Monday 23 March 2015

Match report: Liverpool 1-2 United

United surged to a monumental victory through two majestic Juan Mata strikes as Steven Gerrard was sent off 38 seconds after coming on in a dramatic thriller at Anfield.

This win was simply massive for the Reds - not only have we completed the double over the Merseysiders and opened up a five point lead - but we have put an end to their unbeaten league run in 2015.

That 13 game run- neatly bookended by defeats to United at home and away- never looked like being extended here as United came flying out of the traps.

We needed an early goal as reward for the dominant start and duly obliged in the 16th minute.

Ander Herrera and Mata again linked up to brilliant effect as the two Spaniards combined for the latter to control the ball with a magnificent first touch before rolling in a composed finish across Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.

United were playing with a tempo and intensity that meant the hosts could not get near us in what must be the best performance by a visiting side at Anfield in years. 

Liverpool were forced to play like the away side but did go close on the counter attack when 
Adam Lallana steered narrowly wide after good build up play from Daniel Sturridge. 

It was Lallana who was sacrificed for the brief introduction of Gerrard, who hinted at his approach with a thunderous challenge on Mata before deservedly seeing red for a disgracefully reckless stamp on Herrera.

Mata emphasised the folly of Gerrard's red card with a sensational moment of magic on the hour mark.
Angel Di Maria, on a substitute for the limping Ashley Young, lifted the ball into the area for Mata to slam home a wonderfully acrobatic scissor kick and silence the home fans further.

United then should have put the result beyond doubt within a minute but, with Wayne Rooney unmarked in the middle, Di Maria overhit his pass and the chance was squandered.

To their credit, Liverpool responded well and after Philippe Coutinho's dipping drive skimmed the crossbar, set up a frantic finale with 20 minutes to play.

It was a well taken finish by Sturridge, who slammed in a low effort at the near post on the angle, but the usually faultless David De Gea should have done better.

United were given the chance to add gloss to the scoreline when Daley Blind was fouled by Emre Can, and although Mignolet saved well from Rooney's spot kick, it did not prove expensive. 

United Faithful Man of the Match: Could quite easily give it to anyone in a United shirt, but for the second successive week it has to go to Juan Mata. Simply immense.
Overall team performance: 9/10 

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