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United Gave Away The Three Points, Gift-Wrapped

I've seen lots of Liverpool v United games but I can think of only two which rivals this in terms of being infuriating. First would be their sickening comeback from 0-3 in 1994, the other was when David Elleray salvaged a draw for them in 1999.

But it all started well. Weather was fine, Gerrard and Torres were on the bench, our starting line-up looked solid and included Berbatov. And it got better: within 3 minutes, the Bulgarian latched onto Scholes' through ball, took it to the byline then cut back for Tevez who hammered home from just inside the box.

It looked set to be another happy Anfield afternoon. We were the better team, looked more dangerous and defended solidly. It looked like we could actually increase our lead when disaster struck.

It felt like being at Stamford Bridge as usually Chelsea are who score these type of goals. The ball deflected off Evra towards goal but Van der Sar was comfortably first to the it and he should have got it easily - instead he opted to punch it too early, the ball hit Brown and rolled into the empty net. You may notice that I did not mention the name of a single Liverpool player while describing their equaliser - well, no surprise as they really had nothing to do with it.

Now, we are the English and European champions, I thought. This temporary setback should be no problem really, we're capable of scoring again. And I was almost proved right immediately as Tevez missed a great chance to put us back in front.

However, the worrying signs began to accumulate. Liverpool tackled, harassed, hassled and were generally inconvenient. Benayoun kicked Carrick off the park and Scholes was simply off the pace, such a frantic game is not for his old legs anymore. Still, we made it till the break without major problems.

Carrick had to be brought off and we assumed that either Hargreaves or Fletcher would come in to replace him. Instead Fergie opted for another veteran whose legs are no longer capable of that extra mile: Ryan Giggs. In such a game it was suicide.

Liverpool's physical superiority became absolutely crystal clear and though their footballing skills are mediocre at best they just bombed forward, sent crosses in constantly and hoped that we would commit a mistake. Not very sophisticated, this approach and they did not have a really fine attack until the 92nd minute but it was enough to cause us serious problems. Which is an obvious concern as teams with limited skill but endless stamina should not unsettle us so easily...

Still, Giggs, despite being almost invisible, was inches away of scoring and as Liverpool had no real chances we looked set for a draw which wasn't very good but still acceptable. However, the wearers of the white shirt decided that they should not escape with a point.

Mascherano's dribble on the right was brilliant, one of the rare moments of pure skill from a Liverpool player. But Giggs got the ball and had it covered. Losing it there, in that position - astonishing and incredible. Seasoned veterans should really know better. And that's how we gave away another goal, another one where we should have easily cleared the ball.

The rest of the game was pure horror. It was obvious that we had neither the mental nor the physical strength - another worrying sign - to scrape an equaliser though Rooney could have done it but totally mishit his shot. Summed up his afternoon really. And as for Berbatov... started well then the total disintegration of our midfield resulted in the isolation of our strikers, Tevez and Berbatov.

Liverpool deserved to win, simply because they kept bombing forward and because it would be the Premier League's embarassment if we had got away with the mistakes we had made. This way it's only our own embarassment.

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday September 13 2008

Time: 11:04PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Gracious in defeat as always... putting it alot fairer The Pool after the first ten minutes pulled their socks up and played man utd off the park...utd were *****e.
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14/09/2008 00:02:00

I can see you've tried to be gracious in defeat, but really, insulting an opponant's skills and ablility right after we've just played you off the park is either you trying to comfort yourselves that you just had an off day, or just being petulant because you lost. In the second half I saw absolutely nothing from any player in white to suggest that we are inferior technically. Admittedly we weren't as clinical in finishing as we'd like, but with our 'two-man-team' on the bench we were always going to be a bit less sharp than usual. Anyway, I might even stretch to hoping you grab a point at Stamford Bridge, we up at the top need Chelsea to drop a few now ;)
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14/09/2008 02:22:00

more often then not United are not so good after International breaks. They also missed Ronaldo alot, reguardless of what the new Ronaldo haters say.
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14/09/2008 02:48:00

