Manchester United vs Liverpool: As it happened...
Zeenews Sports Bureau
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 – 1 LIVERPOOL
Robin van Persie 19’ (Manchester United)
Nemanja Vidic 55’ (Manchester United)
Daniel Sturridge 57’ (Liverpool)
Evra’s goal has been given to Vidic for his crucial touch. Replays also suggest that Vidic was marginally offside when he inadvertently touched that. That’s a bit of a lucky goal for United then. But all that wouldn’t matter for Sir Alex as his team have picked up the crucial three points.
The real positive for United, though, was how their defense coped under a fair bit of late pressure from Liverpool. The Merseysiders can take away some positives too as the second half showed signs of a promising attacking partnership between Sturridge and Suarez. With Sterling also constantly improving, this could be a very strong attacking line-up by next season.
As for this season, United are strolling clear and are 10 points ahead at the top of the EPL table. All eyes will now be on the game at the Emirates as Arsenal could effectively kill off the title-race if they beat Manchester City today.
That’s it from us for now, as the Red Devil fans celebrate. Keep checking out Zeenews’ Sports section for live updates for some of the big matches in the EPL.
Here’s how it went down:
Full-Time: And of goes the whistle. United have moved 10 points clear at the top as City play their game in hand later today. But, most importantly, the Red Devils have claimed the spoils in one of the fiercest rivalries in English football. Man United 2, Liverpool 1 is how it ends.
90+3 min. United playing keep-ball in the attacking half and Agger slides in to chop down RVP. Free-kick to United with 30 seconds or so to play.
90+3 min. Free-kick to United at the half-line as Valencia wriggles around. That could provide United some much need respite.
90+1 min. United play the ball out wide on the right and Valencia crosses low and van Persie tries that fancy between the legs flick once again and almost pulls it off. Reina in the way though and Liverpool are back with the ball.
90 min. Sturridge hits the side-netting from a tight angle as the clock winds down. The fourth official has added on 4 crucial minutes as the 90 minutes have wound down. Will we see some late drama?
89 min. Liverpool are putting on more pressure here as the game inches towards injury time. Can United hold on?
86 min. Now Sturridge gets cute inside the box and Liverpool are trying to be too neat here. United clear it before any shot comes in!
85 min. Suarez wills his way in to the box with some nifty footwork and great determination and a scramble gives Sturridge a chance on his weaker foot from not-too-far away, inside the box, but he hits it over the goal. Liverpool need a few more of these.
84 min. A few football spars in midfield between the two teams as Liverpool look to get back their momentum.
83 min. The play has evened out a bit now and both teams are creating chances. Promises to be a grand final few minutes from Old Trafford.
81 min. Liverpool make a change of their own now.
SUB Henderson on for Allen (Liverpool)
80 min. Another substitution now and that’s United’s final change.
SUB Smalling on for Vidic (Manchester United)
78 min. CORNER Man United now. But nothing comes of it.
76 min. Johnson with a yellow card now for a tackle on Evra as the left-back was looking to break down the middle of mid-field. Substitution time now.
SUB Jones on for Kagawa (ManchesterUnited)
75 min. Gerrard curls the free-kick in but Vidic heads it out behind goal. Strangely, no corner given. Goal-kick to United.
74 min. Evra gets a yellow card now, the first for a Untied player. The defender clips Sturridge as he looked to run down the right wing. Good refereeing by Webb here.
72 min. Manchester United play a few sloppy passes and Sturridge just gets a toe in and nudges it to Borini outside the box who snaps a shot that goes wide. Liverpool in the ascendency here.
70 min. Suarez and Sturridge link up well there but the latter’s cutting pass isn’t controlled well enough by an advancing Suarez. A couple of minutes later, Suarez passes across the field to Sturridge who cuts in from the left and takes a shot but it’s wide. Liverpool are creating chances here!
68 min. Johnson takes a speculative shot along the ground from way out and De Gea is untroubled.
65 min. Kagawa takes advantage of a fortuitous bounce outside the box as United attack again. A first-time shot is brilliantly saved by Pepe Reina diving to his left. CORNER to United. RVP takes it but it bears no fruit.
63 min. Van Persie takes it and the wall stood firm. Still 2-1 to United here at a slightly red-hazed Old Trafford. This is becoming a very exciting match and the goal has given Liverpool a sense of belief. Replays suggest De Gea could’ve done better for Liverpool’s goal, perhaps parrying it wide instead of into the oncoming striker’s path.
