Writer: Red Boy
Date:Sunday January 9 2011
United squeezed past Liverpool, to earn a place in round four, courtesy of a very early penalty from Ryan Giggs.
Sir Alex, mindful of our early exit to Leeds United at a similar stage of the competition last season, selected a strong side for the visit of Liverpool. The only deviations from a full strength side being the absence of Van der Sar, Vidic and Rooney allowing starting opportunities for Kuszczak, Evans and Hernandez. On the bench was our recent signing Anders Lindegaard.
Team - Kuszczak, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Berbatov, Hernandez
Subs - Lindegaard, Smalling, Fabio, Anderson, Gibson, Owen, Obertan
First Half - Liverpool got the half underway but with thirty-one seconds on the clock United were awarded a penalty when Agger was adjudged to have tripped Berbatov in the area, After the commotion died down Giggs stepped forward to beat Riena although the keeper did go the right way.
United 1 Liverpool 0 (Giggs pen - 2 minutes)
Despite taking an early lead, the game went into a bit of a lull. Torres could have done better when Kuyt delivered a fine cross and Fletcher picked up the first yellow card of the game after a foul on Kuyt.
Kuyt provided another cross but a weak header from Torres went wide. Both sides won corners but neither side could capitalise as both were easily dealt with by the respective defences. Maxi saw a shot pushed away by Kuszczak whilst Kelly saw his cross cleared, from the danger area, as Liverpool produced a decent spell.
Evans looked good coming out of defence with the ball but his surge came to nothing before Gerrard became the centre of attention, first seeing a low shat saved by the keeper and then seeing a straight red card after a reckless lunge on Carrick.
Nani weaved between two defenders but his shot was too weak to beat Reina before both Kuyt and Maxi missed the target from long range. Right on the stroke of half time Evans superbly met a corner with his head only to be denied by the post.
Half Time - Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0
Second Half - United started the second half and were on the offensive straight away. Berbatov fed Fletcher and his cross was glanced wide by Hernandez.
Hernandez then sent over a cross and Aurelio lived dangerously with a powerful back-header to Reina. Evra believed he was fouled in the area but Howard Webb wasn`t to be fooled again.
Raul Meireles let fly from distance but his shot was woefully off target. Kelly produced a good cross but Ferdinand did well to block a shot from Torres. Dalglish rang the changes bringing on Shelvey and Babel for Maxi and Meireles.
Babel almost made an instant impression forcing a save out of Kuszczak from some thirty yards out. Sir Alex changed things by introducing Anderson, with Fletcher departing.
Kuszczak then produced a good save to deny Aurelio from a free kick from distance before United went close to doubling their lead as the Liverpool goal lived a charmed life with Reina in good form to deny Berbatov`s deft flick.
To boos from the away end and cheers from the remainder of the ground, Sir Alex introduced Michael Owen for Hernandez. Dalglish took off Torres to give Ngog a chance as Liverpool sought an equaliser but it was still United pressing and Reina had to save well from Berbatov again.
Babel met a Kelly cross, with his head, but couldn`t hit the target. Owen galloped onto a ball down the flank only to see his delightful cross toe-poked away.
Giggs, still showing he can turn on the style, went on a mazy run before being crowded out before Berbatov headed over a cross from Evra. One last change was made with Smalling replacing Evans and the finishing post was in sight for United.
There was still time for Owen to shoot wide from outside the area and for Anderson to see a shot deflected behind for a corner, but progression, into round four, was ours!
Full Time - Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0
Vital Man United on:
Vital Man United on:
Date:Sunday January 9 2011
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