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West Ham United
March 16, 2014
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 75225
S. Gerrard 34', 46'
L. Suárez 84'
FULL-TIME: Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool. The Merseyside giants are firmly in the title picture after thrashing a woeful United side at Old Trafford thanks to two penalties from Steven Gerrard and a Luis Suarez strike. Brendan Rodgers' side were well worth their emphatic victory which sees them close to within four points of Chelsea with a game in hand and consigned United and David Moyes to yet another chastening home defeat.
90' + 3'
Rodgers brings on Iago Aspas for the final throes as Sturridge departs after another wonderful showing up front. Rooney has the opportunity to partially reduce the arrears but fires over from a free-kick on the edge of the area.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Henderson finds some space in front of the United defence and crashes a powerful effort towards goal, but his strike is straight at De Gea, who will be grateful he isn't taking the ball out of his net once again here.
Liverpool are just content now to toy with their wounded opponents by monopolising possession with ease in midfield.
Coutinho takes aim from 25 yards out and comes close to rubbing salt in the United wounds, with his low piledriver zipping just wide of De Gea's right-hand post.
Rodgers brings on Lucas to see Liverpool home while Rio Ferdinand's introduction for United is as much about damage limitations as anything else.
Yellow Card Daniel Sturridge
Assist Daniel Sturridge
Goal Luis Suárez
GOAL! Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool. Luis Suarez puts the seal on a comprehensive win for the Reds to ignite their title challenge still further with his side's third goal of the contest. Sturridge's deflected shot falls for the Uruguayan, who takes his time before slotting home comfortably beyond a stunned De Gea.
Suarez goes close to adding a third but finds De Gea in his way, with the Spaniard making an outstanding save to deny the Uruguayan from point-blank range.
PENALTY?! Sturridge goes down once again from Carrick's swipe but Clattenburg fails to award what would have been a fourth Liverpool penalty.
Suarez almost atones for Gerrard's miss by slamming an effort just wide of De Gea's far upright. Liverpool are threatening to run riot in the closing stages.
Missed Penalty Steven Gerrard
Yellow/Red Nemanja Vidic
MISSED PENALTY: Gerrard misses a chance to complete his hat-trick from the spot for a third time after Vidic was adjudged to have fouled Sturridge. Replays suggested minimal contact but the United skipper was handed a second yellow and a red nonetheless by Clattenburg. Gerrard stepped up but failed to show the poise which yielded two earlier goals, hitting the post as De Gea dived the wrong way.
United finally make a change and a double one, bringing on Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck for Fellaini and Januzaj respectively.
CLOSE: Gerrard goes within inches of grabbing a hat-trick with a thunderous attempt which cannons off Jones and zips just wide of the target. From the corner, the ball falls for the Liverpool skipper on the edge of the area, but his latest effort is wild and flies wide of the target.
Yellow Card Nemanja Vidic
Liverpool make a substitution as Coutinho enters the fray for Sterling while Vidic enters the book for a rash challenge from behind on Suarez.
Sterling shows brilliant defensive work to help his side out and feeds Suarez, whose superb turn and pass releases Sturridge, but the move is snuffed out by United eventually.
Evra's cross into the area is only half-cleared by the Liverpool backline and it falls invitingly for Fellaini on the edge of the area, but the towering midfielder skews his shot wildly off target and the Reds survive.
Rooney works some shooting space but is quickly closed down by Skrtel, who gets in a block. Seconds later Flanagan is lucky to escape without a second booking after flooring Rafael.
United looking to build a head of steam but the visitors are coping comfortably with everything they throw at them presently.
A poor Rooney pass leaves United exposed, with Sterling running into the gap vacated by the overlapping Evra but his pass to Suarez leads to a heavy touch from the Uruguayan, who loses out in a challenge with Rafael.
The England striker's crossfield pass nearly leads his team into trouble however, with Flanagan easily intercepting and finding Sturridge, but Vidic gets across quickly to clear the ball into touch.
Agger receives treatment on the touchline and United look to capitalise on their temporary numerical advantage, with Rooney looking particularly fired up.
