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September 23, 2012
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Halsey
• Attendance: 44263
S. Gerrard 46'
R. van Persie 81'
Well, that's it from an emotional Anfield this afternoon. Brendan Rodgers' side didn't get the win they so desperately wanted, but there was an excellent pre-match tribute to Hillsborough. I'm Tom McKeown and thanks for joining me for the play-by-play coverage this afternoon.
There's no doubt the red card to Jonjo Shelvey changed the complexion of the match. Liverpool were completely dominant in the first half and looked like they would run away with the match, but it's a slightly debatable penalty that won it for United.
FULL-TIME at Anfield and Manchester United take all three points thanks to that Robin van Persie penalty. Liverpool, meanwhile, are still without a win in five Premier League matches.
90' + 7'
Suarez looks for a foul 25 yards out but Mark Halsey tells him to get up. We're playing extra time for that injury to Martin Kelly now.
90' + 6'
Reina launches it high into the danger area, but Welbeck dispossesses Martin Skrtel and the draws a foul from Suso. Moments left for an equaliser now but United still keeping it.
90' + 5'
Kelly can't continue and goes straight down the tunnel, meaning Liverpool will have to play with just nine men as they've used all three substitutions.
90' + 3'
Martin Kelly produces some good skill to get away from two United players, but then goes down in a heap clutching his knee. Doesn't look good for the Reds defender, here.
90' + 2'
United are playing keep-ball now, and Liverpool are running around tirelessly to get hold of it. The visitors are holding firm here though, and Scholes draws a free-kick.
The ball is worked to van Persie in the box, and the goalscorer shows some fine skill to hold it up and win a corner. United have the ball exactly where they want it as the fourth official holds up the board, and we have five minutes of stoppage time.
Martin Kelly catches Patrice Evra out wide and United have a free-kick inside the Liverpool half. Unsurprisingly, the visitors take their time over it and slow things down by bringing on Danny Welbeck for Rafael.
The home supporters are clearly frustrated, berating the referee after he awards United a throw-in on the halfway line. Liverpool have only a few minutes to avoid defeat here.
Van Persie earns a booking for a challenge on Suso, before Rafael hobbles off injured and Liverpool have a corner. It's 10 versus 10 on the pitch for now, but Suso's corner is a disappointing one and United clear.
Yellow Card Robin van Persie
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Penalty Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL! Van Persie puts United in front from the spot, firing it to the right. Reina gets a hand to it put the power sees it go in and the visitors have the lead.
Jamie Carragher strips off and is poised to come on for the stricken Agger, who is nursing his left leg.
Yellow Card Pepe Reina
Reina is booked for dissent whil Daniel Agger is receiving treatment after getting injured in the initial mix-up that gave Valencia the ball.
PENALTY! Valencia poaches the ball in midfield and drives into the box. Glen Johnson makes a challenge, missing the ball and the referee believes there was contact and points to the spot
Kagawa surrenders possession and Liverpool work it towards Kelly. The defender fires in a cross but Ferdinand is there to head away.
Joe Allen wins a free-kick in midfield for Liverpool, and Gerrard plays it into the danger area but United clear comfortably. Is this match setting up for a late winner?
Rio Ferdinand shanks a pass and pulls up, signalling to the bench that he's suffering from cramp. The United defender clearly not comfortable after that knock in the first half.
It's a steadier pace at Anfield now, with the possession much more evenly balance. United push forward in numbers but can't fashion a chance through van Persie and the hosts launch it clear.
Henderson settles in quickly and does well to dispossess Rafael in midfield. Gerrard spreads a beautiful pass out to Kelly and the ball is worked to Suarez, who takes it first time and fires across goal from a tight angle, but it goes all the way out for a throw-in.
Liverpool clearly looking to shore up the midfield with that change, as United press forward again. Valencia looks to find Kagawa in the box but overhits the pass and it's a goal kick for the hosts.
