Tag Archives: Manchester United F.C.

Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool Match Report

26 Sep

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Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool were eliminated from the Capital One Cup against Manchester United at Old Trafford after Javier Hernandez’s goal proved the difference between the teams on the night when Luis Suarez returned for Liverpool. Liverpool dominated most of the match but could not break the United defence.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers selected a strong side to face United although Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger and Coutinho were still missing through injury. The big team news was the return of Luis Suarez after serving his 10 match ban. Mignolet kept goal with Toure at right-back and Skrtel and Sakho in the middle of defence and Enrique at left-back. Liverpool had a midfield consisting of Moses, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson and Suarez supporting Sturridge in attack.

 

The Match

 

United started brightly at the start of the match putting Liverpool under pressure and Nani’s deflected shot caused concern with Mignolet wrong footed but it fizzled wide.

 

After a hectic opening Liverpool gradually came into the game and established their passing game. A clever passing exchange between Suarez and Sturridge released the latter , who raced towards goal before prodding narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

 

Another attack saw Suarez control a long pass behind Johnny Evans but De Gea raced out to smother the danger. Liverpool were now in the ascendancy and were restricting United to very few chances in the final third.

 

Although Liverpool were bossing possession they were finding it difficult to create many chances against United’s resolute defence as both goalkeepers were virtual spectators.

 

But Liverpool were caught cold in the first minute of the second half when they conceded a corner which Rooney fired into the 6 yard box to Hernandez who found a yard of space to shin past Mignolet to give United the lead.

 

Liverpool responded with attacking urgency and almost equalised but Henderson’s side-footed effort went well wide after a clever back-heel from Sturridge.

 

United remained a threat going forward and Mignolet made a good save tipping over Kagawa’s powerful shot. Then Suarez ghosted past a challenge before firing into the side-netting.

 

Liverpool continued to press for an equaliser and they went very close when Enrique’s volleyed cross invited Moses to attempt a diving header but he directed his header straight at De Gea who made the save.

 

Then Suarez curled a free-kick from the edge of the box off the top of De Gea’s crossbar. With 15 minutes remaining Rooney produced two efforts in quick succession which threatened to kill off Liverpool’s hopes of an equaliser.

 

The first was a superbly taken free-kick which Mignolet pushed away before Rooney’s 20-yard curling effort was again denied by Mignolet from the resulting corner.

 

In the closing moments of the match Liverpool came close to taking the game into extra time first when Henderson whipped in a shot towards the near post which took De Gea by surprise smacking against the post before Suarez rolled the ball across to Toure, but the big defender dragged his effort off target as United managed to hang on to progress to the next round of the Capital One Cup.

 

Summary

 

Brendan Rodgers started as strong a team as he could and it was great to see Suarez back in action. But I thought United were there for the taking when I saw the team that Moyes selected with no Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Carrick and van Persie to name a few regulars. But after a good opening spell by the hosts it was all Liverpool possession and it is probably the best Liverpool have played this season. But for all the possession Liverpool never created too many chances and once again failed to score in the second half. It was a terrible goal to lose right at the start of the second half and another from a set-piece. How Hernandez found so much space inside the 6 yard box was criminal and should provide a steward’s enquiry. Suarez looked a bit rusty as expected but he gradually grew into the game. Skrtel was superb at the back once again and Mignolet pulled off a couple of great saves to keep Liverpool in the game. Sturridge was disappointing once again and looked frustrated similar to his appearance on Saturday. Very disappointing to lose the match against United after playing so well but Suarez returning to the team is a big plus and exiting the cup can hopefully help Liverpool concentrate on the league.

 

 

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Suarez Returns

24 Sep

Suarez Returns

 

Luis Suarez is at long last available to play for Liverpool again. His 10 match ban ended on Saturday and it was the only good thing for Liverpool relating to their defeat from Southampton. Liverpool looked short of attacking ideas on Saturday with Daniel Sturridge left a forlorn and frustrated figure.

 

The absence of Coutinho didn’t help Liverpool’s attacking options so the return of Suarez is a timely one with old foes Manchester United next up for the Reds on Wednesday. Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool’s American owners deserve tremendous credit for managing to hold on to their star striker during the summer when it appeared as if Suarez would head to pastures new.

 

But can Rodgers get Suarez to replicate the form of last season and can he prove just as prolific. Rodgers has to fit him back into the team alongside Sturridge who has stepped up to the plate in the Uruguayan’s absence.

 

Sturridge has thrived in the role of playing as the main striker but will he remain there when Suarez returns. I think Brendan Rodgers has to keep Sturridge playing where he is thriving and so he must either play Suarez on the left or in the number 10 position. For me Suarez will be better suited to playing in the hole behind the striker (Sturridge) where he will be more involved and more influential in Liverpool’s attacks whereas if he plays out wide he could struggle to influence attacks.

 

Suarez is a quality player and he is bound to add to Liverpool’s quality and striking options. But time will tell if his heart is still at Liverpool after all the transfer speculation during the summer. I think Suarez can only play one way and that is to give 100% no matter who he is playing for because of his love for the game.

 

Everyone knows that Suarez is no angel and he has missed a lot of football throughout his career due to suspensions from numerous misdemeanours that has plagued his career and tarnished his reputation.

 

So it will be interesting to see how Suarez behaves on his return to action. Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers will expect his behaviour to be much better but I don’t think Suarez can change. Suarez is so passionate about football and his emotions can cause him to react badly in a spur of the moment reaction.

 

All eyes will be on Saurez if as expected he plays at Old Trafford and hopefully his return grabs the headlines for all the right reasons.

 

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Sturridge Couldn’t Be Risked

14 Sep

Sturridge Couldn’t Be Risked

 

Daniel Sturridge missed England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine with a thigh problem sustained in Liverpool’s win over Manchester United but he could be fit for Liverpool’s trip to Swansea on Monday night after returning to training on Friday.

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has dismissed claims that Sturridge took the easy option to miss England’s matches by claiming that it was the FA doctors who made the decision on his fitness.

 

Rodgers stated that “Daniel was disappointed to miss England,” and said “medical experts made the decision. They deemed him not fit enough.” Rodgers also highlighted the fact that with Liverpool’s match not being played until Monday night has given Sturridge a better chance of being fit.

 

Sturridge and Rodgers should not be questioned regarding his absence from England’s matches because he made it clear that he had played against Manchester United while struggling with an injury and his injury should not be risked by playing for England.

 

People seem to forget that it was while playing for England at the end of last season that he picked up an injury which prevented him from taking part in most of Liverpool’s pre-season. Sturridge only appeared for 45 minutes against Celtic in Liverpool’s final pre-season game before Liverpool’s season started.

 

Sturridge has played in Liverpool’s first three league games of the season and is still playing catch up regarding his fitness after being injured for most of the summer. Liverpool have to protect their player from further injury after just coming back to fitness.

 

It is true what Rodgers says that with Liverpool playing on the Monday gives Sturridge more time to recover from his injury. Sturridge reported for England duty and he was assessed by England’s doctors so to question his commitment to his country is a joke.

 

There are times when it does look very suspicious when players pull out of international games only to be fit the following Saturday for their club’s fixture, but it is ridiculous to question Sturridge.

 

England will reap the rewards of an improving Sturridge in the coming months and years, but to possibly cause further injury to him when he is carrying an injury would have stupid. The English FA realised this and made the right decision but there is always some people out there who want to question a player’s commitment.

 

 

 

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Underrated Glen Johnson

12 Sep

Underrated  Glen Johnson

Liverpool and England right back Glen Johnson has made tremendous progress during his time at Anfield but still doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Johnson seems to be one of those players that is overlooked regarding his performances, probably because he is so consistent.

Johnson has been an England and Liverpool regular and now at the age of 29 both England and Liverpool are seeing the best of him. Johnson is quick and dangerous going forward and weighs in with a few goals from his attacking exploits.

Johnson had been criticised for his defending in the past but not so much nowadays. His defending is first class and not many attackers get behind him. Johnson makes last ditch tackles to prevent the opposition scoring on countless occasions and he recently picked up an injury after applying a full blooded, bone crunching tackle on Manchester United’s Patrice Evra which unfortunately will keep him out for several weeks of action.

You don’t realise how much you miss someone until their unavailable and Liverpool will appreciate this with Johnson’s injury. The obvious replacement for Johnson will be Andre Wisdom but he still lacks experience and it was recently rumoured that he might have went out on loan to another club to gain the necessary experience until Sebastian Coates suffered a season ending injury.

Martin Kelly is still recovering from his long term injury as he struggles for match fitness and so Liverpool could find Johnson’s injury a real problem.

Johnson’s versatility has also seen him play at left back where he has displayed just as much consistency as on the right. Johnson’s experience is valuable to the younger players coming through too and there will be a lack of experience down the right side of Liverpool’s defence in the coming weeks that could pose a problem.

I was never that keen on Johnson’s arrival to Anfield and the expensive price tag didn’t help on my assumption. But it is never a player’s fault that a club is prepared to pay “silly” money for them, but it can cause problems of expectancy from supporters.

I thought Johnson was poor at defending and never created enough going forward but during his Anfield career I have been proved wrong and appreciate him now as a top class defender. But Johnson still doesn’t receive the recognition his talent deserves and it is about time he was appreciated.

Probably Glen Johnson likes it the way the spotlight is never on him as he continues quietly performing consistently for club and country. It’s just a shame he will need to wait a few weeks to continue his tremendous form.

