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THE RACE FOR the Premier League top four went through Anfield today as Liverpool hosted Manchester United with the chance to jump ahead of their visitors and into fourth spot. 

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Hello and welcome to today’s early Premier League kick off.

The big news — though it’s not exactly unexpected — is that both Steven Gerrard and Angel Di Maria have to settle for spots on the bench.

The teams in full:

Liverpool: Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Sakho; Sterling, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Lallana, Sturridge, Coutinho.

Subs: Jones, Johnson, Toure, Gerrard, Lambert, Lucas, Balotelli.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Blind; Mata, Carrick, Ander Herrera, Young; Fellaini; Rooney.

Subs: Da Silva, Rojo, Di Maria, Falcao, Januzaj, Valdes, Pereira.

This lad would have made a decent addition to either team.

Right, just finished my pre-match pasta. Pele says he’d like to see some nice goals in this game. Wouldn’t we all mate, wouldn’t we all.

Right comment section, time to call this one? Liverpool or United… where’s you’re money going?

Glad Gary cleared that one up for us…

Manchester United get us underway with the visitors playing into the Kop in the first half.


United having the better of the early exchanges with everything going through Wayne Rooney down the left. They win the game’s first corner but, despite Mignolet flapping at it, it comes to nothing.


Liverpool’s first real chance as Sterling skips by Jones but De Gea gets to the loose ball first.


Liverpool have clearly decided to attack Phil Jones today as almost everything is coming down their right wing.


United have the game’s first free kick but Mata’s dead ball is dealt with relatively easily by the Liverpool defence. The home side counter but Sterling’s through ball is poor and it comes to nothing too.


United do look decent in possession without creating anything in the way of clear cut chance. Mata and Rooney both have a chance to get on the end of a Fellaini flick on and the ball runs harmlessly out of play.


GOAL! — Juan Mata, Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool


He scored a goal that should never have stood in the Old Trafford game but there’s nothing wrong with Juan Mata’s effort here as he deservedly gives Manchester United the lead.

Source: Simon/Vine


Very ambitious attempt at a volley from Daniel Sturridge — possibly his first touch of the game — goes high and wide.


A terrible clash of head between Phil Jones and Adam Lallana leaves the latter floored.

Steven Gerrard warms up as a precaution to huge cheers from the Anfield crowd.


End to end stuff here as Liverpool look through on goal only for De Gea to race off his line. Down the other end, the ball won’t settle for Herrara and United win a corner that comes to nothing.


A better spell for Liverpool here as Sturridge looked to have put Coutinho through but Chris Smalling read it well and cleared the danger.


CLOSE! – That probably should have been 1-1.

A brilliant ball from Henderson is laid off perfectly by Sturridge but, from the edge of the area, Lallana pushes his shot just wide of De Gea’s right hand post.


There’s much more urgency about Liverpool in the last five minutes and the Anfield crows has responded accordingly.


A bit more composure from United over the last few minutes means they’ve re-established their dominance approaching half time.

United lead Liverpool 1-0 at the break.

Difficult to make an argument that Louis Van Gaal’s men are not good value for their 1-0 lead and while we still have 45 minutes to go, if it stays like this United will be five points ahead of Liverpool with just eight games to go.


Substitution - Lallana is off and Steven Gerrard is on for Liverpool.


RED CARD! Steven Gerrard is off 30 seconds after coming on!


There’s no doubt Gerrard deserved that red card for a stamp on Herrera but a big decision from the referee considering the occasion.


GOAL! — Juan Mata, Manchester United 2-0 Liverpool


Substitution – Mario Balotelli is on for Alberto Moreno as Liverpool look to work their way back into this game.


GOAL – Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United


That’s a really nicely worked team goal for Liverpool even if it took a slight deflection off Phil Jones’ boot to get past David De Gea.


Simon Mignolet is down after being tripped by Wayne Rooney. It looked like the United striker was pushed by Skrtel andhe caught Mignolet with his trailing leg as the Liverpool keeper claimed the ball.


It’s very scrappy with United looking more like the team with 10 men at the moment. Liverpool are not out of this game by any means.


Substitution – Falcao is on for Herrera as United keep with an attacking set-up.


Liverpool win a corner after great work from Balotelli but it comes to nothing as Fellaini clears.


United press forward for the first time in an age but look more interested in keeping possession than trying to find a third goal.


Dangerous cross from Sterling is dealt with by De Gea.


United just stringing together passes and hoping to play out the final two minutes.


PENALTY! — Manchester United

Clumsy by Can but it looks a soft penalty.



Peep. Peep. Peep.

The game ends with a missed penalty from United and a nasty looking stamp from Skrtel on David De Gea right at the final whistle. I’m sure that won’t be the last we hear about that.

And that’s it from me. Thanks as always for joining in.

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke