LIVERPOOL 1-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
To summarize it all:
- Our first half performance was poor and below par.
- Our second half was marred by some poor refereeing decision.
Unfortunately, our 13-match unbeaten streak is over and the result suddenly seems to have put a fullstop to the optimism that the team’s amazing run had given us for over three months. Fans and pundits alike, have now seriously begun to question whether Liverpool can make it into the Champions League, with Liverpool now 5 points behind in the league with only eight games to go. But, let’s not give up the hope just yet, because if we play in the upcoming games in the way we have been playing lately there is no reason why we can’t finish right up there.
The Starting Lineup
Liverpool chose to field a 3-4-3 lineup against Manchester United, with Sturridge acting as the central striker, with Coutinho playing in the left and Sterling on the right. Rodgers opted to start with Lallana this time, while Sakho too started in defense. Other roles were virtually unchanged, with the likes of Gerrard and Balotelli on the bench. Both would eventually be brought in adding to the drama in the game.
The First Half
Liverpool made a slow start to the first half, rarely attacking and defending most of the time. However, the defenders, including Sakho and Skrtel neutralized the Manchester United attack successfully, most of the time. Yet, in the 14th minute Liverpool were first struck a blow by Juan Mata, who took in a long pass and directly hit it at the right corner of the net past Mignolet. So, it was 0-1. Yet, Liverpool still looked unbalanced and unorganized for a while and Manchester kept on threatening the defense.
However, Liverpool would have its own chances and a good one came just around the 35th minute when Sturridge sent a pass to Lallana, who unfortunately sent the ball wide to the left. That was probably the best chance Liverpool had in the first half. Besides that, the Manchester defense looked strong and Liverpool could pose much threat to the opposing goalie, De Gea. So, the first half ended 0-1.
The Second Half
Rodgers attempted to change the disappointing gameplay and brought in Gerrard, in the place of Lallana. However, less than two minutes later, the game’s story would change entirely, when Gerrard would be given a straight red for a tackle against Ander Herrera. While a lot of Liverpool fans didn’t like the decision, Gerrard would apologize after the game, admitting his mistake. So, let’s end the debate about the red card decision right here. Yet, what also has to be mentioned is that the referee looked rather lenient on fouls on Liverpool players by the opposition. So much so, that several rash challenges from Manchester didn’t even make the referee consider a yellow card.
However, Liverpool didn’t look very weak despite being a man down. Attacks would now increase in the Manchester side and there were descent attempts from Coutinho and Sturridge, showing an intent to fight back. Yet, soon after Manchester United would capitalize on the vulnerabilities in the midfield with Juan Mata finding enough space in the 59th minute to acrobatically hit another goal past Mignolet. Now, it was 0-2.
But, Liverpool didn’t give up and ultimately, Daniel Sturridge would capitalize on a great pass from Coutinho to send the ball past De Gea despite a tight angle and it was suddenly 1-2. Fans hoped that there would indeed be a great comeback and Rodgers now brought in Balotelli in the place of Alberto Moreno.
Yet, there wouldn’t be much threat to the Manchester defense after the goal, as Liverpool’s midfield looked weaker. In the final minutes of the game though, Manchester would get a penalty after Daley Blind was adjudged to be fouled in the D-area by Emre Can. Wayne Rooney stood up to take the penalty. Yet, the scoreline would remain unchanged as Mignolet would make a great save by diving to the right.
Finally, the whistle would blow after the end of the 4 minutes of injury time and despite a strong performance in the second half, Liverpool wouldn’t be able to make a comeback.
Anyway, there are still a lot more things to attain this season and so let’s not lose our hopes just yet. Next week, there will be a weekend break which means there will be no official game. However, there will be the testimonial game for Steven Gerrard on March 29, where the Gerrard XI will be playing against Carrager XI at Anfield and we will have all the coverage for you right on Anfield Family.
The next official game though will be a crucial one, which will see Liverpool head to London to play a Premier League fixture against Arsenal on April 4. Arsenal are currently third on the table at 60 points and both teams will be looking for a victory. Prepare well lads!