threatened very little throughout the course of the match. The home side’s best chance of the first half fell to Fabio Aurelio, whom after testing Edwin van der Sar with a 25-yard free kick, had a close-range header saved by the Dutchman – a chance that Aurelio probably should have scored.

United’s best chance of the half came via Wayne Rooney’s head, but Pepe Reina wasn’t made to work very hard by the England centre-forward. Little changed in the second 45, with Liverpool continuing to dominate and create chances. The deadlock was eventually broken after 66 minutes when Yossi Benayoun’s wonderful through pass found the run of Fernando Torres, who shrugged off Rio Ferdinand and fired past van der Sar. Question marks will again be raised over Ferdinand’s defending; he wasn’t tight enough to Torres to start with, and ended up wrong side, allowing Torres to graze through with ease.

The visitors failed to test Reina even after this goal. Nani skimmed the crossbar from a very tight angle and had a free kick saved by Reina with comfort, but Sir Alex will be disappointed that his side couldn’t conjure up more chances, especially against a Liverpool defence heavily criticised recently for leaking goals.

The referee did his best to try and get United back in the game. Numerous decisions went their way, and it’s plain to see why. Mr. Ferguson throwing another half-time tantrum may have something to do with it. Nemanja Vidic received a red card in the 90th minute for a reckless rugby tackle on Dirk Kuyt – Vidic probably lucky to have lasted that long if truth be told. It can be argued that Jamie Carragher should have received the same sanction just moments later for a seemingly last-man challenge on Michael Owen, but Andre Marriner produced yellow instead. Javier Mascherano also received his marching orders in the 95th minute for a silly lunge at Edwin van der Sar in the corner. Unnecessary and costly from the little Argentinian; he’ll now be banned for a game, meaning the Liverpool backroom staff will have to work extra hard to get Alberto Aquilani up to match fitness for next weekend.

I’d like to pinpoint a few one-to-one battles now:

Torres v Vidic: Not only was this United’s 3rd straight defeat against Liverpool, but it was also Vidic’s 3rd straight red card against the Reds. And it’s easy to see why. Torres ran the big Serb ragged at Old Trafford in March, and he did the same today. Too quick, strong, and skillful for the defender, who had to resort to fouling Torres to stop him getting away. Sir Alex revealed before the match that Vidic was “looking forward” to the tussle with Torres. Perhaps that’s what he’d like to have thought.

Valencia v Insua: This was United’s main route of attack. Insua looked vulnerable whenever the ball came his way, and United attempted to expose him on every possible occasion. Valencia was quicker and simply better than Insua, and it begs the question why United couldn’t have exploited that area more.

Mascherano/Lucas v Scholes/Carrick: This was probably the best game I’ve seen Lucas have. He seldom gave the ball away, and kept it very simple which is what you like your crap players to do I guess. Scholes and Carrick had little time on the ball thanks to the closing down from Mascherano and Lucas throughout the game. Those raking passes we’re so used to from Scholes weren’t so evident today.

Carragher v United: Jamie Carragher was immense. Yes, he probably should have been sent off, but that doesn’t take away the fact he was heroic. Every tackle he got right, every aerial battle he won, and United didn’t look like scoring while Carragher was on the pitch i.e the whole match. He’s received a lot of stick recently for being off the pace, but today he’s silenced his critics, if only for a few days.

A fantastic win for Liverpool then. Better than United in all areas, they wanted the ball more, and they wanted the win more. Pressure off Benitez for a short while, but now the hard work begins. Back these performances up and we’ve got a chance. For now, I’m a happy Liverpool supporter.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2009 5:53 pm

    It was Lpools day today. Better team won

    Just wish we had actually turned up and given you a game

    funny about what you thought about the ref ad i thought the opposite. Booked Berba for what? And was Vidic first a yellow? no.

    I still dont see Lpool as a real threat..yep they can get it up for us when their boss is possibly a defeat away from the boot, but can they beat Stoke when they turn up? or wigan? or any midtablers. 11 draws last year says it all. Players like Lucas and Benayoun will just get kicked up in the air against the more physical teams and hence, there goes the supply line.

