Saturday, February 11, 2012

Live Thoughts: Manchester United vs Liverpool (Premier League)

I covered this match live. Here are my unedited thoughts on the match between Liverpool and Manchester United!

Hey there, thanks for joining me for another Live Thoughts post. Big match tonight. We had a big match last week and drew against Spurs. This is a similar match in terms of importance. Big difference of course, it being in away from home to the English Premier League champions. And of course the rivalry between Liverpool and United. And even more, the racial abuse situation between Suarez and Evra. I'm not going into that situation anymore, simply because it's in the past now. We need to move on. Apparently Suarez and Evra will shake hands today and hopefully that will draw a line between the two players and we can all move on.

As for today, can we win? Sure we can. We'll need to work very hard on it though and with the United fans going to give Suarez dogs abuse today and it'd be a pretty sweet win if we can pull it off. It's not going to be easy though.

Here are the teams: 

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: Amos, Berbatov, Park, Hernandez, Fabio, Cleverley, Pogba.

So Evra starts today. This is a stronger United side than we beat a few weeks ago. We'll get a tough match today. Rooney is back, he's a threat we need to nullify.

Liverpool: Reina, Enrique, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Spearing, Gerrard, Henderson, Downing, Kuyt, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Carragher, Bellamy, Carroll, Adam, Shelvey, Kelly.

Carroll on the bench is a little disappointing, he had a good game against United a few weeks ago and I wanted him, Suarez and Gerrard to start for the first time. But he and Bellamy can cause problems later on hopefully. Suarez and Gerrard start so that's fantastic. A strong side is out today, one that can win if we're tactically well set up and we make the most of the possession we'll get.

1' - No handshake today from Evra and Suarez. It looked like Suarez avoided a handshake rather than Evra avoid it. Oh well. 

2' - Apparently Ferdinand withdrew his hand as well. It's a shame we can't all let bygones be bygones and move on. 

4' - I've got to be honest, United fan's booing of Suarez is quite tame, especially in comparison to the abuse the Liverpool fans gave Evra a few weeks ago. 

6' - Jose Enrique brings Valencia down JUST outside of the penalty box on the right wing. A free kick for United in a dangerous area. Glen Johnson heads it back for a corner. Ryan Giggs takes a corner and Rooney heads a tame shot and Reina collects easily.

9' - A nice bit of movement from Gerrard and Suarez set up Glen Johnson down the right wing, he cuts into the box and takes a shot with his left foot and De Gea meets to it. It was a decent shot though, and United shouldn't have given Johnson that much space then, he can be really dangerous. 

10' - Jeez, the United fans are being out-sung by the travelling Anfield faithful. Steven Gerrard chants at the moment. United fans, where are you? 

11' - That's twice now that Johnson has had space on the right wing. We seem to be playing better than United at the moment. Only just of course. 

14' - We're dealing with United quite well at the moment. Still early days. The only danger I can see at the moment is that Enrique has struggled with Valencia a little. 

16' - United have more possession than us, as expected. It's 56%/44% at the moment.

18' - Rafael! Good shot and saved by Reina. He curled that with his left shot outside of the box and it troubled Reina a little. Welbeck was waiting for a spill but there was none thankfully. 

21' - United looking a little more dangerous at the moment, certainly more than they did 10 minutes ago. 

24' - Despite United looking better now than they did earlier on, Johnson is still getting forward down the right wing, I really hope he can score today. 

26' - Rooney has a rare shot at goal. I say rare, because he's barely been relevant so far in this match. I hope I don't eat my words later. 

29' - Credit where its due, United have dealt with Suarez comfortably so far. It's a shame. 

30' - SCHOLES! Reaction save by Reina! A lovely bit of attacking play from United and it ends with a left wing cross that Scholes heads straight at the keeper.

31' - Welbeck is free! He tries to pass to Rooney but Agger is there thankfully. United are definitely starting to creep confidence into their play now. Not good!

34' - Evra! Just over the bar. Valencia chips a lovely cross and Evra meets it well. Just over. We need to do something about this and fast. 

37' - Welbeck looking dangerous skips past a few players, stays on his feet and tries to lay the ball to Rooney but it's just a little too much. Kudos to the young Englishman. 

40' - A bit of pressure from Liverpool now. Suarez and Kuyt combine nicely but Kuyt's legs are just a little too stretched to return a one-two with Suarez. We earn a corner.

