Reds Take One Point From United Game

Gerrard celebrates...
Liverpool were forced to settle for a draw against Manchester United on Saturday with captain Steven Gerrard converting a fantastic free kick in the process. Manchester United found their equalizer with ten minutes left on the clock courtesy of front man Javier Hernandez.

Alex Ferguson obviously thought it would be better to leave Wayne Rooney on the bench for this fixture. After his Dad making the headlines and him tragically (note the sarcasm) missing 3 games in the World Cup, for some reason that means he can't handle 90 minutes. 

Liverpool took this as a positive but it appeared Manchester United had a bit of a game plan in place. They certainly seemed more happy in keeping out attacks than they did pushing forward anyway.

For Liverpool, Steven Gerrard made the start in midfield and Luis Suarez was opted on his own up front with Andy Carroll on the bench. I was very pleased with the starting eleven and it felt good knowing we had everybody fit and so plenty of options on the bench.

From the onset it was clear Manchester United were not going to concentrate on the attack but more so on the defence, it was a very negative set up from Ferguson who had left a lot of his starters on the bench. This however didn't stop United getting the first real shot at goal.

Evra delivered the ball and Phil Jones connected, a poor header though was sent wide and Liverpool remained out of danger.

During the first half the the stats on screen showed that United edged the possession, for me that was quite surprising because Liverpool were working hard and it looked like United couldn't keep hold of the ball. On the Guardian's chalkboards it says Liverpool made 13 interceptions in the first half so clearly the lads were getting stuck in.

Luis Suarez who was the sole man up front for Liverpool had a speculative long range effort go wide not long after United's chance. The game was slowly beginning to open up but with United acting so defensively it was taking a lot of effort.

Charlie Adam saw a shot blocked by Evans in the run up to half time but the ball came back out to an awaiting Suarez. Unfortunately all the Uruguayan could do was send the chance straight at De Gea who made the save. At the time it felt like we wouldn't get another chance as good as that and looking back, if we'd have converted i think we would have won with ease.

Liverpool were fantastic throughout the 90 minutes but i just felt as though we went too long without scoring for a side providing so much pressure. We all know what Manchester United are like, just that one chance and they'll change a whole game, whether you think you deserve to win or not.

Into the second half and Steven Gerrard paired with Charlie Adam in the middle of the park was continuing to be an impressive partnership. Jose Enrique is another player who had a cracking game and the work rate of Dirk Kuyt should surely be noted.

The Reds however needed a goal to back up all their efforts. United were struggling to break through in the small bouts of possession they maintained but Liverpool just couldn't seem to find the end product.

Rio Ferdinand got himself booked just after the 50 minute mark after a challenge on Suarez. Contact was made, Suarez made a meal of it but it was definitely a foul, the booking was perhaps a bit harsh however. Shortly after this incident, Lucas Leiva who had also been cautioned was replaced with Jordan Henderson.

It was Ferdinand who found himself in trouble again with 20 minutes left on the clock after a challenge on Charlie Adam. The referee was slightly inconsistent i thought because after concluding it was indeed a foul surely Rio should have been sent off?

Steven Gerrard stepped up to take the free kick from outside the area. The captain who made his first start in 6 months made sure this one counted and with a sweet ball sent his attempt through the wall and into the back of the net.

A sliding celebration complete with badge kissing and the reminder of it being his fifth goal against United was fantastic to see.

A double substitution after the goal saw Nani and Rooney entering the fray. I watched the match in a pub in town and all the United fans were doing was yelling for Rooney to come on.

It was the third substitute of Hernandez though five minutes later that would spoil the party for Liverpool.

The Mexican headed home from close range after a corner and grabbed United their equalizer. Some people are saying United didn't deserve to score, although i was absolutely gutted, like i said earlier, i just feel if we'd have taken our chances, then we would have had that cushion to keep us in the game.

With time left on the clock still to change things though, both sides suddenly were on the hunt for a winner. Liverpool arguably having the better of chances to collect the three points with a dipping effort from Henderson saved by De Gea. Followed by a header also from Henderson that was sent just over the bar.

I think Dalglish in his post match interview described it brilliantly, the fact that we're disappointed with a draw with Manchester United shows how far we've come. Annoying to only pick up one point after all our efforts but we shouldn't feel too hard done by.

Next up for Liverpool is a friendly against Rangers at the Ibrox and then Norwich come to Anfield.

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