From a Manchester United fan perspective, Sunday was the biggest game of the season and what a feeling to get one over them at Anfield for the second successive season. Was it a classic in terms of quality? No, but will it be remembered by fans for a long time? Yes.
You see, that’s the impact this fixture has. No one remembers most of Diego Forlan’s appearances but everyone can remember his double in this fixture, everyone remembers the Rafael strike, the Taibi saves, the O’Shea goal, the Rio goal, this game makes legends to the fans and eventually after a long eleven year wait, Rooney doubled his tally in the Anfield fixture to 2.
All I’ve heard from people who aren’t fans of United since the game is weren’t you lucky, the performance was poor . All I can say is try and find one true United fan that cares, beating Liverpool is pretty much the best feeling you can get all year. Personally, I couldn’t care if it was a five ricochet deflection off Borthwick-Jackson’s backside.I said before the game that LVG understood that Sunday was all about the three points, and the players clearly understood that too, post match interviews showing clarity on the matter.
The match itself was relatively poor. Liverpool were much the better team in the first half , and in fairness throughout the game. It was a mixture of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping that meant they walked away from Anfield with no points. De Gea made a crucial save in the first half from Lallana and in the second half from Can twice and Firmino.
Fellaini was getting a lot of stick before the game and people writing him off before a ball was kicked. He made excellent contributions both defensively and a telling contribution at the other end. While many Reds chose to boo when Herrera was substituted instead of Fellaini when Memphis came on, the fact is that four people surrounded him at that corner and he is the only player in our squad capable of winning that header. That combination with Rooney’s finish meant they took all three points back down the m62 and hopefully people will get off his back a little now.
Rooney himself netted only his second goal at Anfield in eleven years, however he continued his bright start to 2016 , now making it 5 goals in 4 games and if United have any top four or even title aspirations then they need to keep this man in form and in the team.
Klopp was yet again left to rue the poor finishing ability of his team. While his Gegenpressing philosophy seems to bring out mistakes in the opposition, he will have to work on his teams finishing if he wants to capitalise on those mistakes. Another weakness of Liverpool that was exploited yesterday was the goal was conceded from a set piece. That is the 7th one this season and the 6th under Klopp. It is clearly an area where teams can get at Liverpool and serious time needs to be spent on the training pitch dealing with this.
Seeing 3 United players in the away end , Rojo, Carrick and Jones, helps connect with fans with the players and all joined in the jubilant celebrations when Rooney struck the winner. It was a short happy journey home to Manchester for some, while others making a shorter journey were left to ponder where it all went wrong.
The last word has to go to Wayne Rooney, who breaks the record of Thierry Henry for most goals scored for a single club in the Premier League, with 176. Congratulations to him on another fantastic achievement.
Mignolet, Clyne, Toure (Benteke), Sakho, Moreno, Henderson, Lucas, Can, Milner (Caulker), Firmino, Lallana (Ibe)
De Gea, Young (Borthwick-Jackson), Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Schneiderlin, Fellaini, Martial, Herrera (Memphis), Lingard (Mata), Rooney
Referee: Mark Clattenburg