What a joke!! 1-1 vs Newcastle 1-0 vs Portsmouth 2-1 vs Liverpool How are you going to say Liverpool's "footballing skills are mediocre?" when you can't even beat Newcastle at home? without Ronaldo you guys are *****. Rooney is the most overrated player in the world. last season you guys played like ***** until Ronaldo came back from injury and again this season you guys are playing like ***** with out him. Liverpool might be a 'two-man-team' but Ronaldo is MAN U and with out you guys are no better then Newcastle.
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14/09/2008 03:50:00

Better team won !
Tiny T
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14/09/2008 07:51:00

without ronaldo last season you would have finished 5th this seasons looks like it could be worse but over the years i have learnt not right you guys off...... the best team won on the day.....
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14/09/2008 11:31:00

time for ben foster to get fit and retire van der sars old ass
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14/09/2008 15:38:00

ps. rooneyisgod - show VDS some respect, remember last may? some fans have such short memories...
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14/09/2008 15:51:00

Alright guys, whatever peopel like Naoise and the like say, our team should have been able to beat Liverpool. I place no blame on Fergie, but instead those of the players. Barring Teves and Fletcher, the rest of the tewam simply havent turned up for the new season yet. However, lets remember, this is undoubtedly our toughest run of games in the entrire season, so a positive result in the champions league followed by somethign simialr at Stamford Bridge could re-instate the confidence back in to our team. As Paulinho also said, the return of Ronaldo will undoubtedly be a huge boost. Personally, i feel that we look alot weaker from set peices, Van Der Sar has become very "flappy" to use the word, and our rock solid defence has already shipped 6 5 goals against Newcastle, Pool and Zenit. But alas, we have the complete squad ans I am hopeful we can get out of thisa tough run of games less scathed than we are now, and then we can push on.
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14/09/2008 15:51:00

You guys have bad problem with your defence in this season. As united4life says, you already shipped 5 goals in 3 games. And also, I would agree with the most of you, that you have really good strikers, but when Ronaldo is out from the team, all they (Tevez, Rooney, Berbatov) looks "anaemic". It's easy to made a conclude that they are strong and dangerous (dangerous - looks scary in front of opposite defence) only when Ronaldo is playing alongside them. And I must say: you have had really good luck in the last few season, and obviosly, the time of this luckyness is over.
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14/09/2008 17:28:00

Midfield crumbled, Scholes couldn't handle it and Hargreaves is the new Saha. Carrick may have helped alittle bit but reguardless, Veloso is the man for the midfield.
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14/09/2008 19:01:00

United4life, that's a pretty rich attempt at self-comforting. Do you go into matches against Arsenal or Chelsea or Man City expecting to win like that? If you do, then you're more arrogant than the usual standard for United fans. And deluded. United thrive off the fear factor players like Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez give them. Other clubs look at them in your line-up and can only think bad things will happen to their own side on the pitch. When a team gets in your face it quashes that illusion and you invariably struggle. I can easily see Chelsea playing you off the park if you turn out the same team against them. Honestly, sentiment aside, how many of your players would make it into the first-teams of the other top four teams? Ronaldo, Ferdinand, Evra is all I can see, at least until Rooney starts scoring again. Berbatov only plays well when things are going his way, Vidic is a solid defender but not the titan you seem to think he is, and none of your central midfielders have a patch on the likes of Lampard, Deco, Fabregas, Essien, Ballack, Gerrard, Alonso or Mascherano. Before you moan about Scholes and Giggs accept that they're past it and move on. I'm not gonna make any bold predictions about this season as I still think Liverpool will not win the league, Chelsea will storm it for me, but I do think you will continue to struggle, with or without ladyboy, unless you come down from that high horse of yours and learn to work for your victories instead of just turning up and expecting the opposition to let you win.
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14/09/2008 19:23:00

can't wait until next Sunday - bring it on boys!
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14/09/2008 19:42:00

i have respect for van der sar but its time for him to get replaced. It started at the end of last season with his kicking now its everything going.
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14/09/2008 20:31:00

naoise, perhaps i would take your views seriously if they werent so obviously anti-united. to mock vidic's ability and the strength of our midfield pretty much shows you hace it in for us...whether its jeleaosy or pure hate, i dont know. i dont even care. but please, stop with all the high and mighty *****...its both old and boring.
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14/09/2008 22:23:00