    Rio and Vida are well short of their best. Rio should have got a tackle in on Torres for the goal..he was tight enough but was not aggressive enough.

    Well done again Liverpool. Youre back in the race

  2. October 25, 2009 6:01 pm

    I’m starting to question Rio now and I hadn’t before but he doesn’t seem as “rock solid” anymore, his pace is certainly lacking too.

    We need Hargreaves back and Rooney needs some games again to get back to his best.

    Still feel gutted though… we should have done better!

  3. George permalink
    October 25, 2009 6:05 pm

    I agree about the midtable teams Rob. That’s why we need to back up these performaces against the mediocre teams. Recent history suggests that won’t happen, but we’ll see.

    Vidic should have received a yellow before he actually got one. He committed too many fouls to get away with. Lucas was the same to be honest, but he went unpunished strangely. It’s just obvious that Ferguson had a go at half time – United got everything 2nd half.

    Rio’s looking very dodgy right now. Carra made him look like a pub team player.

    • October 25, 2009 6:51 pm

      Is that the Carra that shouldnt have been on the pitch? Was a wonderful rugby tackle that im sure is considered a proffesional foul in a rule book somewhere. And he should of had a yellow before..whatevs!

      Ref was out of his depth today, but luckily didnt really effect the result directly.

      Lucas should have had 3 yellow cards in the game and got none.

      Lpool are going through the same thing that United went thro in the 1980s. We used to batter Liverpool/Everton/Arsenal one week then lose to a team in the bottom 6 (probably Chelsea back then) was like a running joke year after year when i was a kid. It is why we used to end up 4th every season. These games are the marquee games, but its what you do against the non-Big 4 teams that wins you the league (or not!)

  4. October 25, 2009 6:44 pm

    Liverpool certainly deserved their victory. No doubt about that. They were hungrier to win, first to every loose ball, and Man Utd forgot to show up. Prior to the game, there would have been plenty of nervous Pool fans wondering what might happen if they didn’t win. As it turned out, that wasn’t necessary. Now to see them repeat that hunger and drive against little teams like Stoke and Bolton.

    I certainly though Carra should’ve been red carded for the tackle on Owen, and no doubt that was going through Vidic’s mind when he tried his luck a few minutes later. Vidic btw should be dropped from any future games against Liverpool as he seems to like heading to the showers before his teammates.

    Rio was crap. Good players don’t become rubbish overnight, but I think last season he was exposed a few times as well. The only difference was that Man Utd had the scoring abilities to cover up for it. This game highlighted the lack of creative avenues, and I think it won’t be the first time we’ll see it this season.

    Lucas, well I never thought it’d happen in England, but the commentators used his name and the words “played well” in the same sentence. Nuff said.

  5. Rite$h permalink
    October 25, 2009 7:26 pm

    Excellent performance by the scousers, United were once again helpless against them, and the best team of the day eventually won.

  6. October 25, 2009 8:36 pm

    Was Owen given a decent reception or not?

    Unlucky Rob, still don’t think Liverpool have enough to mount a decent title challenge so results like today are going to be the highlight for them in 2009/10. Let them enjoy their warm glow for a few days, I still expect Man U to have the last laugh come next May.

  7. boycie permalink
    October 25, 2009 10:58 pm

    Sorry but i think that you didn’t see the game at all, hats down to Lfc they were the better side for 90mins. The Ref was very bad no penalty for Cara’s foul on Carick no red card as the last man against Owen. Yes Vidic was deservedly been sent off but no one can expect that he will leave Kuyt to have a go 1 on 1 with VDS, he also controlled Torres for 78mins when he was substituted.
    PS Nani didn’t hit the woodwork it was Valencia

  8. October 26, 2009 1:29 am

    Well played, Liverpool.
    Carragher call aside, you deserve what you won today.
    I’m sure supporters are breathing a sigh of relief, if only for the moment.

    And good, I like a close race for the title.

