Liverpool vs. Manchester United  1 - 2

Article

Rafael revels in ´best´ goal

24 September 2012 18:18

Manchester United right-back Rafael said his equalising goal in Sunday's 2-1 win against Liverpool was the best he has scored for the club.

The sublime 51st-minute strike brought the Red Devils level after opposing skipper Steven Gerrard opened the scoring - and Rafael said it was the best in his four-year stint at Old Trafford.

He also acknowledged that the timing of the goal was key, after his side initially failed to press home the one-man advantage brought about by Jonjo Shelvey's sending-off in the first half.

"It's definitely the best goal I've scored for United," he told MUTV.

"It was a good moment to get it because it was so quick after they scored. If we hadn't had scored then we might have got a little bit nervous so it was an important time to get the goal."

The young right-back also reflected on the importance of picking up all three points despite a below-par performance, and of beating Liverpool at Anfield - a feat United have failed to achieve in the last five seasons.

"It's a very important three points," he said.

"It wasn't a great performance from us but in the last five years we haven't won here so we're very pleased."

Article

United can improve, says Giggs

23 September 2012 20:53

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs said his side were not at their best against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday despite a 2-1 victory.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team came from behind to win against 10 men, with Rafael scoring a fine goal and Robin van Persie grabbing the winner from the penalty spot after Jonjo Shelvey had been sent off for a strong challenge on Jonny Evans.

Steven Gerrard opened the scoring for Liverpool despite their man disadvantage and Giggs praised Brendan Rodgers' team for making it difficult for the visitors.

"I think in the last three or four years we've come here and played a lot better and not got anything," he told Sky Sports.

"It's always tough to play against a team like Liverpool. They keep the ball well, and even if they go down to ten men they don’t change, they keep the ball and that's always tough.

"The crowd got up and we didn't play well, we didn't keep the ball well enough. It was great to see Rafa's goal go in and that probably lifted us."

Before the game both sides took part in an emotional tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, but Giggs did not think the United players were affected by the poignancy of the occasion once the game had kicked-off.

"I think it's just a tough place to come," he reflected.

"Liverpool obviously wanted to put in a performance because of the occasion, and they did that. I think Liverpool made it tough for us but we could've played better."

Article

Premier League: Liverpool 1 Manchester United 2

23 September 2012 17:01

Manchester United ensured Liverpool remain winless in the Premier League, after collecting a controversial 2-1 win at Anfield.

Jonjo Shelvey's red card with six minutes until half-time threatened to derail the attacking dominance that Brendan Rodgers' side possessed for the first 40 minutes, but Steven Gerrard's volley propelled them into the lead in the first minute of the second half.

The visitors responded with an immediate equaliser - right-back Rafael curling a corker into the top corner from inside the box.

An undermanned Liverpool continued to battle but, with 10 minutes left, Robin van Persie ended United's recent poor form from penalties by converting a spot-kick to give Sir Alex Ferguson's side a win and leave the hosts stranded in the relegation zone.

The theme before the game was unity: the two managers conducting a joint interview and Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez shaking hands despite their embittered history. But on the pitch and in the stands the passionate rivalry was as fierce as ever.

Buoyed by a rousing rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in memory of the 96 football fans who died at Hillsborough 23 years ago, Liverpool were by far the stronger team from kick-off.

Suarez forced Anders Lindegaard into an early save from close range then an unmarked Gerrard made the side-netting ripple with a low shot from a cleverly worked corner.

The Reds' attacking continued as United's passing accuracy plummeted - Suarez was at the centre of most moves and gave centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans a torrid time.

The home side suffered a set-back on the 39-minute mark though when Shelvey was sent off for a lunging, studs-up challenge on Evans. It was a reckless challenge that undoubtedly deserved a card, though many would argue it only merited a yellow.

If any Reds supporters were worried their team would lessen their grip on the game, those fears was temporarily dispelled when Gerrard chested down 15 yards from goal and rifled a volley home, cuing scenes of jubilation.

However, Rafael showed why United should never be underestimated regardless of a poor performance, curling sublimely into the top left-hand corner to level the scoring five minutes after the opener.

Paul Scholes - a half-time change for the anonymous Nani - helped bring stability and passing sensibility to a midfield which lacked mobility in the first half.

Suarez, an energetic force throughout, forced a super save to Lindegaard's right with a low effort not long after and substitute Suso fired marginally over inside the 18-yard box.

But the home side's hopes were dashed when Glen Johnson clattered into the back of Antonio Valencia in a United counterattack and gave away a penalty in the visitors' favour.

Having missed from the spot at Southampton earlier this season, van Persie made no mistake in scoring United's eventual winner by driving to the right as goalkeeper Pepe Reina got a hand on it could not tip it wide.

At the other end, Martin Kelly was gifted a gilt-edged chance to score the Reds' second but his header inside the box from Johnson's cross was headed wide by the right-back.

Article

Dalglish grateful for Ferguson´s help after Hillsborough

22 September 2012 15:18

Former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has revealed that rival Sir Alex Ferguson was among the first to help following the Hillsborough disaster.

The former Anfield favourite admits that there is no love lost between Liverpool and Manchester United supporters in a week where his fellow Scot has written a letter to the United fans to discourage them from singing abusive.

"When the Hillsborough disaster happened back in 1989, Sir Alex Ferguson was straight on the phone to offer his help in any way he could," Dalglish wrote in his column in the Daily Mirror.

"People out there have different opinions about him. Some love him, some hate him, but when something terrible happens, like Hillsborough, Alex is one of the first asking what he can do.

"So although there is an intense rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool, it would never prevent Alex from offering his assistance, which is exactly what he did back then."

The 61-year-old acknowledges that the Red Devils have also been on the receiving end of abuse in the past from rival supporters over the Munich disaster that cost the lives of United players in 1958, and has called for an end to the 'scandalous' chants.

He added: "These chants, on both sides, are absolutely scandalous.

"Unless they've actually been through something like that, they can have no comprehension of how difficult it is for the people involved and the families affected by these kind of tragedies.

"Although there is no love lost between United and Liverpool, there is an underlying respect for each other, even though at times it might be through gritted teeth.

"That's why I don't think there will be a problem at Anfield tomorrow."

Dalglish also believes that Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will put their differences to one side and shake hands before kick-off.

"Tomorrow, the stakes are too high to allow personal issues to cloud their judgement," he said.

"If you can't shake hands with an opponent and show respect to 96 innocent football fans who died, then you've got a major problem with yourself."

Article

Ferguson makes plea to United fans

21 September 2012 21:10

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has urged his side's fans to end tensions with their Liverpool counterparts.

The Scot has written a letter to United fans who will travel to the English Premier League encounter between the sides over the weekend.

Relations between the clubs have been strained over recent years, with last season's controversy surrounding racist abuse between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra creating an unsavoury atmosphere among fans.

After the publication of a report earlier in September exonerating Liverpool fans of responsibility for the deaths of 96 supporters at the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, and with a history of distasteful chanting about that tragedy to taunt the Anfield side, the Scot appealed to the better judgement of his team's following.

Ferguson's letter, as published on United's official website, reads: "Dear Supporter, the great support you gave the team here (at Anfield0 last season has seen our allocation back up to near-full levels. I want you to continue that progress today.

"But today (Sunday) is about much more than not blocking gangways. Today is about thinking hard about what makes United the best club in the world.

"Our rivalry with Liverpool is based on a determination to come out on top - a wish to see us crowned the best against a team that held that honour for so long.

"It cannot and should never be based on personal hatred. Just 10 days ago, we heard the terrible, damning truth about the deaths of 96 fans who went to watch their team try and reach the FA Cup final and never came back.

"What happened to them should wake the conscience of everyone connected with the game.

"Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice.

"I know I can count on you to stand with us in the best traditions of the best fans in the game. Yours sincerely, Sir Alex Ferguson."

Article

Berg encourages United to use Kagawa

21 September 2012 17:46

Former Manchester United defender Henning Berg believes the Red Devils are not taking advantage of Shinji Kagawa's full potential.

Since signing for the 19-time Premier League champions in the transfer window, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has featured in four of Sir Alex Ferguson's five starting line-ups and scored one goal.

And, after a starring display in the 1-0 victory over Galatasaray on Wednesday night in which the Japan international registered an assist, Berg believes Kagawa's team-mates need to put more trust in him.

Berg told talkSPORT: "I was very impressed with Kagawa (against Galatasaray). He looks a top player and is a real bundle of energy.

"His positional play in that role gives Manchester United something extra. They’ve not had someone in that role before.

"The only thing missing is someone to score all the chances he makes.

"Kagawa gives Manchester United an extra dimension. His positional sense is excellent both offensively and defensively. He's always available to get on the ball. It's easy for Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick to find him.

"In the past when United didn't have the ball they have struggled in Europe. They've been over-run by other teams. The way he defends in front of the two central midfield players makes it so much easier for the team though."