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Farewell Sir Alex

8 May

 

Farewell Sir Alex

Saw the news last night on social media networks that Sir Alex Ferguson was retiring at the end of the season. I took the news with a pinch of salt and as wishful thinking. But the news broke this morning and I have to say that as a Liverpool supporter I am very happy that he has decided to retire.

I wish he had done it a few years ago to be honest but glad this day has finally come and I’m sure a few people around the country will celebrate this news. The response of his retiring has a similar reaction to Maggie Thatcher’s passing.

OK so envy and jealousy of Fergie’s success and his achievement of knocking Liverpool of their perch as United have overtaken our haul of 18 League titles under his reign has made me long for this day. But as joyous as the day is it must be gut wrenching for the supporters of Manchester United supporters as their “Sir” announces his retirement.

United fans knew the day would come but dreaded thinking about it. Now is that day and although they have a great squad of players and are current Premiership Champions, the future remains uncertain. It doesn’t matter if you are a supporter of Manchester United or Rochdale whenever there is a change of manager the future is unclear, and after the success enjoyed under the leadership of Fergie his successor will have a very difficult task of continuing his great work.

Candidates of his successor have already been mentioned and the top two at this time of writing are Jose Mourinho and Davie Moyes.

Mourinho is a tremendous manager and I think he would sit comfortably on Fergie’s throne and achieve more success for United. I think Mourinho would also lure Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

Moyes is a great manager in his own right and he has done a marvellous job at Everton over the years on a shoe string budget and he has shown great loyalty to Everton, but for Moyes to get the opportunity to manage Manchester United it would be very difficult for him to decline the chance.

It would be a totally different challenge for Moyes at United with expectations so much higher than at Everton. Moyes is also lacking in European experience which would be needed at United.

So personally I hope United choose Moyes for Fergie’s successor as I think it could be too different a job from what he’s used to at Everton, and I think he would struggle.

But I remain happy at the fact that there is change at long last at Old Trafford after constant domination over the last 20 years which Liverpool enjoyed during the 70’s and 80’s. Liverpool had more managers during that time but it was men who knew the club inside out, Shankly, Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish.

United have relied on one man’s great managerial qualities for a very long time, just like they did with Matt Busby and when he left they struggled. Football seems to work in cycles and I’m hoping a new cycle is beginning in the way it did when Busby left and United don’t win another title for another 20 or so years.

I never liked Fergie as a manager, like I said earlier I was envy and jealous of the success he brought to United, but I didn’t like the way he constantly berated officials and very rarely showed respect to his opponents after a defeat. His collection of silverware is second to none but he lacks the class of Shankly, Paisley and Matt Busby in the way he conducts himself compared to them.

But at the end of the day his style of management, love him or hate him, has won him countless trophies and you can’t take that away from him. So in a mark of respect from a Liverpool supporter to Sir Alex Ferguson, I wish you a happy retirement but I am glad to see you go.

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Public Enemy Number One

22 Apr

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Public Enemy Number One

 

Luis Suarez grabbed all the headlines once again for all the wrong reasons after taking a bite out of Chelsea defender Ivanovic’s arm at Anfield. Suarez has hardly been out of the headlines since joining Liverpool but his latest action has brought disgust and calls for him to booted out of Liverpool for this unsavoury incident.

 

Suarez has cleaned up his diving act in recent months as he has tried to improve his image highlighted by the nation’s media. The media have constantly hounded the Uruguayan since he arrived on our shores and every wrong move by Suarez has been headline news.

 

The biggest saga until now was the ban after allegedly racially abusing Manchester United’s Evra which resulted in the striker receiving an 8 match ban and a fine of £40,000. Many believe former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish lost his job over the defence of Suarez.

 

But Liverpool have once again been let down by Suarez and once again he has put them in a difficult position. The biting incident has shocked the country, even though Suarez has previous after being banned for by the Dutch FA for 7 matches after biting PSV midfielder Bakkal while playing for Ajax.

 

Suarez is one of the best strikers in the world but he has serious flaws and he is capable of anything good and bad.

 

Liverpool have come out and handled the situation well by making Suarez apologise for his conduct and fining him, but also by stating that he will remain a Liverpool player.

 

Credit has to go to Ivanovic for not making a meal of the whole situation where many players would and Rafa Benitez also deserves a lot of credit for not getting involved when interrogated after the match by the media.

 

It is a nonsense for people to say Suarez should be kicked out of Liverpool and it won’t happen. Footballers don’t get sacked and they are important commodities and worth a lot of money to their club and unless Liverpool get offered a massive amount of money for Suarez, then he will remain a Liverpool player.

 

Suarez will get banned by the FA and he and Liverpool will accept the ban and life will go on and Suarez will continue to score goals for Liverpool and he will get booked occasionally but Liverpool will do all they can to help their star striker with his on the field behavioural problems.

 

 

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