60 min. The game has come back to life with that strike and the Liverpool fans have even set off a flare in the stands. Meanwhile, Gerrard tugs on RVP’s shirt just outside the box and that’s a free-kick to United. Dangerous position!
55 min. GOAL!! This time it’s Liverpool pulling one back. Gerrard takes a low strike from outside the box and De Gea saves to his right but Sturridge follows through and puts it in the back of the net. United caught off guard and it’s a one goal game again.
55 min. GOAL to United. They’re 2-0 up. Van Persie takes the free-kick and Evra gets to the end of it and heads it in, perhaps taking a deflection of Vidic. It may be Vidic’s goal but Evra will take the credit right now. Big goal here for the Red Devils.
54 min. Skrtel, the last man, pulls Welbeck down as he tries to get to a lobbed through ball. Free-kick to United and only a yellow card for Skrtel. That could’ve been red!
53 min. Liverpool showing way more intent now as Suarez passes it through to Wisdom on the right, but the promising play goes begging as Wisdom just rushes an awkward shot wide of the goal. Suarez is cutting a frustrating figure here.
51 min. Agger crosses it in from left midfield but Ferdinand gets his head to it once again and Cleverley clears it.
49 min. Kagawa plays another one-two with Cleverley and wins a dangerous free-kick with a foul drawn from Allen. The in-form van Persie shoots wide from the set-piece.
48 min. Van Persie lays it off to Welbeck as he skittles to the left and takes an outrageous shot with his left foot from outside the box and, predictably, that goes wide.
46 min. And the second-half kicks off. A couple of substitutions, one from either side.
SUB Valencia has come on for Young (MUFC)
SUB Sturridge has come on for Lucas (LFC)
Half-time: Kagawa and Carrick have been excellent in midfield with the Japanese star the centre of much of the passing. Carrick’s first-touch passing has been excellent too. The United defense has held its own, buoyed by the return of the deadly Vidic-Ferdinand partnership. The Liverpool defense, on its part, has seemed shaky and a few misplaced passes could’ve led to a far more disastrous half-time score had Agger, Skrtel or Gerrard not been at the right place at the right time with the right tackle. Young boy Wisdom hasn’t really troubled the United forwards either. So it’s been all United in the first half. Can Liverpool change the tide in the second?
45+6 min. It’s half-time then. And United go in a goal ahead. They’ve definitely been the better team, with crisper passing, stronger challenges in defense and more attacking intent. Downing has had another quiet game as the United defense has been refreshingly secure. De Gea hasn’t had to make a save of note so far. Reina, meanwhile, has had a fair bit to do apart from picking the ball up from the back of the net in the 19th minute.
45+4 min. Lucas catches Young as he tries to dribble through and Webb reaches for a rightful yellow card. Van Persie’s free kick is headed clear by Agger.
45 min. Another agonizing chance for United as Rafael brings the ball down well in the attacking box and slots a pass in to RVP who tries a cheeky back-heel flick which was averted from goal by a well-placed Skrtel leg. The resulting melee sees Kagawa clatter into Pepe Reina who clears it and goes down injured. The paramedics have treated the keeper and he seems alright now. Back to the game.
43 min. CORNER for Liverpool. Gerrard swings it in but Ferdinand rises highest and Welbeck clears it out of the box. Young still seems to be struggling and Valencia is warming up.
42 min. Young crosses from the right and Welbeck heads it behind him. Cleverley, coming on to it, takes it on the volley, but it goes wide. Good effort from the young England international. The United players aren’t giving Liverpool any space.
39 min. Suarez suddenly finds some space and time and it’s three-on-three. He tries a quick one-two with Gerrard but the Liverpool captain’s touch deserts him as the ball zooms out for a goal-kick.
35 min. Welbeck has another chance as Carrick passes it through to him. A turn of pace coupled with Skrtel’s slip gave him that extra yard but he blazed it over with his left leg. Good acceleration by the young forward. At the other end, Liverpool have a throw that Suarez desperately tries to control ahead of Ferdinand but slashes at it and the ball goes high and wide. That was never a chance for Suarez given the tight angle.
33 min. And Ashley Young trots gingerly on. Allen seems to have been distracted by that and hits a pathetic back-pass right to Welbeck, who tries to round the defense and shoot but Agger puts in a leg at the right time.
31 min. Young carries through on Agger as the defender hooves one clear but the United midfielder seems to have come off worse in the mélange. Cleverley kicks it out even as United were passing it around in the attacking third.
