Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Manchester United v Liverpool, March 14, Premier League

The final score was 1-4 and Liverpool thrashed Manchester United at Old Trafford. Alex Ferguson claimed after the game that Man U were the better team but that has to be a part of some weird media and mind game that he keeps playing. The truth of the matter is that Liverpool were clearly superior on the day and deserved not just the win, but the scoreline as well.

After a Christiano Ronaldo penalty gave them the lead, Man U struggled to create any further chances and Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez struggled to trouble the Liverpool defense throughout. Even after Berba’s introduction late in the game, things didn’t really change for them while Liverpool did exactly what you expect them to. Rafa’s team defended well and took their chances as and when they got them.

Vidic had a horrible afternoon and it was his mistake in defending the long ball that allowed Torres to score Pool’s equalizer. Nine times out of ten, you would expect Vidic to deal with those balls but if there is a striker who would make complete use of any mistakes then it is Torres and he did just that. Gerrard and Torres combined brilliantly for the second goal. Gerrard flicked on a long ball to Torres and made a run into the box. Torres played an inch perfect pass to Gerrard which was just enough for him to reach and just enough to tempt Evra to go in for the tackle which resulted in a penalty that Gerrard duly scored. Then in the second half, when United already looked beaten at 2-1, Vidic made another mistake to lose the ball to Gerrard who would have had a free run on goal had not Vidic then grounded him. Hence a red to Vidic, a free kick to Pool and a great strike from Aurelio to make it 3-1. The 4th again came from a long ball which no Man U player wanted to defend and Dossena chipped it over a stranded Van der Saar to get his second goal in two games (the last being against Real Madrid).

So Man U dropped points, but to say that the title race is now back on again is a little premature. They will need to do so at least a couple more times before mid April while Chelsea and Pool pick up maximum, for there to be any real excitement as we near the finish.

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