A fine all round Liverpool performance proves too much for an United side missing key players. Liverpool exploited the missing demanding center half duo of Ferdinand and Vidic. Suarez and Kuyt ran Smalling and Brown ragged all game. However, both teams could have been down to 10 which would have turned the game around.
Liverpool started strongly creating many chances testing Van Der Sar early but both Suarez and Maxi missed the target. The first real chance came on 15 minutes, Berbatov took a shot from outside the penalty area, Reina was beaten but he struck the post. The game turned on that moment, Liverpool realized it wasn’t going all their way. Liverpool kept on pressing looking for the first goal and it came with 33 minutes gone. A cross was not cleared by United, it fell to Kyrgiakos who played a neat ball into Suarez’s feet. Suarez danced in between Rafael, Carrick and Brown, and managed to square the ball across the goal where Kuyt had an easy tap in. Suarez’s skill was sensational, his footwork and ball control was superb as he beat three players also having the vision and awareness to square the ball to an unmarked Kuyt.
United were shell shocked and 5 minutes after the first, the second came and Liverpool got it on 39 minutes. Good play down the right allowed enough time for Suarez to cross but the cross was too deep, Nani rose but somehow managed to head it behind his back four. Kuyt crept his way into the space and had another easy chance where he made it 2-0. Would the hairdryer come out at half time from Fergie?
United were looking to keep it down to just 2-0 until the break, right on 45 minutes the ball was played to Nani on the left wing. Carragher came in and made a horrific challenge on Nani catching him just above his left shin. Carragher had one thing on his mind and it was to injury Nani. Nani didn’t do himself any favors, he limped up and pushed the ref before falling back on the floor waiting to be stretched off for his injury. Carragher was booked for the challenge but he should have been sent off which would have changed the game.
The half didn’t end there, a ball broke loose in the right back position of United, Rafael started a run where Maxi stuck a leg out which was a foul, Phil Dowd let it go, Rafael lost control of the ball, in the heat of the moment he jumped in with two feet on Lucas. Dowd just stood and watched where he gave Rafael and Skrtel yellow cards for the tackle and the reaction respectively. Again, it could have been a red card.
United come out in the second half much better, having more possession and creating more chances. Hernandez has two chances but one is blocked and Rooney fails with a pass in behind for him. Giggs goes close with a rasping drive from just outside the area which goes just over the bar. The big chance for United to get back into the game came on 59 minutes, a Giggs corner is headed across the 6 yard box where Berbatov is waiting but heads straight into the chest of Meireles who is standing on the post. Berbatov appeals for handball but rightfully not given as it hits his chest.
Liverpool go back on the attack, Meireles had a chance to make it 3-0 but Van Der Sar makes a good save at his near post. 3 minutes later Liverpool do make it 3-0, a freekick just right of the penalty area. Suarez steps up to shoot, Van Der Sar saves but only fumbles the ball in to the path of the on rushing Kuyt, who buries his third and his hat trick. One of the easy hat tricks you will ever seen.
United press again as you would expect but with Liverpool comfortable, Dalgleish had the pleasure of bringing the £35 million striker, Carroll to a delighted Anfield crowd. Liverpool were running the clock down with Suarez using great skill to work a chance but screwing his shot well wide. United graped a consolation goal with 2 stoppage time minutes remaining. Giggs does well on the right, turning Johnson the wrong way giving him the time to pick out Hernandez who heads neatly into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.
A team performance from Liverpool ensured that they beat United, Liverpool adapted well to Aurelio getting injured and took their chances well. Suarez and Kuyt have a very good understanding together, with Suarez’s performance showing why he was worth £23 million. Dowd got two major decisions wrong with Carragher and Rafael not being sent off for ruthless challenges but the right result came out of the game.
What next for United?, 2 defeats in a row, with an F.A. Cup quarter final next week against Arsenal. United will need to bounce back quick and grateful that Arsenal only managed to draw yesterday. United look very vulnerable without Ferdinand and Vidic, teams can exploit the weakness in the air when they aren’t playing. How bad is Nani’s injury, he is a very big player for United, just look how many goals he has been involved in all year. Liverpool go from strength to strength under Dalgleish, the difference from the first game against United and this one was astonishing. Ever player is playing for their shirt, Suarez is very good player and with Carroll coming back from injury how far can they go this season?