Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd – Fergie’s Smash and Grab

Suarez and Evra exchange pleasantries

By Jonathan Carroll
The North-West derby between Liverpool and Manchester United never lived up to the hype. Both teams employed a 4-5-1 system and seemed to stifle each others creativity, although it is noteworthy that Alex Ferguson’s conservative team selection shows a fear of Liverpool’s revamped team if not a little respect.
Some may argue Ferguson was resting players for their upcoming Champions League encounter, I believe Ferguson was aware that his United team had not won at Anfield since December of 2007. United set their stall out to stop Liverpool and try to hit on the counter, as shown by leaving Nani and questionably Wayne Rooney on the bench. Liverpool went with Luis Suarez alone up top with Steven Gerrard starting at right midfield. The first half was a cagey affair and the only real spark for Liverpool was a great chance which fell to Suarez, who cut back onto his left foot only to shoot straight at David De Gea when a placed effort either side of the keeper would have given Liverpool a lead heading into half-time.
The second half was much more up tempo and Anfield came to life when Steven Gerrard placed a free kick beyond De Gea at the Kop end. Despite later claiming there was no contact, Rio Ferdinand did in fact step on Charlie Adam, a foul which lead to the free-kick that Gerrard dispatched. It was a return special from the Captain and his Five Finger Salute was also a nice touch during his celebration. That was the signal for Ferguson to throw on Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Nani to help United rescue something from the game.
A moments lapse caught Liverpool out when Hernandez nipped in to head home in front of the trailing Martin Skrtel after Rooney’s corner had tacked a slight deflection on its way into the six-yard-box. From this point on however, Liverpool showed the bigger hunger to win the game. Substitute Jordan Henderson came on in a more central role and could have easily of won the game from one of his two chances. His half volley from outside the box produced a magnificent save from De Gea while a Stewart Downing cross from the left was begging to be dispatched but Henderson headed over when he should have really scored after making the space for the opportunity.
Liverpool will feel like its two points dropped, but Alex Ferguson achieved his objective: avoid losing. Kenny Dalglish remarked after the game that the disappointment the players showed after failing to win the game shows the progress made. This is correct and this result, although not ideal, should be the base for a concerted effort to reach the top four on the Premier League, and stay there.
Side Note: Suarez & Evra
Allegations emerged after the game that Patrice Evra had approached Saturdays referee, Andre Mariner with a complaint of racial abuse alleged at Luis Suarez. According to Evra, Suarez used racially charged language “at least ten times” during the match. No one condones racial abuse in this day and age and if found guilty Suarez will rightly face a ban. However, Patrice Evra is not a newcomer to this sort of allegation as evident from his previous run ins with Steve Finnan (although he didn’t directly accuse Steve Finnan) the Chelsea ground staff  following a game at Stamford Bridge in April of 2008 and his general refusal to train for “his” national team during the World Cup. I thought it was an honor to play for your country Patrice? I fully agree with the official Liverpool statement that Evra should also face a suspension if the allegations are found to be false. I suspect Evra has once again “cried wolf” because he was aggrieved at the level of torment Suarez gave him all afternoon. If Suarez is found guilty however, it will be a surprise given who the accuser is.The bigger issue I have with Patrice Evra is that he has now made it very difficult for other players to claim they have been racially abused to have their case heard on a fair and just basis. Twice before Evra has been involved in these claims in the Premier League and on both occasions the accused has been dismissed of any wrongdoing. If a different player later claims racial abuse, the easy thing for most uninformed supporters to do will be to classify that player the “new Evra”,  belittling the inquiry process and under valuing the anti-racism stance. What is the moral of the story? The boy, a wolf, cried, we all know how that ends.

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 19 Downing
  • 21 Lucas (yellow card) (Henderson 57)
  • 26 Adam
  • 07 Suarez
  • 18 Kuyt

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni,
  • 05 Agger,
  • 49 Robinson,
  • 14 Henderson,
  • 20 Spearing,
  • 09 Carroll,
  • 39 Bellamy

Man Utd

  • 01 De Gea
  • 03 Evra (yellow card)
  • 04 Jones (Hernandez 76)
  • 05 Ferdinand (yellow card)
  • 06 Evans
  • 12 Smalling
  • 11 Giggs
  • 13 Park Ji-Sung (Rooney 69)
  • 18 Youngyellow card (Nani 69)
  • 24 Fletcher
  • 19 Welbeck

Substitutes

  • 34 Lindegaard,
  • 08 Anderson,
  • 16 Carrick,
  • 17 Nani,
  • 25 Valencia,
  • 10 Rooney,
  • 14 Hernandez
Referee:  Andre Marriner
Attendance: 45,065
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2 thoughts on “Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd – Fergie’s Smash and Grab

  1. Pingback: Liverpool By The Numbers | The Red Letter

  2. Pingback: Jump in the Fire: Suarez, Liverpool head to Old Trafford | The Red Letter

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