Liverpool Beat Manchester United In Premier League Extravaganza

Liverpool fans in Singapore celebrate win against United at 11:30 at night. Photo by photokalia

Sunday’s match between Liverpool and Manchester United was a perfect example of why the Premier League is the most exciting league in the world. You had everything from an incredible dribble by Luis Suarez to beat four players and help create the first goal to the surreal antics of Nani. But most importantly, the action-packed game had passion, tenacity, drama and feistiness. It was the type of game where you couldn’t take your eyes away from it for any of the 90 minutes for fear of missing something remarkable. And for neutrals, it had the current title leaders suffering an embarrassing defeat in front of their arch-enemy. Not only that, but the win by Liverpool now raises the question whether Manchester United has what it takes to lift the top flight trophy for the 19th time.

Let’s start with Manchester United. This was one of the worst performances by the Red Devils in a very long time. Ryan Giggs, often a key link in their success, was absolutely awful. His free kicks were wasted and didn’t test Pepe Reina. His corners often didn’t clear the first Liverpool defender. And his passes were far below par. In a game against Liverpool where set pieces were Manchester United’s greatest opportunity to grab something back in this game, Giggs failed time and time again. His only redeeming factor was the cross that led to Hernandez’s goal.

Besides Giggs, none of the United players had a good game against Liverpool. Nani started the first half pretty well and caused Liverpool a few problems with a chance in front of goal as well as his runs across the pitch. That was until the 39th minute when he made an awful mistake by mistiming a header that floated over Michael Carrick to Dirk Kuyt who made it 2-0 to Liverpool. Five minutes later, Jamie Carragher committed an awful tackle against Nani. Carragher was lucky he was only punished with a yellow card for the foul, but the developments that happened right after Nani was fouled were bizarre. Nani, who was obviously incensed, ran over to referee Phil Dowd and pointed at the damage that Carragher had done to his leg, but then fell down with the aid of a Steven Gerrard push as tempers flared and both teams got in each other’s faces. While Dowd was calming players down and showing Carragher the yellow card, Nani was in tears on the ground and was being consoled by Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel. Nani was then stretchered off the pitch, looking like he was in incredible pain. Whether the pain was one of embarrassment from his earlier mistake and antics after being fouled, or whether it was sheer pain, we’ll have to wait and see how long Nani is out to get a better idea.

As for the rest of the United players, there were no heroes. United began the game by playing a lot of long diagonal balls to the wings, but those were easily defended by Liverpool. In the second half, Wayne Rooney switched to the left wing but that didn’t result in anything worthwhile except for a couple of harmless crosses and a shot saved by Reina in the 87th minute.

For United, the defeat to Liverpool exposes several issues. Without Nemanja Vidic (banned) and Rio Ferdinand (injured), United’s defense is penetrable. When someone like Giggs is playing poorly, there is little to no depth on the bench to replace him (due to injuries and not bringing in many new players). And most worryingly of all for Manchester United, opponents now feel that United are no longer invincible. With Sir Alex Ferguson expected to receive a ban of up to five matches, losing Ferguson couldn’t come at a worse time.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will be buoyed by the incredible win. From the minute the game started, Liverpool looked more committed to winning this match. They began with guns blazing with Suarez failing to accurately control a chance in front of goal in the second minute, Liverpool pouring on a blitzkrieg of attacks in the third minute and a tame effort from Maxi Rodriguez in the fifth minute. Liverpool continued the pressure and created chances, which they were rewarded for in the 34th minute when Luis Suarez went on his dizzying run that led to Kuyt poking the ball into the net.

Liverpool today showed what a powerful force they could be in the Premier League in future seasons. For the big matches, they have what it takes to frustrate opponents. Kuyt and Suarez linked up well throughout the game. Gerrard played much better than usual and had a couple of chances go agonizingly just wide. Raul Meireles continued his excellent form by reducing Rooney’s to a minor role in this massive match.

