On the 14th March, 2009 I turned 17. One of the best presents I was given that day was Liverpool beating Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford.
As I settled down to watch the game (whilst attempting to read Shakespeare’s Henry V) I had high hopes for the result in Liverpool’s favour, following their recent run of relatively good form which matched Manchester United’s 4 wins out of 6. Naturally, I had some concerns as to whether or not Liverpool will be up to the mark against their rivals, but on the whole I believed they had a fair chance at gaining at least a point. The often-fiery fixture began on good times, as long-term rivals Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shook hands before the match.
In the first half, I was left thoroughly disappointed. Robin van Persie put United ahead after 19 minutes, leaving me anxious about the outcome of the rest of the game. Liverpool to me didn’t look particularly lively, and lacked the intensity needed for such a fixture.
With the team apparently settling down into Brendan Rodgers‘ regime, and the manager making some vital changes, I would like to think that things are looking up at the club. Daniel Sturridge is one of these changes, and was brought on to replace the quiet Lucas Leiva at half time. Although I cannot say I fancied spending £12 million on such a young player, I believe the signing is a step in the right direction. Personally, I feel that spending so much on someone who is yet to prove himself as a top footballer is not great. However, the striker has pledged his allegiance to the club, who he claims is ‘the greatest club in the Premier League‘, and after today has scored in both of his two appearances for the club.
This goal by Sturridge put Liverpool back into the game after Nemanja Vidic scored from what was arguably an offside position in the 54th minute, following a free kick given away by Martin Skrtel, who was lucky to get away with a yellow card for his challenge on Robin van Persie. Sturridge, along with fellow substitute Fabio Borini, brought some spark and intensity to the somewhat lacklustre Liverpool team. Although Sturridge had the chance to level the game, he appeared to panic when the ball fell to him after a brave battle by Luis Suarez in the Manchester United box.
In addition to Sturridge’s chance, Liverpool could have made it 1-1 when full back Andre Wisdom was through on goal minutes before the Vidic goal, only to steer the ball wide. Borini also fired wide, missing the target after 75 minutes. Shinji Kagawa also came close for Manchester United, though Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina pulled off a fine save to prevent his team from going three down.
The final whistle blew, leaving the score at 2-1 to Manchester United. Again, Liverpool’s lack of passion, drive and energy in the first half has left them coming away without a point. Simple defending errors and misplacement of passes also contributed to the team going two goals down. Having said this, hopefully Brendan Rodgers and his team can capitalise on their performance in the last 30 minutes of the game, where they were unlucky not to pull it back, and take the energy into forthcoming fixtures.
As a Liverpool fan, I am understandably disappointed with the result, though I am going to choose to remember only the last 30 minutes, which made for positive viewing.
A tough lesson to learn for the Liverpool lads.
- The biggest derby in the world: Manchester United v Liverpool (lfcboston.wordpress.com)
- Daniel Sturridge is a gamble for Liverpool, says Sir Alex Ferguson (guardian.co.uk)
- Manchester United v Liverpool – live! – The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- Ex-Chelsea striker Sturridge: Liverpool biggest club I have played for (tribalfootball.com)