Skrtel is now booked for hacking down Mata on the edge of the United area before Januzaj speeds past Flanagan and forces a corner for his side. The delivery finds Vidic, who gets up well, but cannot direct his header on target.
Yellow Card Martin Skrtel
United are after another penalty as Rooney takes a tumble under a challenge from Skrtel before Liverpool launch another break downfield.
PENALTY?! Van Persie does brilliantly to spin past Agger and whip a ball towards the back post, where Juan Mata is lurking with intent. Johnson gets there first, however, and clears for a corner, but the ball appeared to bounce up onto his arm before he hacked clear.
It has spurred United back into action but they look shellshocked by the goal which will leave them a remarkable 14 points behind today's visitors.
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL! Manchester United 0-2 Liverpool. Gerrard doubles the Reds' advantage from the spot once again with another sumptuous penalty after Jones had sloppily brought down Allen. What a start to the half for the Reds.
Liverpool get the ball rolling again for the second period at Old Trafford.
HALF-TIME: Manchester United 0-1 Liverpool. The title-chasing Reds have a deserved lead at the interval thanks to captain fantastic Steven Gerrard, who kept his cool to slot home from the penalty spot after Rafael had handled when attempting to stop Suarez in his tracks. The Brazilian was lukcy not to be dismissed after hacking down Gerrard moments earlier. Liverpool have done all the running, with Sturridge looking particularly threatening. A Rooney effort aside, United have been poor.
45' + 1'
SAVE: Simon Mignolet is finally forced into action, making a superb reflex stop to deny Rooney, who connects firmly with Rafael's cut-back, but replays show the shot was close to the Belgian keeper. Nonetheless, the most impressive save of the half, with Januzaj also firing over just moments later.
Suarez spots De Gea off his line and goes for goal but his optimistic attempt fails to trouble the United keeper, who is happy to see it wide.
United force a corner after good work from Rafael leads to Van Persie whipping a ball against Martin Skrtel. The set piece in though, comes to nothing as Patrice Evra meets it full on and heads well wide of the target.
United's frustrations are epitomised by an ambitious Michael Carrick pass which goes out of play with Van Persie chasing after it in vain.
United whip a free-kick into the area but it all fizzles out to nothing as Mata's clipped ball back into the box falls to an offside Van Persie.
Yellow Card Steven Gerrard
The delight and relief was palpable amongst the Liverpool fans as Gerrard consummately tucked that penalty away but the skipper is now cautioned after reacting to a decision that went against him following an altercation with Fellaini.
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 Liverpool. The Reds take the lead through their inspirational skipper Gerrard from the penalty spot after Rafael had handled from Suarez's flick. It seems remarkable that the Brazilian is still on the pitch given his yellow a minute earlier and it appeared deliberate. Gerrard doesn't care, however, and slams home with ease from the spot.
Rafael scythes down Gerrard in the far corner and earns a booking for his troubles. It was a silly tackle from the United defender.
Yellow Card Rafael
Yellow Card Jon Flanagan
The pace and power of Liverpool going forward, and from a defensive perspective, means United just cannot get going when they move over the half-way line and the Reds look sharper on the ball too. Plenty for Moyes to think about at the interval if the scores remain the same.
Neat work from Sturridge enables him to fashion an opening for Joe Allen, whose snapshot is well held by De Gea. It appears a matter of time currently before the Reds take the lead.
Mata is upended as United look to launch a swift move towards the Liverpool goal but the hosts gift the ball back to the visitors from the resultant set piece.
Another lovely interchange between Suarez and Sturridge results in the latter skipping clear of the United rearguard, but his clip back into the six-yard box is hacked away for a Liverpool corner.
Sterling beats Vidic far too easily on the right-hand side of the penalty area before flighting a cross to the far post but Sturridge cannot direct a header back across goal.
Rooney tries to lead the United riposte with a surge into the area before the ball breaks loose to Adnan Januzaj, but the youngster's cross sails straight out of play beyond Fellaini at the back post.
Liverpool slice open United at will once more and, after a neat pirouette, Sturridge finds himself with just De Gea to beat after Suarez's superb pass but mis-hits his effort and the Spaniard gathers with ease.