The debut of Andy Carroll in the 73rd minute for Liverpool was a positive addition. While he didn’t have many chances in front of goal, he quickly showed his ability to slot nicely into this Liverpool team which will add a different dynamic.

But without a shadow of a doubt, the player of the match Sunday was Luis Suarez (even if you ignore his dribbling run that led to the first goal). The Uruguayan forward constantly created havoc for Manchester United’s defenders as he created plenty of chances, found plenty of open space and passed his way in and out of his opponents. The energy and drive that Suarez exhibited was wonderful. And his free kick which was spilled by Van der Sar leading to Kuyt knocking the ball in to the net was sublime.

Congratulations to Liverpool on a well-deserved win.

If I had to name another man of the match in this game, it would be Phil Dowd. The much maligned referee was calm under intense pressure Sunday and managed to keep the game under control while making sound decisions. His decision to wave off an appeal for a penalty in the 59th minute when Dimitar Berbatov’s header was blocked on the line by Meireles was correct. And Dowd’s decision to not show a red card to Carragher and Rafael Da Silva, during a separate incident for a foul on Lucas Leiva right before the half time whistle blew, was wise. Instead of killing off the game with a couple of rash decisions, he made reasonable decisions and booked both players with a yellow instead.

In the space of one week, Chelsea and Liverpool have handed Arsenal two presents in the form of victories against Manchester United to narrow the gap at the top of the table to three points. Whether Arsenal can take advantage of Manchester United slipping up, we’ll have to wait and see. A lot depends on what Arsenal does in their game in hand against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on April 20. But if it does come down to the wire, the May 1 match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium could be a crucial decider. That would be followed by another crucial game for Manchester United against Chelsea on May 7.

Can Arsenal overtake Manchester United for the league title? Should Carragher or Da Silva been sent off? Can Liverpool make a run and climb into fifth place? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

25 thoughts on “Liverpool Beat Manchester United In Premier League Extravaganza”

  1. I think that if Liverpool can keep up this momentum and drive they show against teams like man utd, they can have a real chance of finishing in the top four.But too often a performance like this is followed by a poor/drab showing against a lower team.

  2. As a manutd fan, the only consolation I got from this game was how cool it was that the crowd sang happy birthday to Kenny and how he acknowledged with a wave.

  3. After the Jovanovic-Cole-Rodriguez-Ngog shitshow earlier this year, tell me things aren’t looking up with Meireles-Kuyt-Suarez-Carroll.

  4. Liverpool vs Man United games are never disappointing. It it still the biggest rivalry in the EPL despite Liverpool no longer being a top four club. These games have everything from controversy to jaw-dropping plays. In Suarez Liverpool have a very skillful player who also works hard.

    I still think Manchester United will win the title because Aresenal just don’t have the toughness to win. Arsenal’s back four and goalkeeper are still not up to snuff.

    Too bad that Ferguson has decided to put a gag order on his staff and players in dealing with the press. Poor sportsmanship. Maybe the pressure is getting to him.

  5. “Too bad that Ferguson has decided to put a gag order on his staff and players in dealing with the press. Poor sportsmanship.”

    Ferguson has never been magnanimous in defeat or humble in victory. The man is the biggest bully in the EPL.

    1. well, whenever fergie talks, he seems to get in trouble with the FA, and now when he doesn’t talk, he is criticized, sounds like a no win situation to me

      1. Uh…last I checked it was pretty easy to give a post match press conference while still abiding by FA rules. I mean, it’s not like every manager gets a talking to from the FA for their post match comments in the aftermath of a loss.

  6. Ferguson criticized the referee for his performance against Chelsea. This was the same referee that allowed more injury time in their game against man City that allowed Owen to score the winner.

  7. I also give high marks to the referee for not being rash in his decisions. In real time Carragher’s challenge was bad enough to deserve a yellow card which the referee gave. I did not think the challenge was premeditated. Good decision by the referee. Rafael’s challenge on Lucas also looked worse than it really was and the referee did the right thing by giving a yellow card. He also booked Skrtyl for his reaction to the challenge.