Of course I'm anti-united - I'm an effing LFC fan! but it doesn't stop me appreciating our rivals when they deserve it. I didn't mock Vidic, merely suggested that he's perhaps not as great as you think he is - if you can't even take that then maybe you do need mroe people telling you you're being high and mighty. Or are you developing a slight inferiority complex now? As for your central midfield, it's only my opinion. Scholes and Giggs (who isn't a CM anyway) were both top players who I actually enjoyed watching play in the late 90's, but they are both clearly outstaying their welcome at the level of quality that you want to produce. Were it not for their history, and they were new 24 year old signings giving the performances they have been for you recently then you'd see it too. As for your other central midfielders, it's not a crime that I don't rate them. Every time I watch United play it's usually somewhere around the 60-minute mark that i realise Carrick's on the field. That's not a bad thing in itself, as a lot of players do excellent work without being noticed, but he's hardly the dominant game-changing player you expect to see in a United number 16 shirt, and while I admit I am biased, I do basically see him as a poor imitation of Alonso. As for Hargreaves, again, it's not a sin that I don't particularly rate him - he's an excellent athlete, when he's fit, but he just doesn't strike me as having any special ability to mark him out when you compare him to rival CMs from the other top four clubs. Anderson looks promising, and perhaps could be a good player in years to come, but I wouldn't swap him for our own central midfield prospect Lucas Leiva. As I'm sure you're snorting in derision right about now I should point out that that would just be your opinion, and this is just mine. The point of these forums is to be able to banter about and exchange ideas and if you can't even accept a bit of critisism (albeit admittedly with a pinch of smugness given the result) then perhaps you're more worried about your team than you're letting on... It's just a thought, nothing sinister or subversive meant. Besides, when does an argument classified as 'old and boring' stop being valid? I know a lot of rival fans who still insist we're a two-man-team, or that Arsenal are easily bullied, or Chelsea are a bunch of moaning cheats - argument will remain valid in rival fans eyes so long as there is even the tiniest element of truth to them.
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15/09/2008 00:07:00 are such an arrogant creature too...just because liverfool won a game after losing to mu for 3 or 4 seasons, it does not mean that liverfool is overall better than mu in every effects...its so sad seeing you starting to compare mu's players with liverfool's and rest of the big four's by thinking liverfool have achieved something great/won the league or better players than mu just after beating mu once in years...hang on...let me have a laugh at in that case...just curious why on earth liverfool haven't win the league yet if they are so much better than mu or other big fours??? and who do you think you are to start judging mu would not win the league this season. remember there are more than 30 games to go. every team will have their day off in a game or two. glad than mu had it on a 50/50% game instead of when playing with a lower table team. you must have quite disappointed when mu won the league last season and liverfool finished fourth even though mu played badly in other few games. its correct that forums are meant for exchanging ideas but for critisism??? hmm...well, its better you do that in your own forum...i guess..for instance, you don't go into a country and criticise the cultures and people of the country...but its different if you do that in your own country...hope you see the point...chill... :)
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15/09/2008 05:05:00

If you read Naoise's earlier comment, he did say that he doesn't think we will win the league so open your eyes. The chavs have a better squad than anyone and Man ure's day off in a game or 2 will be every time gay boy gets injured coz he's the only reason you lot won the league last year, you are not the same team without him.
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15/09/2008 10:44:00

