On a very emotional day at Anfield, Manchester United beat bitter rivals Liverpool 2-1. Here are some quick thoughts on the game.
- I thought the prematch ceremonies were really well done. Both teams came out in tracksuits that had ’96′ on the back. Then Sir Bobby Charlton presented flowers to former Liverpool striker Ian Rush as captains Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs released 96 red balloons in memory of those who died. United fans were terrific, applauding the Hillsborough remembrance with the Liverpool fans and singing United songs when the rest of Anfield sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
- Once again United were really poor when playing at Liverpool. It’s been years since United have played well at Anfield. Even when Liverpool went down to ten men they were still the better of the two teams. United couldn’t string more than two passes together all day, lost almost every 50-50 tackle and rarely tested Reina. That said, at the end of the day it was a United and a big three points, at a ground that City could only get a draw.
- The biggest talking point of the game was when Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a two footed challenge on Jonny Evans. Both players went in with studs showing and a lot of commentators have said that either they both should have got red cards or both should have get yellow cards. I disagree. The difference in the tackles is that Shelvey went over the ball and planted his studs in to Evans. It was the type of tackle that could have broken Evan’s leg. That is why he was sent off.
- Does it worry anyone else that Paul Scholes was once again the game changer for United today? United cannot continue to rely of Scholes to keep rescuing them. Either play Tom Cleverley and see if he is Scholes’s successor or get sign another midfield star.
- As for the penalty, watching it live I did not think that Valencia was fouled. But after seeing the replay, it was clear that Johnson had two hands on Valencia’s back, as well as him clipping his heel. That being said, if it had been reversed and was Rio and Suarez and Liverpool got the penalty, I would be pissed at the decision.
What did you think of United’s performance today? Did Fergie get his line-up and tactics?