Premier League Highlights: Results and Analysis For Liverpool v Manchester United
Premier League results and highlights for the EPL fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United from Sunday, September 23, 2012.
Where: Anfield – Liverpool
Score: Liverpool 1 – 2 Manchester United
|Steven Gerrard (46’)||Rafael da Silva (51’)|
|Robin van Persie (81’)|
Dubbed one of the biggest matches in the Premier League, this match took on all new meanings with recent news and history. The pre-match ceremony as tribute to the 96 Liverpool supporters who lost their lives in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster was very moving.
The buildup included the two managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Brendan Rodgers meeting for a joint interview. The on pitch tribute included both teams warm up uniforms bearing the number 96, the team captains releasing 96 red balloons, and United legend Sir Bobby Charlton (himself a survivor of the Munich air disaster) and manager Sir Alex Ferguson laying flowers at the Kop end. During this time Liverpool supporters in the crowd held aloft papers that spelled out the words “Justice,” “The Truth,” and “96.”
The start of the match was initially dominated by United possession and buildup, but soon Liverpool were on the front foot and creating some great chances with United defenders coming to the rescue of goalkeeper Lindegaard.
Liverpool looked a different side from any of their previous matches. Rodgers passing and possession style seemed to be finally taking hold. Though this could have had to do as much with United’s lack of any controlling, defensive midfielder to break up the Red’s passing.
Liverpool’s midfield dominance and ball control gave them the opportunities to push forward and continue to create good chances.
Jonjo Shelvey’s straight red card for a late tackle on Jonny Evans might have changed the game, but United continued to look poor with their possession. Instead of holding the ball up and keeping control they continued to try to drive forward and make bad passes.
The second half Liverpool started strong again and it paid off with a Steven Gerrard goal.
Manchester United was able to answer back with a brilliantly taken curving shot by Rafael from the edge of the box.
From here United started to get a better grip on the game. The addition of Paul Scholes for Nani did much to help with this and they were able to retain more possession.
In the 76th minute Antonio Valencia was taken down in the box by Glen Johnson leading to Robin van Persie stepping up to take the penalty. United had 3 saved penalties in their last 3 matches (one of these taken by van Persie). This time RvP hammered the ball into the top corner despite Pepe Reina getting fingertips to it.
As the match progressed Liverpool became more and more desperate as they chased the game, and United, around the pitch. The last 5 minutes of stoppage time saw United with most of the possession.
While Liverpool seemed to be in control for most of the match (52% possession), the real turning point came shortly after Rafael’s 51st minute goal. Liverpool began to feel the effects of being down to ten men and it seemed inevitable that United would get the winner.
Liverpool had plenty of chances (14 shots with 6 on goal), but once again their finishing abilities let them down. On the other side Manchester United again struggled in the middle of the pitch and their ability to get the ball forward was a major weakness.
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