Article

Shelvey hopes to face United

21 September 2012 15:34

Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey hopes scoring in the Europa League win over Young Boys will earn him a start against Manchester United.

The 20-year-old came on as a substitute to score twice and completed his side's turnaround after they had fallen behind to the Swiss outfit.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insisted on Wednesday places in the team were still up for grabs for this weekend's fixture and Shelvey hopes he has given the Ulsterman a selection headache.

"I hope I've played my way into the team for Sunday but you never know what's in the manager's mind," he told the Daily Mail.

"The manager, ever since he's been here, has been first class with me and given me an opportunity and I felt coming off the bench and scoring two goals repaid him.

"It is what dreams of made of. Games don't come much bigger for Liverpool than Manchester United at home.

"The atmosphere will be electric and I want to be a part of it."

Despite his tender years, Shelvey was one of the more experienced players to play a part in the game in Bern and he admitted: "I was disappointed to start the match on the bench but it was great to get the two goals and get the win.

"It is a big occasion every time you play for a club of Liverpool's size and it is an honour to play for them, even if you are coming off the bench.

"Liverpool has a lot of history and it is great to go down in that history. There has been competition ever since I came to the club and it's something I relish.

"You have to keep going out there in training and trying to prove you are one of the better ones."

Shelvey was a key part of the Reds' impressive attacking display but the midfielder believes there is still cause for concern, having conceded three goals.

"It was a great game for the neutral but the boss was not happy we conceded three away from home," he said.

"But we've come out and made a statement that says we can score goals and we proved that.

"People labelled it as a weakened side but the team is going to give 100 per cent whoever is out there; it was a great performance from the younger players.

"It was good to come away from a place like that with all three points."

Article

Vidic calls for United fans to show respect

21 September 2012 09:23

Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has urged fans to be respectful and set an example during their visit to Liverpool this weekend.

The two sides meet on Sunday in the first match at Anfield since the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report was published last week.

There is a history of fierce rivalry between the clubs, but the Red Devils skipper will join Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in releasing 96 red balloons before kick-off in a tribute to the victims, and Vidic hopes the supporters will follow suit in paying their respects.

"I am aware of the sensitivity of the day," he told reporters. "Everybody is. There is a lot of talk in the papers and the media. I think our fans will respond well.

"The whole country is on test in this one. All over the world they will be watching this game. It is probably the biggest derby in the world and we have to show we are capable of keeping a good atmosphere and being a good example to the kids.

"There is a lot of history with these two clubs. I think we should respect each other because we are big clubs and clubs that are respected in the world. We have to be on top of the bad situation and behave well and, I would say, be an example."

A minority of United fans were heard making anti-Liverpool chants during last Saturday's win over Wigan, sparking fears over their behaviour on Sunday, but Serbia international Vidic is hopeful that the occasion will be remembered for positive reasons.

"Football is important but it is never more important than life, any life," he said.

"It doesn't matter if it's in England or Serbia or any part of the world.

"I think most important is that we have to respect any life and I think that we will do it on that day."

Article

Allen eager for United clash

20 September 2012 10:48

Joe Allen says he joined Liverpool in order to play in big games, as they prepare to face Manchester United on Sunday.

The 22-year-old has been in good form for his new side since making a 15 million-pound off-season switch from Swansea and is desperate to help his team record their first league win of the season on home turf against their rivals.

"Playing against United at Anfield is exactly the kind of reason I came to Liverpool," Allen told the Liverpool Echo.

"There aren't many games bigger in world football. I'm really looking forward to experiencing it for the first time.

"We're all looking forward to playing at Anfield and what better game than to be playing United. I'm enjoying my football. I feel fantastic and the club has welcomed me and helped me settle.

"Life is amazing at the moment. Everything seems to have happened at once. It's been a roller-coaster for me. All of my dreams are being fulfilled at the moment and long may that continue.

"The game coming up at the weekend will be another little landmark for me and we want the three points."

After being beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at home before the international break, Liverpool bounced back to pick up a point at Sunderland last weekend and Allen believes the side are beginning to demonstrate the ethos manager Brendan Rodgers is aiming for.

"What we did against Sunderland, that's the idea of how the manager wants us to play," he said.

"The idea is to control football matches and Liverpool should be doing that.

"The ability and quality in the team suggest we should be able to. That's the most positive and beneficial way of playing football and winning games.

"Sunderland was a good example of being courageous and controlling the match in terms of possession. It's a sign of things to come.

"For me personally, Sunderland wasn't as quite a high standard as I'd have liked, and hopefully I can put it right against United."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25