Gerrard slots a beautiful pinpoint pass towards Suarez on the byline, and the Uruguayan lays back to substitute Suso who fires a rasping shot at goal which Lindegaard turns behind with a fingertip save.
Carrick nearly finds van Persie at the far post, but Kelly manages to clear for a corner. The hosts clear the danger but United are still in possession and Carrick whips it in again towards van Persie, who does well to meet the ball but can only head it over.
Great save! Suarez fires a low shot from 20 yards which is sneaking inside the far post, but Lindegaard gets down superbly to palm it away with his right hand. Quality stuff from both players.
This is now the sixth Premier League meeting in a row between Liverpool and Manchester United in which both teams have scored, and I have a feeling the scoring isn't over yet...
Yellow Card Paul Scholes
A classic Paul Scholes challenge earns the veteran midfielder a booking after he brings down Sterling. It's hotting up down there on the pitch now.
Furious cries from the Kop as Johnson goes down on the left under a Rafael challenge. The referee then has to make two quick decisions as Suarez is on the end of an Evans challenge before Sterling is challenged strongly. Appeals once again waved away by the referee.
Van Persie goes down in the box but Mark Halsey is completely uninterested. The Dutchman is then felled further out and the visitors retain possession from the free-kick.
Wow, what a breathless opening to the second half! Back to square one again then. Sterling is in plenty of space in the box and fails to fins Suarez with a lofted pass. Gerrard then shoots from long range but it's straight at Lindegaard.
Assist Shinji Kagawa
GOAL! United level it within minutes, and what a cracker it is as well. Rafael has the ball inside the box, cuts inside and bends a beautiful left-footed strike in off the far post as a helpless Pepe Reina can only watch.
United press forward in search of an equaliser straight away. Substitute Paul Scholes is straight into the action, trying to find space on the edge of the box before spreading to van Persie, but the striker's cross doesn't find a team-mate and Liverpool clear.
David Lynch has more musings from the stands: "Cat firmly amongst pigeons. 10-man Liverpool lead through a fine controlled left-footed drive into the bottom corner from Gerrard after a touch on his chest. The captain points to the sky after his goal, no doubt in tribute to Jon-Paul Gilhooley, the youngest of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the Huyton-born midfielder's cousin."
Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL! And it's the captain who fires the hosts in front. Glen Johnson works hard on the edge of the box and the ball falls into the path of the Reds skipper, who fires a left-footed volley into the net to send the Kop into raptures.
We're back underway at Anfield.
All the half-time chat is about the red card. No arguments the Shelvey deserved to go, but replays show that Jonny Evans also went in with both feet. A 50-50 one there, and it could prove costly for the hosts, who are still looking for their first league win of the season and will have to work hard to rectify that today.
Will Liverpool regret not converting their dominance into a deserved lead? Or can they do the job with ten men? It promises to be a fascinating second half.
Our man David Lynch gives us his thoughts on that eventful 45 minutes: "The whistle goes at Anfield following a half with plenty of positives for Liverpool but one huge negative. Jonny Evans could arguably have also seen red had he met the ball first but that does not excuse Jonjo Shelvey's recklessness, or the nature of his tirade at Sir Alex Ferguson."
HALF-TIME at Anfield and it remains 0-0. The red card could play a huge part in the outcome of the game, with Liverpool completely dominant. But the hosts could struggle to stay on top as the game goes on.
45' + 2'
Joe Allen comes into the box at pace, skipping past two challenges before Rio Ferdinand slides in superbly to dispossess the midfielder.
45' + 1'
Two minutes of added time at Anfield.
Liverpool doing their best to ignore their one-man disadvantage. Suarez tries to cause some problems in the boz but United clear. At the other end Kagawa finds space and spreads wide to Rafael, but the Brazilian hits the cross too far and it goes behind.
