LFC History
LFC Facts
LFC Honours
LFC Records
LFC Anfield
LFC All Time Players
LFC Premiership Years
LFC Early Years
LFC Europe
LFC FA Cup
LFC League Cup
LFC Charity Shield
LFC Head to Head
LFC Milestone Goals
LFC Penalties
LFC Captains
LFC Reserves
LFC Challenge Table
LFC Academy
LFC I'national Reds
LFC Transfers
LFC Links
LFC Hillsborough
LFC Heysel
LFC Rafa Benitez
LFC Everton Derby
LFC World Cup
LFC Euro Champs
LFC Hall Of Fame
LFC MOTM Award
LFC POTM Award
LFC New Stadium
LFC Injury Table
LFC Features
LFC Football Kits
LFC Wallpapers
LFC Songs & Chants
LFC Books
LFC Magazines
LFC Music
LFC Dvd's
LFC LFZ Twitter
LFC LFZ Forum
LFC LFZ Blog





Home



Match Summary

LIVERPOOL'S hopes of Champions League qualification suffered a major blow as they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Fernando Torres' header got the Reds off to the perfect start early on but United hit back courtesy of Wayne Rooney's controversial penalty.

A tight encounter was settled on the hour mark when Ji-Sung Park nodded Darren Fletcher's cross past Pepe Reina.

Liverpool now face an uphill battle in their bid to finish fourth, while United remain on course for a record-breaking 19th top flight title.

United's victory avenged last season's 4-1 trashing at Old Trafford and ended the Reds' run of three straight wins against their arch rivals.

The Reds went into the game on a high after emphatic wins over Portsmouth and Lille had provided a much needed boost to morale.

However, a Manchester United side, who hadn't conceded a league goal at home in nearly 12 hours of football, represented a far tougher test.

Rafa Benitez made just one change to the team which beat Lille 3-0 in the Europa League in midweek as Maxi Rodriguez replaced Ryan Babel on the left side of midfield.

For United, Park came in at the expense of Dimitar Berbatov, who dropped to the bench.

The game was billed as a shootout between Torres and Rooney and in a breathtaking opening the in-form strikers both netted.

Liverpool got off to a flyer as they broke the deadlock inside five minutes. Steven Gerrard's pass released Dirk Kuyt down the right and the Dutchman's perfect cross picked out Torres, who nodded past Edwin van der Sar.

It was Torres' fifth goal of the week following his doubles against Portsmouth and Lille.

However, the visiting fans' joy was shortlived as within seven minutes United restored parity.

Antonio Valencia's run into the box was halted by Javier Mascherano's clumsy challenge. Replays showed the foul was committed just outside the area but referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot and booked the Argentinian.

Rooney stepped up to take the penalty and although Pepe Reina did brilliantly to palm away his effort, the rebound dropped kindly for the England striker to score his 33rd goal of the campaign.

United grew in confidence as the half wore on and Liverpool had to defend resolutely to remain on level terms.

Midway through the first half Valencia got the better of Emiliano Insua and crossed for Park who headed wide of the far post.

Torres went into the book for a foul on Park and then just before the half hour mark Reina had to tip Nani's low shot behind.

Liverpool's cause wasn't helped by the fact that Webb awarded United a string of questionable free-kicks.

But they worked tirelessly to shut United down and endured few scares with Jamie Carragher outstanding at the heart of their defence.

On the stroke of half-time Carragher was booked for bringing down Darren Fletcher 25 yards out but Reina comfortably kept out Rooney's curling free-kick.

Liverpool remained on the back foot after the interval and on the hour they fell behind.

Rooney picked out Darren Fletcher on the right and his tempting cross was met by Park whose diving header gave Reina no chance.

The Reds responded brightly to that setback and could have levelled inside a minute.

Gerrard burst forward and his low centre teed up Torres but for once the Spaniard's first touch let him down and the chance went begging.

Gary Neville was lucky to escape punishment after his boot caught Rodriguez in the head and then Darren Fletcher somehow got away with a talking to after lashing out at Dirk Kuyt.

Benitez rung the changes in a bid to find a way back into the contest with Alberto Aquilani and Babel coming on for Kuyt and Rodriguez.

The Reds started to enjoy more possession but a number of promising attacks broke down and they failed to test Van der Sar.

Yossi Benayoun replaced Lucas but as Liverpool committed more players forward United almost claimed a third goal.

The hosts counter-attacked swiftly with Rooney turning inside Agger before dragging a shot narrowly wide.

Liverpool could have equalised at the death but Torres scuffed his shot when well placed and Benayoun headed straight at the keeper.

Courtesy of the Liverpool Echo

Team Line-ups and Substitutions

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Park (Scholes 87), Carrick, Nani (Giggs 79), Fletcher, Valencia, Rooney

Unused Subs: Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva, Evans, Berbatov, Obertan

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Insua, Carragher, Gerrard, Maxi (Babel 75), Mascherano, Lucas (Benayoun 83), Torres, Kuyt (Aquilani 72)

Unused Subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Kelly, Ngog

Referee: Howard Webb