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March 6, 2011
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 44753
D. Kuijt 34', 39', 65'
J. Hernández 90'+
The full time whistle blows and the Kop can hardly believe how well the day has gone for them. United have been out played in every department and were inspired by Kuyt's hat-trick. United miss the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table while Liverpool keep the pressure up on Tottenham in fifth.
90' + 2'
Assist Ryan Giggs
90' + 2'
Goal Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
90' + 1'
GOAL!! United score nothing more than a consolation as Hernandez gets above everyone else to head in from a couple of yards. Dalglish won't be pleased his team has conceded.
Nice work from Liverpool. A free kick from the right hand side was expected to be hit towards Carroll but instead they played it across the edge of the area for Gerrard to side foot towards goal but again it was just wide.
Liverpool fans jumping at the chance to cheer any misfortune to befall any of the United players. They don't want this game to end.
That was very close from Gerrard. Suarez is laid prone on the floor while the skipper gets the ball from 30 yards out and he strides onto a shoot which drifts within a coat of paint away from the post. Van der Sar looked very calm for how close the ball was from the goal.
Scholes comes off for Darren Fletcher in what appears to be little more than a token gesture from Ferguson.
Yellow Card Paul Scholes
United have appeared bereft of ideas for much of this game and Liverpool have taken advantage of a very sloppy display. If this result remains it will be the first time for two years that United have lost two league games in a row.
Happy birthday 'King Kenny' rings out from the Kop and the Scot will have done yet more convince the owners of his worth as the team's long term manager.
Liverpool throwing bodies in front of everything now as they look to preserve their lead. Ferguson still has one change to make, whether that can make a difference is another thing.
And here comes Carroll to enjoy a fairly pressure-free 20 minutes of football. He comes on to replace the excellent Meireles.
The only way that this game could get any better for Liverpool is if Andy Carroll can make a scoring debut off the bench. Perfection isn't often seen on a football pitch but for all those in the Kop it would be about as close to it as you could come.
United really on the back foot here and if they're not careful this could get embarassing for the visitors.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Dirk Kuyt
GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!! Kuyt will never score an easier hat-trick in his life but my word United's defenders have some questions to answer. Suarez takes the free kick from 23 yards and Van der Sar gets across to parry it but only into the path of Kuyt, who is the only player to have followed in the free kick, to finish from a yard out. Surely it's game over now.
Once again the defenders for United are being far too lackidaisical and lose the ball in their own area. From the resultant throw in Liverpool get the ball in field to Kuyt whose brilliant pass finds Meireles however his shot is parried and then cleared by Evra. End to end here at Anfield.
United couldn't have gone any closer even if they tried. Giggs's corner is too deep for everyone and the ball is crossed back in by Rooney. Hernandez heads the cross back towards goal which Reina gets a touch to. The touch puts the ball into Berbatov's path but his header is chested off the line by Meireles. Here come United.
United having more possession in this half but they can do very little with it as Liverpool defend resolutely. Suarez ready to pounce on any counter attacking opportunity.
Suarez and Meireles are really enjoying themselevs today, thay are being given so much freedom by the United players and if they keep doing that Liverpool will score again.
United still sloppy in possession in the final third. Rooney has the opportunity to slip Hernandez through but his pass is woefully overhit and Ferguson's half time words have yet to to take affect for United.
Big chance for United. Berbatov has the ball on the right and Hernandez makes an excellent run into the area, the Bulgarian finds Hernandez but the ball just bounces in front of the striker and he can only guide it high and wide of the goal.
Looks like Rooney will set up on the left hand side of midfield now with Giggs moving onto the right. United must keep hold of the ball exceedingly better than they did in the first half.
Gerrard gets the game back underway and it will be interesting to see how United set up with Berbatov, Rooney and Hernandez all on the pitch.
That is half time here at Anfield and what a half of football it has been. Liverpool have been superior in almost every department and throughly lead through two Kuyt goals although he could hardly miss either of the chances. The half ended with both teams unhappy with some challenges that went in and Nani has gone off injured. A second half like this one and we will have an enjoyable afternoon.
45' + 6'
United won't even wait for half time before replacing Nani. The Portugese winger left the field in tears and we will bring you information on the extent of the damage as soon as we have it.
45' + 5'
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
45' + 4'
Yellow Card Rafael
45' + 4'
Yellow Card Martin Skrtel
45' + 4'
This has all got a bit silly now. Rafael's strong touch leaves him stretching and he upends Gerrard. The Liverpool players are furious and another melee ensues. Dowd is there to calm things down again.
45' + 3'
Nani leaves the field on a stretcher after Carragher's challenge. He seems in real pain and we will have to wait and see if he comes out for the second half.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Edwin van der Sar
Yellow Card Jamie Carragher
Nani goes down very dramatically holding his shin while the rest of the players become involved in some handbags. Phil Dowd just needs to calm this situation a bit. Carragher is rightly booked for a clumsy tackle.
