Saturday, 11 February 2012

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

With all the build up revolving around Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, this afternoon’s early kick-off between Manchester United and Liverpool lived up to the pre-match hype. Arguably the spiciest fixture in the Premier League calendar, it was given even more zest before a ball had even been kicked, when Liverpool’s Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra’s extended hand.

It was clear from the off that there was unfinished business between the two, with less than 30 seconds played, Evra attempting to get stuck right in to Suarez, but instead taking out his defensive colleague Rio Ferdinand. It did slow down from there, with both sides getting the ball down and playing some nice football, but creating little in the way of chances. Liverpool’s best chance of the first half fell to right-back Glen Johnson, cutting inside and firing just past De Gea’s far post. United probably edged the first half, with Scholes and Carrick seeing a lot of the ball in the middle of the pitch, allowing Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney to get forward. It was Scholes though who had the best chance, heading the ball straight at Liverpool’s Pepe Reina from three yards out.

Suarez was again at the centre of attention, infuriated that he wasn’t awarded a free kick when Rio Ferdinand brought him down as the last man; however, replays showed that Ferdinand clearly got a foot to the ball. This sparked ugly scenes at the half-time whistle with players from both camps having to be calmed down before reaching their dressing rooms.

After the break it was Wayne Rooney and Manchester United who let their football do the talking, scoring two in five minutes. The first, Rooney peeling away from Glen Johnson at the back post to volley home and then Valencia showing strength, feeding in Rooney who slotted through the legs of Pepe Reina. From here United were in cruise control, with the away side becoming more and more frustrated. However, with ten minutes to play it was that man Suarez, who got them back into it, benefiting from some poor United defending to poach his first goal since coming back from his ban.

It wasn’t to be though, United holding out for the three points, but the drama wasn’t over. Patrice Evra showing extreme emotion at the end to celebrate with the United fans, having to be led away by stewards and his teammates. The post match interviews were also extremely controversial with Sir Alex Ferguson stating that he thought Luis Suarez was a ‘disgrace’, and that he ‘shouldn’t be allowed to play for Liverpool again’.

This win now puts United top of the league, one point clear of rivals Manchester City, until they play tomorrow.

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