Liverpool started off with an interesting formation, with AGger and Skrtel in center defense, Martin Kelly on the right and Enrique on the left.The interesting inclusion was Jamie Carragher. Where would he fit in everyone wondered? We all assumed it would be a five man defense. Liverpool started with Carragher playing in a holding position, probably to hold off Rooney if he ended up being included in the side. Henderson and Gerrard were the midfield pair, while Downing and Maxi were flanking Carroll. United started with De Gea in goal which was a huge help for Liverpool as he was quite nervous and shaky.
The match started off with Patrice Evra taking shit from the Kop and everyone else in the stadium. United dominated possession early, but they couldn’t do anything with it. Maxi applied the first pressure and brought a save from De Gea.
Valencia had the best shot until the 21′ when he easily flew past Maxi and hit a shot that beat Reina, but not the post. The 21′ brought a Liverpool corner through Enrique’s blocked shot. Andy Carroll, the hunk of a man, had three guys and De Gea man marking him. Gerrard’s corner bypasing Carroll where Agger flew in and headed it straight into the goal. Liverpoool 2, Manchester United 0.
The goal cued a warm-up by Lindegaard, no doubt it was some twisted way to give De Gea confidence. It apparently worked as the 27′ hcorner brought a confident De Gea punch.
Until the 39′, United held the majority of possession, but couldn’t seem to get anything out of it. Valencia ran past a flat-footed Enrique and crossed to Park in the box who finished with confidence past Reina. The half ended with more United pressure that easily could’ve amounted to a goal.
The second half started similarly to the first, with United pressure, but Liverpool started to rattle United’s back line. The main problem was Carragher’s inability to influence the match along with the two man midfield being bossed by Scholes, Giggs and Park. Kelly did a great job handling Giggs though.
Liverpool had another chance through the shaky De Gea as he passed the ball straight to Downing inside the box, but Downing couln’t settle it right away and did nothing with the chance.
Dalglish made his first substitutions in the 63′, with Kuyt and Charlie Adam coming on for Maxi and Carragher. It was a much needed change as Carragher couldn’t exert any influence and Maxi was quite poor. Gerrard came off in the 71′ for Bellamy. At first, the change made me appalled, but it turned out working ok as Gerrard had to have been tired from this past week.
With Adam, Kuyt and Bellamy on with 20 minutes to go, Liverpool looked much better, especially after Scholes was taken off for Hernandez. The pressure started to mount quickly with Adam and Kuyt fighting for a winning goal.
United had a quality chance, but Reina decided to play his second best position and swept the ball clear from Hernandez.
Valencia and Welbeck hooked up for a nice move, but Welbeck couldn’t keep it down making it a goal kick for Liverpool. Reina kicked the ball down the field for Carroll to make his contribution. He headed it on to a streaking Kuyt who caught Evra out of position. Kuyt made it into the box and blasted past De Gea giving him no chance to save. Liverpool 2, United 1 in the 88′. The crowd goes wild.
In a last ditch effort to equalize and force a replay, Berbatov came on for Giggs. United couldn’t do anything though because Henderson and Carroll were too busy play around in the United corner killing the rest of time. This brought full time.
After such a thrilling match, it’s hard to pick a man of the match. My money would be put on Carroll though. He was very lively from the whistle and put in a full 90 minutes full of flick-ons and chances.
The defense was solid, only letting one really good chance happen through Park’s goal. Other than that, they played solid and bossed around the United attack.
The midfield was iffy, but they were playing against two legends in Giggs and Scholes. You can’t put too much blame on them as Henderson and Gerrard, then Henderson and Adam all worked hard and hustled all over the pitch trying to gain ground. Carragher is included in here also, but he was particularly quiet having little influence in his 60 minutes.
The Liverpool attack was strong. Downing and Carroll had one of their best matches as a Red. Maxi was unforgettable, further showing why he doesn’t get minutes. Kuyt and Bellamy were great choices and their inclusion late made it possible for Liverpool to get the winning goal. After Kuyt’s long shift on Wednesday, he played 30 strong minutes and finished with his 50th goal as a Red. Congradulations Dirk Kuyt.
In other news, there is a man being detained for making monkey gestures. Fuck that guy and I hope he gets a ban and a huge fine for his shit.
But yeah, even more news.
Liverpool will face Brighton on the weekend of February 18-19 at Anfield. Liverpool handily won against Brighton earlier this year in the Carling Cup and Liverpool will look to continue their Carling Cup success in the FA Cup by advancing to the final eight.
I’ll be back tomorrow hopefully with a preview for Wolverhampton on Tuesday.