Yeah its jsut that arguemnt doesnt really wash with me. We have had ***** games with Ronaldo and great games without him. Its an easy excuse for peopel who dont follow us, very much liek the whole "Gerrard+Torres+Liverpool2 argument. At the end of the day, it is only the fans who can really juge their players, as they watch them week in week out. And me a United fan that doesnt rate Carrick, and i will show you someonw who isnt a real fan. The work he does off the ball is so underated, his passing range is immense. Only becasue he doesnt waste chances liek Lampard, Alonso and Gerrard by shooting from 30yrds+ whenever he has the ball does not mean he is a bad player. Im not for one minute saying he is as good as fabregas, but he is a player in a similar mould. Someoe who can spot a pass from amile off. Go and ask a Spud about Carrick nad they will tell you how they havent even found a replacemnt yet. Anyway this is getting boringm lets agree to disagree....Or agree that im right! :)
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15/09/2008 15:25:00

I'm guessing you changed your name to have a pop, else you've got a like-minded twin somewhere...I'm not gonna carry on this argument any more as you're right, we'll agree to disagree, but I would just like to point out a couple of things (and I only ask for a fair hearing for them before you have another rant). In the first place, at no point in any of my statements have I made any predictions or assertions as to how good I think Liverpool are or where they'll finish, aside from the understandable little dig about the result on saturday in my first post. I still think you'll probably finish above us, and I went on to suggest that they players I said I don't rate from you are not good enough, in my opinion, to perform at the level that YOU want from them. When I say that these players are not good enough to get into the sides of the other top four teams that doesn't automatically mean that they're spew, after all all the four teams have a fair share of players who wouldn't get into some Uefa Cup teams imho (Pennant, O'Shea - I'm Irish and he is too poor for us to be held up as a top-four defender, Senderos or Malouda). I made critisism's of these players based on attributes that I believe they lack, and you have only now answered only one of those critisms, regarding Carrick. And the one you did answer showed that you didn't read my post because I already explained that not being noticed in itself was not a poor quality, rather he's just not dominant enough in the park and to me appears to struggle when he isn't surrounded by pace to create gaps for him - i.e. he can pick a pass, possibly not as well as Alonso, but he's certainly not blind, but he doesn't seem to be able to take a game by the scruff of the neck and command the pitch like his peers you mentioned can. Calling me arrogant doesn't really bother me, as it's just a way of avoiding the arguments I made, which either means deep down you see some truth in them, or you think they're too moronic to believe my statements are worth answering. As for the argument about Manure only playing well when Ronaldo's on the pitch, the stats do back it up, but it's not just a case of wins to losses, it's the mentality created by seeing his name on the team-sheet that wins you half the battle. The great Liverpool sides of the seventies and eighties were always said to be 1-0 up before the game even started because teams were so scared of playing them, especially at Anfield, and as Ronaldo is such a consistantly spectacular player, particularly in the league, seeing his name up against you gives opposition defenders nightmares. Take it from me that even though it's obvious how good he is, being a Liverpool fan admitting it on a ManU website shows how sincere I'm trying to be about this. He doesn't even have to play particularly well in the game because the damage is already done psychologically. And of course ManU can win games without him as you've got quality throughout the team as well. My point is, finally :p, that I think other teams will have noticed how successful we were against you because we got in your face and wouldn't let you play your game. They will look at your other performances this season so far and be boosted by them, thinking that now is the best time to take you on. And if and when this happens, the expectancy you have that teams will crumble under the sort of pressure you put them under last season will be disappointed because you have vulnerablilities just like the rest of us. Anyway, I'm bidding au revoir to the Vital ManU website for a bit as I've spent so much time on here the last few days chatting to you I feel a little queasy lol, so all I'll say is I hope your game with the chavs is entertaining, and see you in the new year at Old Trafford.
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16/09/2008 00:46:00

14th on the table !!!!!!!! you will stay there this season !
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16/09/2008 07:37:00

lol L F POOL you said that cause you know we will overtake you in the league within 4 matches.
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16/09/2008 21:12:00

Ochoa for goalie!
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17/09/2008 04:03:00


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