  9. edu4 permalink
    October 26, 2009 4:15 am

    why u all complain wit performance’s refree?u should see berbatov had done at dirk kuyt’s shirt last nite…peace

  10. October 26, 2009 6:23 am

    first of all it was valencia’s shot which touch woodwork not nani’s..
    2nd carragher not only carragher should have been sent off, his tackle on carrick (not the ball) in the penalty foul no pen..disgrace.

    vidic behind torres..foul..giggs fouled in the back foul.

    berbatov shirts was torn a little too at the did not show it tho’

    some decisions went utd’s way and so many liverpool’s way..6 fouls from lucas and no yellow..berbatov 1st foul yellow..before half time foul on berbatov and scholes in front of the box no foul given.

    this ref was blind and inexperienced..!! but kops were the better team tho and played well in the 2nd half.

  11. Desmond permalink
    October 26, 2009 11:43 am

    Sad. Lol but as a manu fan, the only silver lining? Well rafa wont be sacked and till he goes? You guys still wont win anything tangible lol.

  12. yaniv permalink
    October 26, 2009 12:55 pm

    jus a doubt.. Mashy has a single game suspension ryt?? That means it’ll b applied 4 d carling cup match against arsenal ryt? Or did he have an extra match can 4 5 yellows?

  13. October 26, 2009 1:49 pm

    2 yellows = 1 game ban and its early season to have collected 10 yellows already.

    So yes the convenience of the League Cup has its purpose. To serve out suspensions =)

  14. George permalink
    October 26, 2009 6:41 pm

    @Boycie. Carragher’s tackle on Carrick was very risky indeed, but if you watch the replay he played the ball – yes he made contact with Carrick, but what tackle in Football doesn’t necessitate contact being made between the two players?

    + I’ve admitted that Carra should have been sent off for the foul on Owen. He wasn’t. Bad luck.

    + Regardless of whether Vidic was expected to leave Kuyt to go through one-on-one with van der Sar, it’s a red card. No excuses.

    The Kuyt/Berba shirt incident; well it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Difficult to call either way. Would have been a very soft penalty.

    @Mervin. Lucas should have been booked, agreed. Vidic got away with a lot before he actually got booked. The 1st yellow card he got was for an accumulation of offences, not for the tackle itself.

  15. October 26, 2009 7:58 pm

    I thought the Kuyt v Berbatov shirt struggle highlighted that Liverpool shirts are easier to rip than United ones!

  16. October 26, 2009 11:04 pm

    Rob, why no Gary Neville in the starting eleven? Even on the bench he was snapping, snarling and goading the scousers as only he can.

    Carragher has had a pretty mediocre season thus far, but however well or badly he is playing though, he can’t half motivate himself for the Liverpool-Manchester derbies.

    Would have been a great game for Andre Marriner to have a bit of a chat with the lads from the tabloid press post match!!!!

    • October 27, 2009 12:56 am

      totally agreed. Nevs played well last two games. He would walk thro fire to beat Liverpool. Funny how Carra has played shite for 9 games then plays a blinder against us! Lets see if he can keep his one game form run going with two full backs that dont like defending

  17. October 27, 2009 1:33 am

    Forget the extremely bad taste joke about his Mother and Brother, Gary Neville is a star in my book for club and previously country. My lot Tottenham are off to The Arse this Saturday, how they could have done with a player like Nev in most of their recent derbies.

    For some curious reason Carragher has managed to avoid the spotlight that Rio Ferdinand sits uncomfortably beneath at the moment. My theory? It’s because unlike United, Liverpool have at least five other players who are useless.

    • October 27, 2009 11:06 am

      Rio is high profile..every error he makes is headline news, so when he makes a handful together the lynch mob get warmed up. Im sure he can handle it mentally. Just hope that all these so called minor injuries he keeps picking up do not effect his form in the future like they obviously are now….

      Agreed about Carragher. 9 shit games and 1 great one does not make for good form. He is past his best and they wont be able to replace him with anything theyve got.

  18. October 27, 2009 11:57 am

    vidic deserved his red card. it didn’t need a 2nd yellow. for me it was a straight red.

  19. George permalink
    October 27, 2009 2:08 pm

    Everybody goes through a bad spell. Carra will bounce back. You’ll see.

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