1 Liverpool LIVE Commentary
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Kenny Dalglish so passive on the touchline he’s looking rather fed up as United look to see the game out as we head into the final 10 minutes. The visitors have never got going in the second half and United are looking very comfortable at the moment as they dominate possession.”
Greg Stobart gives us some post Rooney brace reaction from Old Trafford: “From the hostility and hatred as the players left the pitch at half time, the atmosphere around the stadium now is one of unconfined joy. The Stretford End is rocking to ‘we shall not be moved’ with the away end silenced by that quickfire Wayne Rooney double. The Uruguayan infuriated the United supporters and bench today by refusing to shake Patrice Evra’s hand before kick off, and in the final seconds of the half he continued to cause trouble by smashing the ball into the crowd. His behaviour this afternoon really has been contemptible. On the pitch, United have edged the game after a bright start from the visitors. Paul Scholes, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck have been particularly impressive. Both teams are lacking cutting edge in the final third although Paul Scholes missed a superb chance to put United ahead after a flowing move. As the the United fans continue to taunt Suarez chants I’m sure Kenny Dalglish will accept as ‘a bit of banter’ the Liverpool manager is deep in conversation with his assistant Steve Clarke. ‘You racist b’ chanted the United fans in the Stretford End towards the Uruguayan, who will be public enemy No. 1 here today. The frosty and overcast in Manchester as the stands fill up with around 10 minutes until kick off. There’s plenty of excitement here in the press box about a fixture described by Sir Alex Ferguson as United’s ‘main derby’ especially with the added incentive for the hosts of going to the top of the Premier League ahead of City’s game tomorrow.”
But fear not Luis Suarez lovers and Andy Carroll adorers: United may be a juggernaut on home turf but they are not without their weaknesses. City fans are probably screaming for me to mention the 6 1 flattening Roberto Mancini’s men gave them earlier this season. Blackburn Rovers fans who let’s be honest deserve a bit of joy with the campaign they’re having will be equally as adamant I bring up their shock 3 2 win at Old Trafford in January. And let us not forget that the Reds defeated United with a late goal from Dirk Kuyt only two weeks ago in the FA Cup fourth round. Will that win prove to be a psychological advantage?
United’s David de Gea has been given a bundle of abuse for his performances since his arrival from Atletico Madrid, and a some of it has been deserved. Ferguson, however, has stuck up for the Spanish goalkeeper after his display against Chelsea last weekend in his comments in today’s matchday programme: “A nightmare game followed by a brilliant recovery could well prove to be a turning point for De Gea in his career. David had a bad day when we were knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool a fortnight ago. I was possibly the person least concerned about giving him a recall, because I know his potential. He is capable of being United’s No. 1 goalkeeper for the next 10 years, and in the game at Chelsea he showed exactly why I have so much faith in him wit a display that was first class no, much better than that, he was superb. His performance reinforced my faith in him.”
United fans, a tasty treat for you. Here’s a snippet from Sir Alex Ferguson in today’s matchday programme, urging both clubs to “move on” from the Evra Suarez debate: “As you well know, I regard our fixtures with Liverpool as the real derby matches of the season. As always, we can expect a feisty match this afternoon, and this time it will have the hangover of the issue between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra. My own feeling is that it is time to move on. Right from the start we have tried to avoid aggravating the situation. As far as we are concerned, it’s over. My biggest regret is the way that Patrice has been castigated in some quarters for standing up to racism. He can’t have enjoyed the booing he endured at Anfield the other week, but he kept his dignity and his concentration on football.”
And will Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish make any changes to his starting eleven? The Reds fought admirably on Monday at home to Tottenham but were unable to break through the visitors defence. Steven Gerrard’s name may as well be tattooed into the team sheet by the coach such is his importance in this fixture. The club captain has scored four times in his last five appearances for against United. Luis Suarez is guaranteed a reception to remember by the Old Trafford faithful should he feature but the striker is an impact player Dalglish will not want to leave out. The former Ajax forward has yet to start since completing his eight match ban for racially abusing United Patrice Evra, and there’s no bigger game the Uruguayan could come back to the fray in!
The starting line ups are yet to be announced but as soon as they are you can guarantee I will be filtering them in your direction. Do we have any predictions as to who Sir Alex Ferguson will field up front today? The Scot chose Danny Welbeck to partner Wayne Rooney in their breathtaking Chelsea clash last weekend, but Javier Hernandez could be favoured after scoring the third and decisive goal that secured the Red Devils a draw at Stamford Bridge. I can’t be the only one that remembers Dimitar Berbatov’s impressive hat trick against United’s biggest Merseyside rivals in this fixture last season either.0