Sunday, March 06, 2011

Dowd gives Liverpool big decisions as United fail Anfield test....

United were in action on Sunday when they travelled to Anfield for what was a very important Premier League fixture. Liverpool ran out three one winners, but the game turned on some big decisions by referee Phil Dowd.

United had marginally the better of it where possession was concerned in the opening exchanges; Berbatov hit the woodwork from long-range. However, it was Liverpool who took the lead on 34 minutes and for the second game in succession there was refereeing controversey; earlier this week Martin Atkinson gifted Chelsea three points when he failed to send off David Luiz for persistent fouling, the same referee also awarded a very soft penalty to the home team.

In the build up to Liverpool taking the lead at Anfield, Phil Dowd awarded the Merseyside Reds a somewhat dubious free-kick outside the United penalty area when Paul Scholes was adjudged guilty of committing a foul. TV replays suggested the free-kick should have gone United's way - it didn't, and it led directly to Liverpool putting the visitors under pressure. Smalling had a chance to clear the ball from deep within the United penalty area, but he failed to deal with it when losing possession in the box, the ball eventually came to Suarez who then skillfully bamboozled Rafael and then skipped round a half-hearted challenge by Michael Carrick before threading the ball under Van der Sar to Dirk Kuyt who had the simple task of knocking the ball into an open net.

Before United had time to recover their composure, they were two-nil down and this time it was a gift of goal. Nani tracked back well to help defend a Liverpool attack, but his mis-directed header looped over Carrick's head towards the United goal and onto the head of Kuyt who couldn't miss from two yards out.

Phil Dowd then failed to do what he should have done, when he only booked Jamie Carragher for a dangerous and wreckless tackle on Nani; it was the sort of tackle that could easily have finished the United winger's career. Former Liverpool player and manager Graeme Souness said it was a definite sending off.

That incident led to several angry confrontations; Rafael got himself booked for a poor looking challenge, but TV replays confirmed he'd not touched the Liverpool player. Just moments earlier the young Brazilian had been caught himself with another crude Liverpool tackle.

Liverpool sealed the win on 65 minutes when Van der Sar made a mistake when failing to deal effectively with a Suarez free-kick from a dangerous area just outside the visitors penalty area; United's Dutch keeper could have held onto the ball or pushed it to safety - but he did neither, instead he parried the ball to the predatory Kuyt to score his hat-trick.

Hernandez scored a late consolation goal for United, but it wasn't enough. Phil Dowd got the big decisions wrong today; United paid the price, but ultimately they weren't collectively good enough to overcome an improving Liverpool team.

Carragher should have been sent off, but Phil Dowd bottled making what was a big decision - the right decision at that - if the referee had done his job properly who knows what might happened?...

For the second game in a row, United have suffered because of poor refereeing. But ultimately, too many United players didn't turn up at Anfield.

Earlier this week Michael Carrick was rewarded with a new long-term deal, but against Liverpool he let United down because his tackling left a lot to be desired.

United won't be too disheartened though, especially if Liverpool play with as much spirit against Arsenal and Manchester City later in the season.

United fans have bitter memories of Liverpool rolling over and losing 2-0 against Chelsea at Anfield 12 months ago in the last title run-in; a result which virtually ensured the Premier League trophy ended up in West London.

To end on something of a positive note on what has been a very bad day and a bad week for United: Liverpool still have any eye on a top four finish, so hopefully they won't be rolling over for anyone.

6 comments:

  1. how bias do you want to be, Considering your bringing up a past game with chelsea why dont you say anything about rooney's elbow nah i thought you wouldn't and as for Carragher's tackle yes it was a red, but... so was rafael's tackle which could also have end'd lucas's career, so instead of crying because Webb and Clattenberg wasn't the ref grow up and admit it could have easily been 4 or 5 goals from us today

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  2. I can't agree that the game turned on Dowd's decisions.

    Nobody gets them all right, but the side was going down no matter what.

    Carragher could have been sent off, and the studs-up challenge on Rafael was missed, but in truth, I thought he did a good job of keeping the lid on an increasingly wild game.

    Certainly, this was nothing like the Chelsea match, where poor refereeing really did cost us a point (at least).

    Here, we were awful, and deserved to lose.

    As for the game, the midfield continued to suffer both a lack of commitment and creativity. Giggs is deservedly a legend, but what happens when he goes off the boil (as he has the last couple games)?

    Outside of Giggs (and sometimes Scholes), United lack a midfielder with an incisive, creative passing style.

    I've seen flashes of it from Gibson, but I'd suggest a couple strong midfielders should be on Fergie's summer shopping list.

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  3. This is a typical one eyed article.
    Yes Jamie's challenge was high,and yes there are officials that would produce a red, but to ignore Rafael's challenge on Lucas because there was no contact is a joke! I believe intent can warrant a red card.

    I suppose you would prefer a ref that ignores players that use their elbows.

    On this occasion the best team won.
    YNWA

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  4. Not defending Carraghers tackle as it was a disgrace but the only reason Rafael didnt make contact as you say was because Lucas dived out of the way. That too was a leg-breaker and should have been a red. The referees decisions were poor but I thought Liverpool dominated most of the game and were well deserved winners. Even if Carragher had gone, I dont think United had enough about them today to get a result although obviously we will never know. Vidic and Ferdinand being out obviously helped us but I thought your midfield was non-existent and I expect Fergie to be signing one, if not two top midfielders this summer. Great day for us but I still think number 19 is Old Trafford bound. Unfortunately.

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  5. There were some poor refereeing decisions but I don't know that it really cost us the game. Yes Carragher should have been sent off. I also believe Rafael should have been sent off and Nani can also consider himself very lucky that he wasent being stretchered off with a red card for pushing the ref (was listening to radio during first half so I believe he got up, chased ref and pushed him when Carragher got away without a red) - and yeah ok you can argue that Nani wouldn't have done that had Carragher got the red that he should have but Nani's actions could have seen US reduced to 10 men.

    Liverpool were just a lot better than us. Or is it that we were just much worse than them. Carrick is terrible. Another awful game yet he just get a new contract?! Our midfield just didn't show up and it left a dodgy centre defence vulnerable.
    Rafael scares the crap out of me. Great prospect but the guy is gonna get himself sent off several times a season the way he carries on. Everytime I see him play I feel like he is going to let us down. He cost us the Bayern game, he should have been sent off yesterday and his sending off against Spurs at WHL could have cost us that game too. He just seems extremely rash when there is no need to be.

    I think yesterday proved one thing to me. Earlier on in the season we could play like that yet somehow remain undefeated. That bubble has burst. If we play this badly away from home - we lose. We were unlucky and were perhaps the better team against Chelsea but Liverpool just simply outplayed us.

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  6. The referee's decisions did affect the outcome of this game. That dodgy free kick put United's defence under pressure but it should have been awarded to the visitors. The Carragher tackle was a digrace as is Phil Dowd.

    I've never really rated Carrick and the fact that Fletcher and Carrick have been rewarded with new long-term deals should concern all United fans.

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