I can write about this game now, I think I can remove all bias and give my take on the match.
This season, Liverpool have been poor but they’ve managed to step their game up in some ‘big matches’ so as to give the impression that maybe they’re better than they seem. When a team that is filled with such expensive, sought-after players manages to draw 8 times at home, questions should be asked. That same team would then find themselves in the Final of the Carling Cup after eliminating the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City and eliminating Manchester United from the FA Cup as well. Yet they manage to find themselves floundering around in 7th place, with 4th place looking more and more elusive with each passing gameweek.
This game today showed the real Liverpool, it showed that the team is simply not good enough and there are players that manage to be completely ineffective both defensively and offensively. Where was Stewart Downing? Don’t be misled by the fact that the first half ended 0-0. We may have had possession in the right places (as we’ve done on numerous occasions this season) but it means nothing if we don’t test the goal keeper or get shots on goal.
It was a wake-up call watching this match. Manchester United showed Liverpool the difference between challenging for the title and settling for a mid-table finish. Perhaps a more telling tale is the difference between United’s attitude after they were 3-0 down last weekend at Stamford Bridge and Liverpool’s attitude after going 2-0 down at Old Trafford today. We looked deflated, defeated and largely uninterested. Truthfully we were lucky to get a goal so late in the game and we never looked like scoring.
United’s midfield was confident and domineering, resulting in them having a calm control over the game in the second half. Liverpool gave the ball away and didn’t apply enough pressure, allowing United players to get comfortable on the ball. There was no sense of urgency from Liverpool, even though they needed to score 2 goals.
Besides the football, there was a lot to talk about in this game. The pre-match hype for the reunion of Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra was overdone and affected the game too much for my liking. It was a terrible decision by Suarez to refuse to shake Evra’s hand and I think many Liverpool fans would feel disappointed in his attitude throughout the game. That sort of behaviour is not acceptable at this club and we would expect our players to carry themselves with more dignity and sportsmanship than that. Innocent or guilty, by reacting the way he did, Suarez only made matters worse. Ferdinand refusing to shake Suarez’s hand was also uncalled for. He should know when to involve himself and when to stay out of situations that don’t concern him. Overall, Suarez seemed to be drawing too much attention to himself and the situation was given too much importance.
Both teams needed to get up and get on with it but they allowed it to fester which ultimately resulted in a rather childish reaction by Patrice Evra after the game. Gloating and goading the players, he paraded around in front of the United fans, trying to make a point and clearly loving every minute of it. Had he reacted more professionally, I would have felt more embarrassed for Suarez than I do. Evra’s “celebrations” just ended the game on a bitter note that left Liverpool feeling disrespected. Both players were up to no good, and both players behaved foolishly. At the end of the day, it’s about football and Liverpool have a lot to learn.
Suarez Evra Handshake <— Video Footage