David Lynch reports from Anfield: "Liverpool down to ten men and they fully deserve to be. Jonjo Shelvey, who had endured a frustrating game thus far, entered a 50-50 challenge with Jonny Evans with studs well off the ground and subsequently saw red. The midfielder also uttered some choice words at Sir Alex Ferguson as he was being ushered into the dressing room."
The Uruguay international curls it beautifully around the wall but it's at a comfortable height for Lindegaard, who parries away with authority.
The atmosphere has kicked up a notch here. Suarez goes down somewhat theatrically after a strong aerial challenge from Rio Ferdinand. Liverpool are awarded the free-kick and have a chance from 35 yards...
Red Card Jonjo Shelvey
Oh dear, oh dear. Jonjo Shelvey might have completely changed the game here. He battles with Ryan Giggs before jumping into a challenge with Jonny Evans. The visitors are not impressed with the Liverpool midfielder's challenge and Mark Halsey calms things down before taking out the red card from his back pocket.
Ten minutes left in the first half, and it's still all the hosts. United give it away once again in midfield and Liverpool moveup the pitch. Still no signs of an opening goal, though.
Ryan Giggs rolls back the years to sprint across and slide in to stop Fabio Borini in his tracks. The hosts continue to press, however, and Suarez is involved again in the box, winning a corner with a block shot. Gerrard's cross evades everyone though and goes behind for a goal kick.
Gerrard drives forward again and lays it wide to Martin Kelly. The full-back knocks it towards Sterling and the 17-year-old is clattered by Patrice Evra. It was very close to being inside the box, but it's a free-kick right on the corner of the area. Gerrard looks for Suarez at the near post but the Liverpool striker can't direct his header and it goes wide.
Robin van Persie is cutting a very lonely figure up front for United so far. The Dutchman hasn't had a look-in at all in this match.
Plenty of commitment from the Liverpool players as they keep fighting to win the ball in midfield. Joe Allen is a bit over eager, however, and fouls Kagawa.
Suarez comes deep to receive the ball again. The striker has plenty of options but elects to cut back on to his right foot and try a cheeky chip over Lindegaard from the edge of the box, but it goes off target.
Nani absolutely leathers the ball from the 35-yard set-piece, and it zips about a foot over the crossbar, but Reina never looked worried.
United finally string a few passes together, and Shinji Kagawa is felled by Martin Kelly, earning the visitors a free-kick...
Things have slowed somewhat after that break in play. Pepe Reina completely shanks a clearance but fortunately for him it goes to a team-mate. Liverpool monopolising possession still.
Rio Ferdinand is down and receiving treatment after that passage of play. He limps off the pitch gingerly but is eventually allowed back on. The United defender isn't looking particularly comfortable, though.
Steven Gerrard fires in an absolutely superb cross from deep, and Daniel Agger goes down under pressure from Jonny Evans, but any appeals for a penalty are swiftly refused by the referee.
Martin Kelly whips in a dangerous cross but United clear. Another ball is fired into the area and Rafael does well to reach it at the far post and clear for a corner.
Sloppy again from United as Gerrard collects the ball in midfield. The hosts completely dominant so far, but have nothing to show for it so far. The Reds skipper looks for Sterling with a lofted ball but it's too long and Lindegaard collects comfortably.
Jonjo Shelvey escapes a booking for a wild lunge on Rafael. Meanwhile, Suarez looks up for it today. He almost finds Raheem Sterling with another pinpoint pass, before having a run of his own and is eventually halted by Jonny Evans.
Suarez picks the ball up in midfield and slots a delightful pass through to Fabio Borini, but the striker's touch is poor, forcing him wide and he can't make a decent effort of it. United still struggling for rhythm ths afternon.
Huge appeals for a free-kick as Glen Johnson goes down after Rafael sticks out a leg. The Liverpool defender looked to have overrun the ball and referee Mark Halsey waves the claims away.
