Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicharito Breaks Anfield Reds Hearts

I don't know what Sir Alex Ferguson was thinking, but he showed no respect for Liverpool by fielding an understrength lineup. No Nani, no Rooney, no Hernandez and no Anderson. By playing two defensive midfielders in Fletcher and Jones, Liverpool should and could have done a lot better than just a draw. The return of Steven Gerrard was the focus of the match and though he wasn't quite the marauding midfield giant of previous seasons, he was still our Steven Gerrard. He started the match as the most advanced of the midfielders and ended it playing as a defensive midfielder.

The first half was rather lethargic which could be expected considering the heavy international schedule last week. The match could have been so much more interesting had Luis Suarez scored instead of shooting straight at De Gea. Kenny Dalglish left Andy Carroll out of the starting lineup which seemed like a poor decision, given the quality of Steven Gerrard's corners and crosses. I would put my money on Carroll scoring if it was he and not Henderson's head had met Downing's delicious injury-time cross.

Charlie Adam's forceful run was deemed unfairly halted by Rio Ferdinand, resulting in a hotly disputed freekick. At that crucial moment in the game, there was a growing feeling that Liverpool was about to grab the iniative and score that all-important first goal. As if scripted, Gerrard stepped up and bent the ball through the wall, past David De Gea. The Reds looked headed to a fourth successive home win over their rivals.

Patrice Evra was at it again, rousing up controversy whenever he could. The Red Devils current skipper has a history of claiming racist abuse, and he decided to try that "old" trick against Luis Suarez. Mind you, that kick on Evra's knee was cynical at best and love him as we all do, El Pistolero walks a very thin line between genious and devious every single game. I won't be surprised if the brilliant Uruguayan cops a sending off before the end of the year. Still, Suarez is the reason Liverpool are currently in the top six of the Barclays Premier League.

Again, Liverpool's inability to finish the numerous chances created as a one-goal lead is never enough in the Premiership. Ferguson threw in the heavy artillery, bringing on Rooney, Nani and then Hernandez. With Liverpool's suspect defence and Lucas subbed, Gerrard did not stop Chicarito from scoring a poacher's goal - only United's second chance in the entire game.

David De Gea has firmly put behind his nightmarish start to English football with yet another outstanding performance. His four crucial saves were every bit as important as Chicarito's goal, if not more. De Gea's saves against Suarez, Kuyt and a raking Henderson volley particularly underlined his ability as a world-class shot-stopper. King Kenny was rightly full of praise for the young Spaniard.

In the end, Liverpool would feel that this was a case of two points lost, while United left Anfield in a hurry, satisfied that they had picked Liverpool's pocket. The Reds are left pondering what could have been, considering they created the better chances and had far more possession.

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