Sunday, December 16, 2007

Apache strike unravels one dimensional Liverpool as the Reds end rival's title challenge....

The champions went briefly back to the top of the Premier League table courtesy of the only goal of the game scored on the stroke of half-time when a clever first-half Ryan Giggs corner in front of the Anfield Kop found the feet of Wayne Rooney, who was left totally unmarked on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area, the United striker's first time low drive was converted by Carlos Tevez who cleverly flicked the ball passed Pepe Reina who had no time to react.

Sky Sports expert pundits said that they thought United had planned the short corner routine after studying the way the Liverpool back-four marked opposing players inside the box. If indeed that was the case it was top marks for Fergie and his backroom team.

However, as so often has been the case down the years, as a spectacle it wasn't a great game to watch, with neither side controlling the first half. Ironically in that opening period Liverpool's best chances came after Edwin Van Der Sar made two major errors of judgement when going for cross balls which should have been left to the United defence to deal with. Thankfully, the little Brazilian Anderson was on hand to save the Dutch stopper when he cleared off the line, on the second occasion Fernando Torres blazed wide to the relief of the 3,000 strong travelling Red Army.

In the second half Liverpool had the lions share of the possession and referee Mark Halsey gave nearly every 50/50 decision to the home side, but despite penning United in their own half the home team could not find a way through the Reds rear guard.

As for United on too many second half occasions they fell into the trap of hitting the ball long in the style of Liverpool who throughout the game had reverted to lumping it down the park. From a technical point of view this game was not one to remember for the purist. The second-half only produced one really clear-cut goal scoring opportunity for the visitors when Ronaldo - who had a very poor game - found Rooney free on the edge of the Liverpool six yard box with only Reina to beat, but sadly the United striker pulled his shot wide of the target, the move was worthy of a goal and deserved a better finish.

Ryan Babel came on for Liverpool late on in the second-half and his introduction gave the Reds one major scare when he beat his man cut inside and fired just wide of the far post, but it wasn't to be as United hung on for that vital win which widens the gap between United and Liverpool to nine points. The result means that for Rafa Benitez the title race is all but over and perhaps Liverpool may well reflect on how much of their game centres of hitting the ball long, at times it was like watching England.

Ferguson was in reflective mood after the game saying that it was difficult for the referee Mark Halsey, but time and time again the man in the middle gave the big decisions to Liverpool but luckily for United and Fergie it was the Reds day, despite the best efforts of another very poor referee.

The London derby later in the afternoon finished up with Arsenal going back to the top of the league table courtesy of a first half headed goal by former Chelsea defender William Gallas and the news for Chelsea fans just got a whole lot worse with the news that John Terry has suffered a suspected fracture.

Sky Sports TV had billed the day as Grand Slam Sunday - an epic day - in truth it was anything but that, with both of the day's games leaving a lot to be desired. However, for United supporters the taste of victory is always sweet when it comes at the expense of Liverpool because there is no such thing as a bad win at Anfield.

1 comment:

  1. Could I get some comment from you please


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