Here's David Lynch's take on a fast-paced opening ten minutes: "Liverpool have definitely started the brightest here, going close thanks to a Lindegaard fumble on the line before Steven Gerrard hit the the side-netting with a drive from the edge of the box. United will need to get going soon if they are to avoid going behind, though a Ryan Giggs effort which flew just wide of the post with two minutes gone is a firm reminder of the Red Devils' threat."
Just wide! A short corner from Jonjo Shelvey finds Gerrard, and the Liverpool skipper drills a shot towards the near post, but it goes agonisingly wide and into the side netting. Great start from the hosts though.
Lucky escape for United, there. Moments after Ryan Giggs drives a 20-yarder just high and wide, Anders Lindegaard nearly makes a right hash of collecting the ball but the defenders are there to scramble clear.
Our first sight of Luis Suarez isn't a pretty one for the Uruguayan. Gerrard plays a delightful ball into the striker's path, but Suarez completely fails to control the ball and it runs for a goal kick amid much derision from the visiting supporters.
It's the home side's turn to take control of the ball now. Glen Johnson looks to swing a cross in from the left and wins a corner. Steven Gerrard whips it in but Rafael rises high to head away.
The tackles are coming in thick and fast. Both sides fully committed to this derby. Joe Allen looks to find Raheem Sterling with a crossfield ball, but United clear the danger.
It's a scrappy opening, with possession changing hands all the time. United try to press forward with Antonio Valencia but the midfielder runs it out of play.
And we're underway at Anfield, with Liverpool in possession.
"You'll Never Walk Alone" resonates around the ground now as the Liverpool fans form three huge mosaics saying "Justice", "The Truth" and "96".
Sir Bobby Charlton hands a floral tribute of 96 roses to Liverpool legend Ian Rush, while the two captains release the balloons. "Justice for the 96" rings around Anfield. A very fitting, very emotional tribute.
Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, thankfully, shake hands.
The players are in the tunnel; the Liverpool players all wearing the number 96 on the back of their jackets. They'll be emerging shortly and we're not far from kick-off now.
More from David Lynch at Anfield: "The Liverpool players are heading down to the dressing room with their warm-up completed in front of an unusually packed Anfield with 15 minutes remaining till kick-off. Though the build-up has centre on handshakes and Hillsborough, there is no denying this is an important game for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers - a chance to earn some good will after a shaky start to the season."
Great touch by both managers as they do a joint interview for television. Neither of them are expecting any handshake problems and are hoping for all fans to be respectful throughout the afternoon.
David Lynch is our man in the stands this afternoon. Here's his pre-match take on things: "A somewhat odd atmosphere at Anfield today ahead of what is so often a heated fixture. The build-up has been dominated by reaction to the revelations regarding the Hillsborough disaster and the crowd have been accordingly subdued as they mill around the stadium. The Hillsborough memorial outside the ground has rarely been as covered in scarves and tributes, with several notable additions having been made by Manchester United fans today."
So, Jonjo Shelvey's fine form earns him a start today as Brendan Rodgers names the same side that drew with Sunderland last week, while Nemanja Vidic misses out, and Ryan Giggs gets the captain's armband for United ahead of vice-captain Patrice Evra.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Valencia, Kagawa, Nani, Van Persie; Subs: De Gea Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes, Cleverley, Buttner.
LIVERPOOL: Reina, Kelly, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson, Allen, Gerrard, Shelvey, Borini, Sterling, Suarez; Subs: Jones, Enrique, Sahin, Assaidi, Henderson, Carragher, Suso.
Coming up we've got today's teams...
There's the inevitable speculation over whether Luis Suarez will shake Patrice Evra's hand after their previous run-in, but today is about much more than that. The two captains will be releasing 96 red balloons before kick-off in what will certainly be a very emotional tribute to those who lost their lives at Hillsborough.
Hello and welcome to our play-by-play coverage of today's Sunday showstopper between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield. I'm Tom McKeown and I'll be with you throughout what promises to be a fascinating encounter.
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