United just playing for the half time whistle now, not that it will be any prettier inside that dressing room at half time.
United seem shocked but they really shouldn't they haven't really been at the races this afternoon and Liverpool have been very sharp. Ferguson will seething with his players so far.
Goal Dirk Kuyt
GOOOAAALLLL!!! Oh my, what do they say about attackers defending in the area? Suarez puts in a deep cross into the area but it wasn't reaching Meireles at the back post. Nani gets up to head clear but could only head straight into the path of Kuyt who heads home easily. Kuyt will not score an easier brace.
United are ragged right now. Carrick feels the pressure of Lucas breathing down his neck and slips on the ball and the the Brazilian drives into the area but Smalling recovers to deal with it.
United are under real pressure here as Liverpool sense blood. More good play down the left hand side sees Liverpool through again before Van der sar rushes out to block for a corner. Anfield is rocking right now.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Dirk Kuyt
GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!! I guess that's what you £20million for. Out of nothing Suarez has created a goal brilliantly and sent the Kop into raptures. On the left hand side of the area he weaves in and out of challenges from Carrick and Brown before flicking the ball across goal which Kuyt finishes from a yard. Brilliant from the Uruguayan.
Liverpool will be looking to turn their superiority into goals sooner rather than later or they may get punished. United have already shown with Berbatov's chance that they can score out of nothing.
United look like they are trying to prove a point that they can play the ball around at the back but a couple of times Liverpool have rushed them into mistakes. Just being a little careless in possession.
Van der Sar seems very quick to come off his line today to sweep up any balls over the top. Perhaps reflecting some distrust in the inexperienced centre-back pairing.
Aurelio has picked up a hamstring injury and will have to come off. Kyrgiakos is coming on with Carragher moving to right back and Johnson to left back. Liverpool may need some time to settle.
United have been quite sloppy in possession so far, too often they've strung a couple of passes together then needlessly given the ball away.
So close for Liverpool this time. Suarez wins the ball in his own half and takes the ball past Evra before producing a beautiful raking ball into the area which Meireles heads across goal but Kuyt just can't get anything on the ball to lift into the net. Excellent opening 18 minutes here.
What a strike. Almost a goal out of absolutely nothing. A long hopeful ball was headed down by Rooney into the path of Berbatov who volleyed the ball first time and his dipping shot bounced just before the goal and hit the outside of the post.
Very open start to proceedings, both teams looking to get on the front foot and get forward as quickly as possible.
Things seem to have settled down now. Liverpool still working extremely hard to pressure the United players but they are looking a little more calm on the ball. They seem to trying the diagonal ball forward for Berbatov at every opportunity at the moment.
United looking a little flustered here as Liverpool are playing with a very high tempo here. United need to get Giggs and Scholes onto the ball more just to settle the players down a bit.
Lovely build up play from Liverpool, Suarez and Gerrard cominbing well on the right before the skipper feeds Maxi who rather greedily snaps his shoot wide.
Bright start here for Liverpool as they look to put their rivals under some pressure early on.
Big chance. Excellent feet from Kuyt feeds the ball to Suarez who drives into the United half before spreading the ball to the right to Meireles whose ball into the area finds Suarez in his stride but he can't get contact and the ball falls harmlessly into Van der Sar's hands.
The game gets underway to a wave of boos from the Kop as United begin with the ball.
Sir Alex Ferguson has an inexperienced centre-half pairing to deal with Luis Suarez who has yet to set the Premier League alight since his big money move from Ajax. Brown and Smalling are the 5th choice partnership and Dalglish will be looking to exploit that. Ferguson has shuffled his pack since last week's win over Wigan. Top scorer Berbatov returns while Brown, Giggs and Rafael return in place of Hernandez, the suspended Vidic, Fletcher and O'Shea.
Kenny Dalglish has record signing Andy Carroll available for the first time since his deadline day move. The centre-forward starts on the bench though as the Scot makes two changes from last Sunday's defeat to West Ham. Aurelio and Maxi come into the team for Wilson and Kelly which shows a return to the 4-4-2 formation.
Manchester United line-up: Van der Sar Rafael Brown Smalling Evra Nani Scholes Carrick Giggs Berbatov Rooney Subs: Kuszczak, Fabio, O'Shea, Fletcher, Gibson, Hernandez, Obertan
Liverpool line-up: Reina Johnson Carragher Skrtel Aurelio Kuyt Lucas Gerrard Maxi Meireles Suarez Subs: Gulacsi, Kyrgiakos, Cole, Spearing, Poulsen, Carroll, Ngog
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Goal.com’s live commentary of the weekend’s big game. Liverpool will be hoping to further dent Manchester United’s title push and further enhance their push for European football next season with a victory at Anfield. Victory for United and their lead at the top of the Premier League will be extended to six points with just nine games to go.
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