And Jose Mourinho, looking like a strangely Portuguese dementor, is also in the stands. Remember, United are Real’s next opponents in the Champions’ League. Young, meanwhile, limps off. Will this be the end of the afternoon for him? The players play on…
30 min. Kagawa has been very good this afternoon and has been the focus of much of the passing in midfield. Carrick has also been good with his one-touch passing. That’s really been the difference in this first half-hour at Old Trafford.
26 min. A nifty one-two between Joe Allen and Downing but the cross is well blocked by Evra. That should’ve been a corner but it’s given as a goal-kick. Immediately on the other end, that’s a chance by RVP’s standards. A pass to him as he moves to the edge of the box and tries to take it first time but only manages to curl it over a relieved Reina.
24 min. Liverpool need to respond but some poor passing at the back almost let van Persie through on goal. Gerrard’s heroic last-ditch slide-tackle saves the day for the Reds there. Liverpool then run it wide on their left, but Johnson’s cross falls tamely into the stands.
19 min. GOAL!! Some crisp passing with Kagawa as the focal point leads to the ball going out wide on the left to Evra. He takes a step and passes it in along the ground to an in-form van Persie who gracefully slots it, first time, to put United in front.
18 min. Welbeck does well to work his way in from the right before passing laying it off and van Persie’s shot is blocked.
16 min. Rafael, van Persie and Welbeck try to slalom their way through on the right but Johnson holds his own and the ball goes out for a goal-kick. At the other end, Suarez tries a dribble of his own, but Vidic stands firmly in the way.
15 min. Gerrard swings in another free-kick but Rafael heads it clear this time. Liverpool are making some headway thanks to some set-piece opportunities here.
13 min. Sterling wins a free-kick just across the half-line and Gerrard swings it in, but it’s headed out comfortably. Meanwhile, at the other end, Reina grabs on to a loose ball in the box as Welbeck looked to get to the end of a lobbed pass.
11 min. Great attacking pressure from United and some snappy passing in the attacking third. Luckily for Liverpool though, their defense holds firm as Reina gratefully accepts a deflected van Persie shot from outside the box.
9 min. CORNER for United and Young takes it, but a Kagawa foul gives Liverpool some respite.
8 min. United are beginning to keep the ball better, passing it around and Liverpool are just chasing them around the pitch. But it’s still far from a confident start from either side.
5 min. Evra crosses it in but that’s right into Reina’s hands. At the back, a Ferdinand-Vidic pairing after a really long time.
3 min. Scrappy early exchanges as neither team is holding on to the ball. Sign of nerves, perhaps, but let’s hope they get over it sooner rather than later.
0 min. The players have come out of the tunnel as the anticipation within Old Trafford builds further, if that were possible. Can United heap the pressure on their cross City rivals with a 10 point lead before City take on Arsenal later tonight? Or will Liverpool put one over their perennial rivals? We’ll find out in about 90 minutes of playing time. Here we go…
Man United: de Gea (GK), Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Carrick, Young, Cleverley, Kagawa, Welbeck, van Persie. (Subs: Amos, Jones, Smalling, Valencia, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez)
Liverpool: Reina (GK), Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Wisdom, Gerrard, Lucas, Allen, Downing, Sterling, Suarez. (Subs: Jones, Carragher, Robinson, Henderson, Shelvey, Sturridge, Borini)
The Build Up: The biggest league match in English football kicks off in Old Trafford today with Manchester United lining up at home against a Liverpool squad that has lost much of its past glory.
Read FULL PREVIEW»
But form often goes out of the window in derbies like these and this is expected to be another feisty affair. The pre-match mind games have been played by both camps and the focus, be it on Suarez or van Persie, will shift to all 22 players on the pitch as the match kicks off. Them, and controversial referee Howard Webb who has often been criticized for being partial to the Red Devils.
The Manchester team holds the upper hand on various counts: they are top of table in the league, 21 points ahead of the Merseyside club. They have also already won the reverse fixture at Anfield earlier this season, with a fortuitous 2-1 result that saw them struggle for much of the match but grab the three points after some 50-50 decisions went their way.
The same fixture last season was a match that was remembered more for the Evra-Suarez hand-shake snub rather than Rooney’s brace which gave United another 2-1 win.
With the talismanic striker missing this time around thanks to an injury the onus will be on who out of Suarez and van Persie can make a difference at the biggest stage of them all. Join us at 7pm Indian Time for live updates on the big match.