Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1: Match Report, Analysis and Reds' Player Ratings

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Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1: Match Report, Analysis and Reds' Player Ratings
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liverpool have been revitalized since the second coming of Merseyside legend Kenny Dalglish who was appointed by the new owners. After overcoming some minor blips at the start, Dalglish has stamped his authority in their style of playing, which had been labored during the short tenure of Roy Hodgson.

The wily Scotsman has had a lot of things to deal with including the acrimonious transfer of Fernando Torres, and he has been inspirational in the revival of Liverpool.

Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson have a long rivalry spanning over two decades and though the duo met in the FA Cup in January, it was impossible for Dalglish to set things right in one day. But during the weeks after that encounter, Liverpool have been in excellent form even without Torres, and the Reds signed two young strikers in Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll as the Spaniard's replacements.

Carroll was on the bench for the first time for Liverpool while Suarez started the biggest game of the season for Liverpool against Manchester United at Anfield. He had already established himself as an excellent striker at Ajax, and though he had looked lively for the Reds in the previous games, it would take time before he is at his best.

He is a player who loves the big occasions and cemented his place in the hearts of Liverpool supporters with a scintillating piece of skill that left United's defense dazed, and Kuyt was allowed the privilege of tapping in the goal which will be remembered for the assist.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Kenny Dalglish: The leader of Liverpool

The goal, which arrived in the 34th minute, was deserved by Liverpool who had dominated the opening exchanges of the game. It was a huge boost to their confidence as the supporters were buoyed by the lead against Manchester United.

Nani has been excellent for Manchester United and is currently leading the assists table in the Premier League but his assist for Kuyt's second goal will be one to forget.

Suarez's cross was not near any Liverpool player, but Nani headed it from the edge of the box towards the goal where a grateful Kuyt made no mistake in finishing it.

Liverpool against United is always a game which generates heated arguments and Jamie Carragher's bad tackle on Nani provoked one of them. The defender was cautioned but not sent off which was a boost to the Reds, but it was cancelled out by the referee not sending off Rafael after a bad tackle and fighting.

It was a good time for the referee to blow the whistle for half time as 10 more minutes would have seen a sending off.

Manchester United, who were visibly shaken up by the Reds' attacking play, were much better after the break as Paul Scholes threatened to take control of the proceedings.

However, Liverpool's third goal sealed the fate of the game. Suarez's free kick was parried by Edwin van Der Sar and Kuyt was first to react not for the first time in the game and sealed the game with a hat trick that will be remembered for the significance rather than the goals.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Dimitar Berbatov was unable to reproduce his heroics against the Reds

Liverpool fans had more to cheer as Carroll made his debut coming on for the classy Raul Meireles. They were loud and effervescent throughout the game and not even a Javier Hernandez consolation goal for United could dampen their spirits as they cheered their victorious team off the field.

The past few years has not been pleasant for the Reds supporters but since the return of their hero Dalglish, the future looks bright with the arrival of the talented new strikers Suarez and Carroll.

Torres left a club lacking ambition, but since his departure, it has looked a club which can regain its place in the Champions League and win the Premiership in the future.

 

Player Ratings:

 

Pepe Reina: 7

He could do nothing about the goal but was commanding at the back and came out to nullify the threat from crosses. It was a game where he would be pleased he was not tested as much as he would have expected.

Fabio Aurelio: 6.5

Aurelio coped well early in the match with the threat of Nani and along with Robin van Persie and Daniel Agger, he has to be amongst the most unfortunate players regarding injuries. It looked like he had injured his hamstring after a promising half an hour.

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Jamie Carragher: 7

The Liverpool legend is known for his commitment and loyalty, and today was no different though his tackle on Nani was horrible and could have resulted in a red card and a more serious injury to the Portuguese winger. However, according to the Respect campaign, the referee's decisions stand and at the end of the day, one will have to applaud the Englishman for a fighting display.

Martin Skrtel: 7

He has been criticised for some of his previous displays but was on his game today as he made numerous important tackles and interceptions.

Glen Johnson: 6.5

With Kelly injured and Aurelio fit, he reverted to his favored right back position where he provided good width. But Aurelio's injury meant he had to shift back to the left where he was solid but did not show his attacking instincts.

Lucas: 7

The Brazilian has been one of the much maligned players in the past, but his drastic improvement has seen him develop into an excellent midfielder and repaid the faith of the manager with a committed and tenacious performance in the middle of the park.

Steven Gerrard: 7

The last time the two teams met, the Liverpool captain looked a lone fighter fighting a lost cause. But the tide was turned this time, and he received ample support from his confident team mates. Though he was not at his best, his passion and commitment were applauded by the Anfield faithful.

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Senastional Suarez sealed United's fate with this scintillating assist

Raul Meireles: 8

The Portuguese midfielder has been transformed since the appointment of Dalglish and was rightly given a standing ovation by the Anfield crowd after yet another superb performance in which he showed his skill and creativity.

Maxi Rodriguez: 6.5

His commitment to the cause could not be doubted, but he lacks the cutting edge required to open up defence. He did work tirelessly and made some good runs into the box though the end product was lacking on many occasions.

Luis Suarez: 9 - Man of the Match

The former Ajax striker was unstoppable as he waded past three defenders and laid the perfect assist to Kuyt. His running off the ball was excellent and already seems to have established a good chemistry with Meireles and Kuyt. Suarez also seems a capable set-piece taker as he showed in the game. His link-up play was excellent as was his work rate, and he certainly seems to be the real deal.

Dirk Kuyt: 9

If anyone in Liverpool deserved a hat-trick against Manchester United, it was Dirk Kuyt, who has been amongst the most unselfish players for the club. Though he has not got a great scoring strike rate for the Reds, his work rate and commitment has been exemplary and it was a day to remember for the Dutchman. 

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Hat-trick hero Kuyt

 

Substitutes:

Sotirios Kyrgiakos: 7

He did give away some unnecessary fouls but was solid at the back and did the job his manager asked him to do. He made some strong tackles and provided stability at the back after Carragher moved to the right back role.

Andy Carroll: 6.5

He made his much awaited debut for the Reds and seemed confident for the little time he was there. He showed his rustiness with some of his touches, but it is clear he will provide a new dimension for the Reds in the future.

Joe Cole: N/A

The talented midfielder would love to capture his best form but it was not to be today as he came on with very little time left in the game.


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