has to be our best performance and result since at least, oooh, our last match
. We've felt hard down by in several recent matches against Utd over the last few seasons, and not had a good record under Benitez, but this completes a memorable league double (after our win at Anfield
United took the lead mid-way through the first-half, with a Ronaldo penalty after Reina needlessly up-ended Park (no complaints there - perhaps Reina felt pressured into it given Hyypia's lack of pace, but Park wasn't going anywhere dangerous at the time). Parity was restored eight minutes later, when Skrtel hit a long ball for Torres to chase - Vidic let it bounce and Torres was past him to beat Van Der Saar.
Some Utd fans had made a lot of the fact that Torres didn't do too much to trouble their defence last season, but he certainly gave Vidic a torrid time today. I think he did have one penalty shout of his own, when Vidic blocked him off with two out-stretched arms in the penalty area - maybe it would have been given had we not been at Old Trafford. We did get one of our own, however, when Gerrard surged into the area only to have his feet clipped from under him by Evra (who, surprisingly, wasn't carded). Gerrard stood up to despatch the penalty and complete a fantastic half of football. 2-1 at the break, but a long way to go.
The second half was surprisingly open and, when Ferguson introduced Giggs, Scholes and Berbatov (a more threatening trio than Babel, El Zhar and Ngog I have to admit) I feared the worst. I did comment to my friend, Tom, though that it was risky if they were to pick up any injuries. What I didn't expect was for Vidic to earn a straight red card - this time, unable to cope with another Gerrard run and hauling him to the ground, rugby-style. To make matters even better, Aurelio curled a fantastic free-kick round the wall and into the corner of the net, to give us a two goal cushion as well as the man advantage.
Despite this, the game never looked entirely safe, as we unsurprisingly were forced to spend a lot of time defending. I'd been surprised when Riera had been replaced by Dossena (rather than Babel, whose pace I thought would pose danger on the break), but did say again to Tom that it would be funny if he followed up his first goal against Real with another here - and he did, running on to a long clearance from Reina and lifting it expertly over Van Der Saar with his first touch. Maybe we've been too harsh on him this season - perhaps the problem is that he's not a left-back but an attacker!
I still think the league is beyond us and, to be honest, I'd be even more worried about facing Utd in Europe after this (which will no doubt fire them up) - so perhaps that's a draw to put money on, if you're a betting man. Nonetheless, it's great to savour the moment.
Labels: football, liverpool