    Just saw the Wolves- Spurs game and while it was extremely entertaining the referee made some bad decisions unlike the referee in the Liverpool-Man U game.

  8. How things have changed for United! A month ago we were discussing if they could go all the way undefeated. Since then United lost three games and put Arsenal back into contention for the title. United still control their fate and there are legitimate questions if Arsenal are capabable of capitalizing on the presented opportunity. But if you are a United fan you maybe getting this uneasy feeling that what is happening looks dangerously like what happened to Chelsea earlier in the season. In similar fashon United had firm grasp on the first spot and their well oiled hardened machine was marching in if not spectacular but steady way towards the 19th title. All of a suddent the machine is faltering and the squad shows age and tear and wear of the long season. Add to this lack of the depth in United are just one injury away from mediocrity. Most importantly teams are beating United in their own game. United are being outmuscled and outhussled and it seemsthey cannot handle pressure and adversity the way United of the past did. In their frailities Unted show habits typically associated to Arsenal. But they don’t have the talent of Arsenal team to offset it. This makes one wonder if “squeeky bum time” magic will work for United this year.

  9. “well, whenever fergie talks, he seems to get in trouble with the FA, and now when he doesn’t talk, he is criticized, sounds like a no win situation to me”

    It’s what he says that gets him into trouble. Nobody gets into trouble for just talking. Fergie has had things his way for way too long and when things don’t go his way he acts like a spoilt brat. There are lots of managers who accept defeat even when they feel hard done by. Fergie has a habit of intimidating referees. A former referee, Jeff Winter, has spoken of how he never refereed another Man united game after he sent off a United player and Fergie complained about him. That’s a bully for me.

  10. Man, what an *sskicking. United was outplayed in every facet of the game. L’Pool grabbed the game by the scruff and didn’t let go. (coming from a Utd fan)

  11. Nice to see you bust a nut all over the page, seriously there’s Liverpool cum all over the article from you jerking yourself off to their 1 win in 3 games against United this season.

    Credit to Suarez though, hell of a player.

    1. Wow, what an eloquent response. I’m blown away by your insight.

      There’s no denying that this was a big win for Liverpool and a big loss for United. And I’m pretty sure those other two games were covered months ago, so really there was no need to bring them up again. Great win by the Reds.

  12. Anyone needing further proof that this is a very poor United side got it today. The midfield is over the hill, end of. Completely overrun, no guile or creativity. On yer bike Carrrick – you are useless. It did not help that arguably United’s player of the season fell victim to Yosser Hughes – not the first time Carragher has literally kicked lumps out of the opposition and then been excused for mistiming tackle. Mistimed my arse, he is a very dirty player. Rooney and Berbatov have absolutely no chemistry. Time for Rooney to drop back into central midfield and start Hernandez. But nothing can disguise that this is a team in terminal decline unless new owners from Qatar take over and splash the cash.

  13. While I’m eager to get Carroll in the team, I think Kuyt is the perfect kind of hard-working, in-the-right-place striker we need sometimes.

    Regardless, I can’t wait to see a starting Carroll with Suarez and Kuyt behind him.

  14. While I think the carra tackle was reckless, and resulted in an injury for nani, I think that the Rafael challenge was a direct result. Both were possible red card fouls and the ref was extremely consistent (something we all GRIPE about from start to finish consistency consistency consistency).

    1. But that doesn’t explain Maxi raking his studs down Rafael’s arse, nor does explain zero action for the hair pull by Suarez.

      That act of blatant thuggery by Carragher should have warranted a red card and lengthened suspension. A yellow card is nothing short of a joke. The ref said that Edwin Van Der Sar’s 60 yard dash to argue a point was as egregious a violation as Carragher’s successful attempt to injure an opponent. Great call, Phil. Carragher knew what he had to do if he were matched up vs. Nani and he did it; no more Nani. The gouge in his leg says it all.

