Sunday, March 23, 2008

Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool

Benitez has yet to pick up so much as a point against Manchester United (though, contrary to some reports, he has beaten them). Sadly, I didn't have too much hope of that changing today, as United edged the first half and went in a goal to the good, following a mistake by Reina (who, despite making several very good saves, was unfortunately at fault also for the second).

The real talking point, of course, was the sending off of Mascherano (who Hansen had picked out as a key player before the match). While I won't claim that it dictated the result, I think it certainly explained why the game wasn't closer.

Maybe he was a bit of an idiot given that he was already on a yellow card, but the fact is his dismissal apparently came simply for asking a question - and, while certain questions can, depending on tone, sound like dissent, it seems strange to interpret it as such given that Liverpool had just received a free kick. Whatever was said, I think it wouldn't have happened had it not been for the recent fuss over Ashley Cole and Chelsea, which itself raises issues of justice. It's the first dismissal Liverpool have suffered this season and I have to say I don't think our players are generally as guilty of harrassing referees as those of Man Utd or Chelsea (John Terry's recent remarks striking me as particularly hypocritical).

Without our midfield enforcer, and already a goal down, it was no surprise that late efforts from Ronaldo and Nani were able to put a gloss on the result. Unfortunately, we now have an international break before a crunch clash with Everton (for which Mascherano will be suspended). We're still two points clear of our blue neighbours, so if we win that then 4th place should be in our hands.

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