This has to be one of the best weeks in Liverpool’s history under Rafa Benitez. After beating Real Madrid so convincingly during mid-week in the Champions League, the Reds did the unthinkable today by thrashing Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford.
The Premier League title race is back on.
Liverpool’s win takes Benitez’s side to within 4 points of Manchester United. However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side has a game in hand.
The performance today by Manchester United was lackluster and missing creativity and speed up front. For once, Fergie got the tactics wrong. Instead of going for the jugular in the first half, his side were too cautious. In the beginning of the second half, Man United’s display improved as it was Liverpool’s turn to sit back and take on wave after wave of United’s attack.
But for United, it was poor performances by Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic that allowed Liverpool to romp to victory. Vidic was guilty of letting Torres get past him for Liverpool’s first goal. Evra chopped down Steven Gerrard late in the first half, which resulted in a penalty converted by the Liverpool captain. The third goal resulted from Vidic pulling down Gerrard outside the box when Vidic was the last defender back. And the fourth goal for Liverpool came out of nowhere with Andreas Dossena lobbing the ball over Edwin van der Sar and into the back of the net.
To me, the man of the match was Alan Wiley. The Premier League referee had the balls to award a penalty against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The last time that happened was in November when Hull City were awarded a penalty, which was converted by Geovanni. Wiley was correct to award the penalty to Liverpool. He also made the correct decision to award the first penalty to Manchester United after Pepe Reina brought down Ji-Sung Park. And the decision to award a free kick and red card Nemanja Vidic was the right one. Alan WIley may not be the most popular man in Manchester tonight, but he deserves a lot of praise for being calm under pressure and making the right calls.
With two months left in the season, here are the matches that both teams have remaining in the league:
- Manchester United: Fulham (a), Aston Villa (h), Sunderland (a), Wigan (a), Portsmouth (h), Tottenham (h), Middlesbrough (a), Man City (h), Arsenal (h), Hull City (a).
- Liverpool: Aston Villa (h), Fulham (a), Blackburn (h), Arsenal (h), Hull City (a), Newcastle United (h), West Ham (a), West Brom (a), Tottenham (h).
As you can see, the title is anyone’s to play for and don’t forget Chelsea who are finding their form at just the right time.
What are your impressions from today’s victory by Liverpool over Manchester United? Did Alan Wiley make the correct decisions? Can Man United still go on to win the league? Click the comments link and share your feedback.