Manchester United Beat Liverpool: Managers Praise Spirit and Quality Post-Game

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after  the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 23, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers was disappointed with his side's defending but pleased with their resolve and fight later on in the game following a 2-1 defeat for Liverpool against Manchester United.

Liverpool found themselves two goals down to strikes from Robin van Persie and Patrice Evra before substitute Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back, but despite plenty of late pressure for the away team, the Reds couldn't find an equaliser.

The manager was effusive in his praise for the players in not accepting their fate after falling two goals behind (per LiverpoolFC.com):

I thought at the end we deserved something. I am very proud of the fight in the team in the second half. We went 2-0 down and when you come here, it's always difficult. Other teams might have crumbled. By the end of the 90 minutes, I thought we probably deserved something. It was unfortunate, but I am proud of the second-half performance.

Rodgers, though, also acknowledged that Liverpool's downfall was of their own making, after a poor first 45 minutes where United might have had more than just the one-goal lead.

We were disappointed with the first half. I thought we were too tentative. There wasn't much in the first half, but any chances they had were through us giving the ball away. We wanted to pass the ball, which is great, but it's got to be aggressive. We presented them the ball and three opportunities in the first half just by being a little bit tentative.

Praise was also reserved for striker Daniel Sturridge, who marked his Premier League debut for the club with a goal, his second in two games for Liverpool.

This is a boy that can be a real top striker in this country. He is going to score many goals for Liverpool. You've seen in half a game today and 55 minutes last week [against Mansfield] that this boy is a goalscorer and all he needed was an opportunity. He is going to be a terrific signing for us.

On the part of Manchester United, boss Alex Ferguson spoke to the BBC and was quick to praise his players for a fantastic first 60 minutes, as they bossed the game for large spells.

Up until Liverpool scored we were fantastic. That was as well as we've played for quite a while. When you play Liverpool you've got to be in your best form, and I thought that was ours. Liverpool were inspired with the goal and credit to Liverpool for coming back. Their fans got something to cheer on and they made a real fist of it.

Jokingly, Ferguson also mentioned that he would hand Nemanja Vidic credit for United's second goal ahead of Patrice Evra—in so doing making the Serb the 19th player to score for his team this season. The manager was pleased to have his regular centre-back partnership back in action together for the first time since September.

Fantastic. They [Vidic and Rio Ferdinand] were absolutely brilliant. Experience counts, and it counted today.

Johnny Evans, who has played much of this season, missed the game with a muscle injury—but Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both appeared off the substitutes' bench.

United's win sent them temporarily 10 points clear at the top of the league.