The Day The Reds Made the Devils Bleed…

It's been a while since I watched a live match, and part of the reason was time, but more importantly with the astronomical costs of watching a game in Singapore, my Premier League football watching days ground to a halt, once cable vision took over. Oh it's called EPL now? I guess it's been a while…
Anyway, there was a tremendous sense of occasion and I felt that the game between the Reds of Liverpool and the Red Devils of Manchester United would be an intense game between two old rivals that boast 38 league titles between them. Furthermore Man U are closing in on the total titles won, and are only 2 short of Liverpool's total.
This will be the first of many clashes this season, and soon after this, Liverpool will be facing Man U again in the League Cup, and it's David Moyes' first game at Liverpool as Man U's new manager, and he has never won at Anfield as a player or as a manager at Everton.
So on a sunny afternoon on the first of September, these giants of the game met, and boy, was there an encounter.
From the word go, Liverpool went out like Dobermans attacking a postman, and Man U were on the receiving end for the entire first half. And in the fourth minute, from a simple corner, a knock on by Agger was turned in by Dan Sturridge.
It was the slightest of glances, coming almost off the back of his head, but it befuddled the Man U defence and it went into the top left corner of the net, and the Liverpool crowd erupted into a roar, and Liverpool were ahead in the fourth minute!
The rest of the first half was all Liverpool. They continued to probe and attack the Man U half, with plenty of free kicks and making David De Gea work hard in goal. Steven Gerrad had a free-kick on goal, but it didn't have the pace to beat the keeper, who got behind the shot comfortable and a second free kick by Coutinho was off target.
Man U didn't get much possession and were surprisingly out of sorts, with the Liverpool side snapping at their heels. Passes were off the mark, and apart from a tame effort by Wellbeck, Mignolet was hardly troubled in goal for the first 45 minutes.
However despite the deafening cheering and singing from the Liverpool fans, Roger Brendan's team couldn't convert possession and attack into goals. Even so things were looking impressive for Liverpool as the team ended the first half separated by only Sturridge's goal.
Moyes must have learnt how to do his predecessor's hairdryer pep talk, as the Man U team that came out for the second half were a vastly improved side, and immediately eked out half a dozen corners in the first 20 minutes after the half time changeover.
There was a real sense of urgency, with positive movement on and off the ball, and it was Liverpool's turn to be unable to hold possession, and their passes in the second half were hurried, and no longer pin point. Their passing game turned for the worse, whilst Young and Nani constantly probed.
Even so, Mignolet wasn't really trouble, and he was comfortable in meeting the crosses and corners, but he was called into action by an incisive strike that went between Gerrard's legs and he dived brilliantly to the right whilst being unsighted to push the strong effort by Nani away.
This pressure by Man U increased as the game wore on, and there were a few anxious moments as Liverpool seemed to sit much further back and were not keen or motivated to bring the game to Man U, whereas Man U worked hard to find that equalizer.
Later in the closing stages of the game, the usually lethal Van Persie had a decent effort, but only managed to turn his effort into the side netting. All credit too, to Mignolet, who spread himself to deny Man U's deadly striker a large target.
It was tense as Man U probed, and produced many free kicks and corners, whilst Liverpool couldn't venture out of their own half for long stretches of the game.
Tempers flared as the game wore on, and tackles were flying in fast and furious. England manager Hodgson who was in the stands, will be anxious to see Glen Johnson leave the pitch injured, and Man U also lost Phil Jones early in the first half after challenging for the ball. Both captains had to be called to keep their players in check. No quarter was given or asked for in this clash between old foes.
However as the clock wore down, Man U fans become more desperate, and Liverpool ones also bit their nails to the flesh as waves of Man U attacks poured onto the Kop End, but it proved futile and in the last few minutes, Sterling even forced De Gea to tip a powerful shot over the bar.
There was no denying Liverpool, and a great roar arose as the referee blew the whistle, signifying Brendan's third victory of the season, but more importantly, a great hard fought victory against a side which seemed to be odd on more powerful, but the ball is round and can roll either way…
It's pressure on Moyes to whip the Man U team back to winning ways. One win, one draw and a loss isn't the way the champions want to start their campaign, and Liverpool need to continue their attacking ways the whole game, instead of faltering in the second half in order to be true title challengers.
But based on their past three wins, they deserve to be sitting on top of the fledging league table, and they have to thank Sturrigde for stepping up to top form in place of the banned biter Suarez, and he and the mighty Mignolet have proven to be the best signings and Mignolet's brilliant shot stopping abilities harken back to the days of Bruce Grobbelaar who was one of the best shot stoppers that stood between the posts for Liverpool.

Well done Liverpool, three clean sheets, three wins, a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of their legendary Scottish manager Bill Shankly and happy birthday Sturridge …




1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha. Laughing all the way. Best start to the week for all who'll never walk alone. 3 games, 3 wins, 3 goals = 9pts and top of the league. Unfamiliar territory for decades.

    Now to maintain the flow.

    BigBen

    ReplyDelete

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