12 February 2012
Rooney Brace Sinks Reds
This match was always going to be focused on the saga between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra and unfortunately things didn't get off to a very good start in a game which saw Liverpool lose 2-1.
Luis Suarez decided not to shake Patrice Evra's hand to which Evra reacted physically to by attempting to pull Suarez's hand away from De Gea's. For me, it wasn't a surprise but i did hope Suarez would at least offer his hand however he didn't and if you don't get on with somebody, shaking hands isn't always the most ideal thing to do, especially when you think the person is a liar.
Suarez though does not make things easy for himself and i feel if he'd of just shaken Evra's hand then the dust may have settled. I see both sides of the fence and the possibility that Suarez may have felt he was showing guilt if he did shake Evra's hand but i still think he should have went for it. The fans who have read that 115 page FA report, (the one which so many haven't bothered to read) would have still kept their original opinion on things, handshake or not.
Luis Suarez has now released a full statement via the club website which i think was the right thing to do. Hopefully now we can move on and focus on what Suarez does best - football.
So, on to the game...
Liverpool brought back Jose Enrique into the back four and Andy Carroll was dropped with Suarez as the lone man up front. United chose Rooney to start up front alone and De Gea was chosen again to face the side that put two past him in the FA Cup.
The first half for Liverpool was quite a positive one. There was a lot of penetration down the right hand side courtesy of Glen Johnson who was making mince meat of Evra's attempts to stop him. The defender cut inside on several occasions and saw an early attempt go just wide as the Reds looked for an opener at Old Trafford.
United weren't keeping any real possession but the problem once again for Liverpool was that despite having plenty of the ball, there was no end product.
With Bellamy and Carroll on the bench it was left to Suarez really to supply the threat but aside from a threatening run that was stopped by a well timed Rio Ferdinand tackle, the Uruguayan couldn't really find himself on the end of any real attempts.
Half time came at the right time for Liverpool because Manchester United were beginning to gain a foothold in the closing minutes of the first half. I felt confident that the half time interval would allow us to calm down and rethink what we were doing because we weren't necessarily doing anything wrong, it was just the question of where that goal was going to come from.
Dalglish's half time talk though didn't even get chance to sink in as Wayne Rooney popped up to put United ahead. A volley left Reina with no chance after the Giggs corner did enough to trouble the defence.
Going down to United at Old Trafford is always a big blow but Liverpool shouldn't have felt like they were out of it yet. The first half was quiet but they more than matched United.
Rooney made sure that Liverpool would have to work their socks off though to get anything out of this game after he found himself with another great chance.
Unfortunately for Liverpool the chance came after a mistake by Jay Spearing, i just don't understand why he didn't take the easy option for a pass, baffled me. The assist from Valencia allowed Rooney through on goal and he slipped his strike underneath Pepe Reina and through his legs - horrible to watch.
It really did feel like a massive task now for Liverpool but you can never quite rule us out.
Dalglish brought on Bellamy and Carroll on the hour mark in an attempt to inject some more attacking options.
Bellamy had one of his quieter games and although Carroll was once again winning balls and creating flick ons it still just wasn't quite happening in front of goal.
It was left to none other than Luis Suarez to put Liverpool back into the game. A free kick from Charlie Adam was swung over, a deflection from Rio Ferdinand set up Suarez with an easy conversion and the forward flicked the ball past De Gea and into the United net.
With ten minutes still left to go, this became a nervy end for Liverpool. With so little time to find a goal after it had taken us so long to score, it didn't look favourable.
Glen Johnson had the best effort with a fizzing shot from outside the box, De Gea managed to get his fingertips to it though and sent the ball over the bar.
The final whistle allowed Evra to bounce around Suarez and celebrate like he'd won the league or something which i think was a bit daft because he knows he was provoking Suarez.
What i also didn't appreciate and would like to see something something done about was when Rooney was being interviewed post match, you could quite clearly hear from the United dressing room chants of "Racist Bastard", i personally think that is totally out of order, even more so when it's live on air.
What baffled me even more is that they were chanting that but Evra said himself in his opening statements of the report that he didn't think Luis Suarez was a racist. I just wish this case had gone to a court of law because then none of this would have happened. Hopefully as i say though, things will settle down now and we can all move on.
United probably deserved to win in the end because Liverpool once again failed to score when they had all the possession. The thing that bugs me is that without any new signings, the only way to start scoring more goals is to keep working hard.
It turned out to be an ok weekend results wise for Liverpool though, still only 4 points off 4th spot.
Liverpool face Brighton next in the FA Cup at Anfield.