41' - Two Liverpool corners and both were dangerous. The first ends with a fizzing Gerrard cross being dealt with by Rafael, the second corner ends with a Skrtel shot that's wide.

43' - Downing goes in the book. Took a chance with that, he takes down Rafael and it was always a losing battle while Rafael was pacing forward. 

44' - Suarez goes down and the referee gives nothing. After the replay it looked like an honest tackle by Ferdinand. Right decision from the ref Phil Dowd I'd say. 

45' - One minute of added time.

45+1' - Half time.

Well it was a cagey match for a good 30 minutes, I thought in that time we were the slightly better side. After that United really piled on the pressure and looked dangerous. Towards the end of the half we looked a little better but it's still goalless. Hopefully we can make a better impact in the second half.

46' - Late coming back to the match and I find us down a goal...

47' - GOAL! Rooney scores. He volleys a cross from a corner that Liverpool frankly, don't deal with. Not good.

49' - GOAL! We're two down. Jeez. Spearing gives the ball away and Valencia takes advantage, he puts the ball square to Rooney who's free in the box and he slides it past Reina. A brace for the old Bluenose in two minutes. 

51' - Sorry I'm late coming back to this match, a personal issue has occured. Quite angry at the moment both for the match and my personal situation. Liverpool need a quick response now. 45 minutes of solid defending has just gone to waste. 

54' - Carroll is now warming up. I think we need Bellamy at the moment not Carroll. 

56' - Rooney is hungry for a hat trick. I really hope we don't give him the pleasure of one. 

59' - Rooney was close to a hat trick then, Valencia crosses square again and Rooney is free in the box, he takes a touch too much and we intercept. Very close. He's been pretty rubbish in the first half and I knew I'd eat my words later. Frustrating. 

61' - Double Liverpool Substitution: Jay Spearing and Stewart Downing and come on for Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy. Good move if you ask me. Spearing must be distraught after being responsible for the second goal.

63' - The game is end to end at the moment, we're committed to attacking and United are counter attacking us. It feels like either we'll make a good comeback today or worse, we'll get a drubbing. Both sides are committed now.

66' - Gerrard and Rooney tussle and Gerrard ends up fowling Rooney. A decent battle from the Scouse duo.

69' - I can't see us getting anything from this game. Attacking-wise, we've not looked threatening enough. 

72' - United are playing the possession game at the moment, just pinging the ball back and forth in the middle of the pitch, while the fans are cheering every successful pass. 

75' - Liverpool Substitution: Dirk Kuyt comes off for Charlie Adam. I think this is to try and get us some possession and passing ability in the middle of the park. We have had the ball more in this half, 47%/53% so far in this half alone. That's all three subs used now for Liverpool. 

78' - Times ticking away. It feels like we've pretty much a hopeless cause now. United defending very well at the moment. 

79' - Michael Carrick is booked for a tackle on Suarez. Free kick.

80' - GOAL! SUAREZ! He quickly picks the ball up and heads for the centre of the pitch. A Charlie Adam free kick is inch perfect for the head of Suarez, Ferdinand and De Gea could do nothing. Come on Liverpool! 

82' - The complexion of the game is different now that we got a goal. We needed that. Hopefully we can get a second. 8 minutes of normal time left.

85' - Five minutes left... little showing we're going to get a second, come on...! 

88' - Same as above, nothing really showing from Liverpool that we're going to get a second. United defending well enough, delaying the play where they can. 

90' - We have three minutes to equalise. Come on Liverpool! 

90' -  JOHNSON! Great save by De Gea! Brilliant save, Johnson's shot was fierce from outside the box!

90+1' - Suarez heads and it's just over the bar! So close! He was offside anyway. 

90+4' - After about a minute of time wasting from Rooney by the corner flag it's full time.

Well, that was poor. Not our display, that wasn't poor, it wasn't great but it wasn't poor. United weren't that good either. A lapse in concentration from Liverpool let two goals in by Rooney, who in the first half was nowhere to be seen. Man of the match for me isn't Rooney, but was Valencia. In both matches against United recently he dominated the right wing. He let Jose Enrique chase shadows today and got an assist for his hard work. We weren't good enough. Simple as that. Ah well. Hopefully we can get a win next week against Brighton and move onwards and upwards from there. That's it from me today, enjoy the rest of your afternoon.

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