Birthday Boy Scores To Mark 100 Years Of Shankly

Shankly made the people happy and I'm sure he would have been immensely proud of Daniel Sturridge on Sunday as the number 15 found the back of the net for Liverpool after flicking on a Daniel Agger header. Shankly would have been 100 years old today and whilst Sturridge remains a year behind a quarter of that tally, the forward continued to make the people happy at Anfield yesterday as his goal secured a win over David Moyes' Manchester United.
Liverpool were the more dominant side in the first half as Manchester United struggled to deal with the pressure applied from the Reds. An early goal also aided Liverpool's progress and United at times seemed flustered messing up a lot of crosses and passes. The second half though saw United gain some control and the match ended with the devils having the majority of possession (57%). Liverpool fought hard though to ensure United could not break through with Martin Skrtel putting in a fantastic performance proving he hasn't lost it at all!

It was a mad start at Anfield for any Liverpool fan watching live yesterday, I don't know about you but I struggled to accept that we had in fact started the game very well and scored within 4 minutes, it just seemed surreal! The goal for Liverpool came going into the 4th minute when Steven Gerrard took a corner. The resulting cross met the head of Daniel Agger and his shot did look as though it was heading for goal, Sturridge either wasn't convinced or fancied stealing a goal for himself, either way it's a good job he put his head on it and converted because the replays showed that if left, Cleverly would have probably made the clearance. Sturridge was swamped by his team mates as he attempted to celebrate his birthday goal. I at this stage, sitting in a pub pretty much full of United fans had decided to complete my own rendition of the Sturridge dance! Haha!

To score so early against United is obviously a positive but it also creates a tense atmosphere because you know United will usually find an equaliser and once they've done that they find enough momentum to go and grab a winner. We've seen it happen too many times and so it was vital Liverpool kept control and essentially kept Robin Van Persie quiet.

Liverpool looked the better side in the first 45 minutes but there still wasn't that many chances being created. It didn't matter much though because United were also failing to really trouble Simon Mignolet. Whilst the imaginative footwork of Coutinho on occasions found paths throughthe United defence there was no final product. It became evident post match that Daniel Sturridge was playing through some pain and was actually quite concerned about taking shots (good job he scored with his head!) this perhaps explains though why sometimes Sturridge wasn't in the right place at the right time.

With just over 5 minutes of the first half left Manchester United had to make their first substitution after Phil Jones injured himself. Valencia took his place and did give United some more options. The end of the second half also saw tempers beginning to fray as Robin Van Persie was involved in an altercation with the Liverpool defence, Steven Gerrard soon sorted that situation out though!

The second half saw no changes from either side but the break appeared to have encouraged a faltering United side as they managed to retain more possession. Liverpool may not have been in charge of the ball but they were still constantly applying pressure to United making it as difficult as possible for them to find a way through. I was very pleased with this aspect of our game because I don't feel we looked as positive last season when we weren't in possession where as so far this season we have exactly the right attitude and set up for these situations.

Just before the hour mark Liverpool made their first substitution replacing Iago Aspas with Raheem Sterling. I must admit Aspas didn't have the best of games for me and he looked a little bit out of touch, it's still very early doors though for him. I was pleased to see Sterling enter the fray but this raised the only negative I'd spotted and that was the weakness of the bench. The addition of Sakho, Ilori and Moses will obviously help this situation and the return of Suarez but for me we still lack a little bit of edge, we don't have too many players we can bring on to really change a game.

Shortly after our sub United also made one bringing on Nani for Ashley Young. Nani has been out injured for a while (My source said he was still injured for the preview) and it was clear he'd been out of play for some time, his touch was nothing short of terrible and the United fans surrounding me in the pub were constantly moaning about his performance. It really didn't look like United were going to be able to find themselves a goal, they may have improved their performance in comparison to the first half but Liverpool were adamant that they would not break through.

Hernandez also came on for United with 20 minutes to go and he's always on the look out for a last minute goal but not even he could alter Moyes' fate of still never winning at Anfield. Liverpool made another substitution late on too after Johnson was injured, Andre Wisdom did well to keep his composure in a high tempo game. And finally Luis Alberto replaced Coutinho with 7 minutes left of full time.

In the second half United had forced Simon Mignolet into a couple of saves but nothing was getting past the man who has yet to concede in the Premier League. United also I noticed were forcing many shots from outside the area due to the struggle of making their way inside it. For me, they were never going to score from this far out and so their efforts were not rewarded. Very late on Liverpool nearly doubled their lead after a Raheem Sterling strike was tipped over the bar by David De Gea but it wasn't to be. Liverpool weren't bothered though, they had just recorded yet another win in the Premier League and over Manchester United!

I think we can all admit that the Reds were not playing to their best ability yesterday but that's the thing, if you can beat Manchester United whilst you're playing poorly that quite simply is brilliant! We'd have never of won that game yesterday if it was last season, we'd have crumbled and to see us fight on for the 90 minutes and hold another 1-0 lead, in a way it was fantastic. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not bothered how we go about winning at the moment, you can keep your sexy football, I'd take 1-0's all season and with Sturridge in the form that he is, with Suarez still to come back, this really is an exciting time for a Liverpool fan, of course we don't want to get too carried away but the early signs from this season prove that we CAN challenge for the Champions League.

Oh and in case you hadn't noticed... We're top of the league!

Next up for Liverpool is Swansea.

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