      Someone mentioned Liverpool cum all over the article. What I find equally gush-worthy was the lengthy “ARSENAL, despite not getting their thumbs out of their asses all day , ABSOLUTELY ROBBED BY REFS!” article that came out of yesterday’s match. Because of an offside and a penalty that still has opinions mixed. Not because anyone’s most dynamic player was sent off the field by a vicious tackle that left his leg wide open. I’ll freely admit that United were shite and full credit to Liverpool, but I’d have preferred our chances vs. 10 men for 45 over having to move on without our best player this year.

      But Carragher gets barely a mention in this; in fact, more scorn is cast on the victim than the assailant, which speaks volumes to the lack of balance in this pile of crap that passes for an article. Gaffer has shown about as much consistency this weekend as the refs did all week.

      And for those who want to talk about the rafael “red card” I offer two thoughts: (1) If he were to get a red card, the stud raking by Maxi seconds earlier would earn an ejection too. Luis “The biter” Suarez would also have had to go for the hair pulling incident. So now it’s 10 on 8. Once again, I’d prefer that scenario over the actual. By the way, funny how Dowd was praised for standing back and taking it all in, yet missed some pretty obvious, nasty stuff.

      (2) More likely, had Dowd pulled the red card on Carragher, the rest of what happened moments later would never have happened. Players would have been scared straight and never have attempted to take liberties with one another. But once Dowd let that reducer go, the gloves were off.

      And to take this full circle, had Nani’s injury been inflicted on Jack Wilshire by, say, John Mensah, How long before the press exploded with “people trying to kill Arsenal”, “Ban Foreigner for horror tackle!” articles? Instead it’s a good old fashioned British bulldog on a whiney foreigner, so the press opens up with “Nani Cried” , “Disgusting that he’s trying to get Carragher sent off!” “Is he really hurt, or is it just his pride?”

      If I just had my leg ripped open and I saw the ref going for maybe a yellow, I’d get that wound right up in the ref’s face too. And no doubt that adrenaline rush would wear off and I’d be reminded how much an open hole in your leg hurt. Wound or no wound, there was no attempt to go near a ball, and a red card was more than warranted. Karl Henry was pilloried for less.

      All in all a bad article, a poor weekend for consistency on the field and on this website. Almost as bad as United’s week, but with far fewer excuses!

      1. Its as if you read my mind, everything you said is true. Why should Ferguson have to make a statement i think the FA and Mr Dowd need to stand up and explain why this was allowed to take place and is this a signal that the proprietors of the game are allowing thuggery?

      2. You forgot Kung fu kick on Drogba chest unpunished, Rooney elbow unpunished.
        What do u expect in return more respect from opponents?

  15. Manchester United were so pathetic yesterday that even if Liverpool played with 10 or 9 men United would have lost. Instead of concentrating on United’s problems stop making excuses about the Carragher injury. It happened with United being two goals down. United played with 11 men, not 10. I can understand it if the incident had reduced United to 10 men. That did not happen. As bad as the tackle was it was not the reason why United lost. Fact.

  16. To argue a point Nani did not go down under stevie g,s push he was already falling when stevie put his hand on him,He came to the ref to show the damage that had been done and was in alot of pain
    Jamie should have seen red and our fans were a disgrace booing a seriously injured player of the field
    Behave Urselfs

  17. After Nani’s injury he was unable to drive himself home when the team returned to Manchester. Fergie asked all the players after the match if they could give Nani a lift home. All said they could but they didn’t know which way he was heading! :) .

  18. After 2 successive crucial defeat, Rooney is seriously thinking about his future. Heard he was not happy about the mid fielders fielded by Ferguson.
    He did not spoke too much after the defeat and he was devastated. He is doubting MU future and lack of investment while LFC is now gearing toward supremacy which he don’t want to witness.

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