Both sides are hassling and harrying one another in possession but there is a lack of quality in the final third at the moment, with the visitors looking most likely to score.
Rafael is at the heart of the latest United attack. After being fed by a neat Mata pass, though, his forward foray comes to an abrupt halt as he slips over when well placed for a cross into the area.
Rafael surges down the right wing and slips in Rooney, but the striker's cross - meant for the onrushing Van Persie - is well over-hit and sails out of play for a throw on the far side.
United are fortunate to get away with the latest lightning Liverpool counter as Suarez slips in Sterling, but the winger's cut-back fails to fall to a white shirt. Flanagan then flies in on Rooney and is given his last warning by referee Mark Clattenburg.
Glen Johnson skips forward on the right flank and cuts onto his left foot, but his effort is tame and straight at De Gea in the United goal. Van Persie and Jon Flanagan have a coming together in a highly-charged opening to the game.
Gerrard's subsequent corner is cleared away before Suarez is caught offside from Henderson's speculative punt upfield. Jones goes flying into a challenge with Gerrard, with the United defender coming out worse off, but he is fine to continue.
Liverpool are hurrying United in possession, with Rooney and Marouane Fellaini already guilty of errors before Steven Gerrard hauls down Juan Mata. Fellaini is then extremely lucky to get away with bundling over Suarez as he weaves his way into the area.
A lively start at Old Trafford, with both sides enjoying respective spells of possession and it is the visitors who engineer the first opening as Sturridge peels off the ball-watching Phil Jones and crashes a shot just wide of David de Gea's near post.
We are underway at Old Trafford as Manchester United kick us off.
United will certainly face a stern test against Suarez and Sturridge but the Red Devlis should be buoyed by the fact they have kept three successive clean sheets in the league and four in their last six. We are just moments away from kick off here, as this blockbuster Sunday afternoon gets underway.
Indeed, Liverpool's wretched record at Old Trafford is epitomised by the fact their stunning 4-1 success in March 2009 was their only win at this ground in almost 10 years.
STAT: Only two of the last 27 league meetings between these two sides have ended all square, with the last of those coming way back in March 2000, in a 1-1 draw.
Sturridge has netted in seven of the eight games he has played in since his return from injury and a lot of the pre-match chatter has centred on who will win the battle of wits between the 'SAS' at the apex of the Liverpool attack and Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney for United.
Liverpool's miserable run at Old Trafford encompasses six consecutive defeats at Old Trafford in the last five years, but Rodgers' side have secured their first back-to-back wins on the road in their last two away games and will be extremely confident heading into this one, with the form Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are currently in.
That gap, of course, could stretch to an insurmountable 14 points should United lose this afternoon but a win, hardly out of the question given their record against today's visitors, would put them just eight points behind the Reds. The impossible would all of a sudden become a lot more achievable should that scenario be realised.
Forget the 11 points that separate the sides and the unprecedented fall from grace of the reigning champions, not to mention Liverpool's meteoric rise, this match means so much to both sets of supporters, with bragging rights on the line.
Make no mistake about it, the magnitude of today's game is massive for both sides. Today offers Liverpool a chance to reinforce their title credentials, particularly after Chelsea's defeat yesterday, while United will still harbour outside hopes of reaching the top four and the Champions League football it brings with it.
Liverpool substitutes: Jones, Aspas, Coutinho, Moses, Sakho, Cissokho, Lucas.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Flanagan; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson; Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez.
United substitutes: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Young, Welbeck, Cleverley, Valencia, Kagawa.
Here are the teams in full, beginning with today's hosts Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Fellaini; Mata, Rooney, Januzaj; Van Persie.
Both managers make just the one change to their sides after respective 3-0 away wins last time out, with David Moyes drafting in Nemanja Vidic for Chris Smalling and Brendan Rodgers replacing Philippe Coutinho with Raheem Sterling.
Good afternoon and welcome to this LIVE commentary of Manchester United v Liverpool at Old Trafford. My name is Tom Marshall-Bailey and I will be bringing you all the latest developments during this blockbuster clash between two giants of English football.
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