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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 16 September, 2019


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157 DAYS AFTER taking a chunk out of Branislav Ivanovic, Luis Suarez returns for Liverpool tonight.

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Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool

Welcome along, folks. We’ve got breaking news for you right from the off. Yep, you guessed it — LUIS SUAREZ STARTS FOR LIVERPOOL.

The Uruguayan striker, banned for 10 matches after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, has been thrown straight into the starting line-up for tonight’s Capital One Cup third round meeting with Manchester United.

David Moyes rings in the changes after the weekend’s defeat to Man City. Out go first choice central defensive pairing Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic with Chris Smalling and Johnny Evans replacing them, while Alex Buttnes comes in at left-back, Phil Jones starts in midfield and Ryan Giggs, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez all get starts.

The visitors bring in Suarez for Iago Aspas and Jose Enrique for the injured Daniel Agger.

Here is how the teams will line out:

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Smalling, Evans, Buttner, Jones, Giggs, Nani, Rooney, Kagawa, Hernandez. Subs: Anderson, Carrick, Welbeck, Fabio Da Silva, Zaha, Amos, Januzaj.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Suarez, Moses, Sturridge. Subs: Brad Jones, Alberto, Aspas, Sterling, Ibe, Kelly, Wisdom.

When these sides met on 1 September, a Daniel Sturridge goal proved decisive. The England international has already scored six goals in the opening month of the season.

YouTube credit: TeHSnitchuation

Brendan Rodgers speaking to Sky Sports: “It’s brilliant. For our supporters, it’s great and also for Luis’ talent it’s great. He’s a wonderful player, has worked very hard and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the game.

“We’ve got five players missing and don’t have the depth of squad. It’s unfortunate that we’ve picked up the injuries at the same time. But also we want to pay respect to the competition.”

There are four more Capital One Cup games tonight:

  • Birmingham v Swansea
  • Newcastle v Leeds
  • Tranmere v Stoke
  • West Brom v Arenal

And you can keep up-to-date with all of the night’s fixtures on our Score Centre.

Handshakes all round and we’re underway. United wearing red, their opponents in white.

Mamadou Sakho, who has had a difficult start to his Liverpool career since arriving from PSG, heads straight to Javier Hernandez but the Mexican’s strike is blocked.

The first three minutes have been played at a really high tempo with the home side on the offensive. Hernandez nearly connects with Nani’s cross before the winger’s strike comes off the body of a Liverpool defender.

Liverpool’s first opportunity to get men in the box comes from a free-kick won 35 yards out. It is easily dealt with however.

Down the other end, Rooney’s shot from the edge of the box hits the back of Skrtel and goes out for a corner.

20 minutes in and the football is still being played at a pretty frantic pace. United have been the more cohesive and while Suarez has just uncharacteristically played two misplaced passes when he had the option to shoot, Wayne Rooney is looking sharp.

What a pass from Jose Enrique. The Spaniard picks out Suarez with a 50-yard switch and, with Evans unable to intercept, Suarez takes a first touch which runs marginally too far – allowing David De Gea to smother.

Sturridge then gets in for a strike on goal but is blocked by Smalling. Better from the away side though.

The replay of that Smalling block reveals it came off an arm before going out but would have been a harsh one to give.

More pressure from Liverrpool after Suarez feeds Sturridge and the in-form striker earns a corner.

A timely interception from Smalling hands Liverpool a corner and when the ball is recycled, the same player gets an important  foot to a cross from the right.

The first yellow card of the evening goes to Lucas for a trip on Jones.

Mark Clattenberg then brandishes the yellow card a second time. Giggs, in similar fashion to Lucas, sticks a leg out and sends Moses to the ground.

Half-time: Manchester United 0-0 Liverpool

Still all to play for, I’ll be back in a tick.

GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool (Hernandez)

From the restart, United win a corner and Chicharito volleys in from a Rooney delivery after losing Jose Enrique. The perfect start to the second half for David Moyes, who is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief right now.

Big chance for Liverpool. It falls to Henderson after Evans is robbed of possession inside his own box but the former Sunderland midfielder strokes the ball a couple of yards wide of the post.

Smalling passes straight into the path of Suarez and the strike goes wide via a deflection.

De Gea then picks out Hernandez, who takes a great touch and plays in Kagawa. The Japan international squares to Nani but his effort is a wild one.

Kagawa turns his marker in midfield and, with space in front of him, advances before letting fly. His left-footed effort clips the bar on the way over.

Enrique then blasts well wide down the other end.

A first substitution for Liverpool sees Martin Kelly on for Lucas, who hasn’t been able to impose himself on the game.

A Moses corner makes its way to the edge of the box, where Suarez flicks onto his left foot but fires into the sidenetting.

Brilliant save from De Gea from a Moses diving header. Then Suarez cracks the bar with a free-kick after taking a nick off Jones.

Moyes is brining on talented teenager Adnan Januzaj and Michael Carrick for Hernandez and Kagawa.

Henderson picks up a yellow for bringing down Rafael and Mignolet does well to keep out Rooney’s effort.

Rooney then zings a shot goalwards seconds later but the Belgian stopper is again a match for it.

Giggs clips a pass to Buttner and the Dutch full-back goes down under pressure from Toure but Mr Clattenberg keeps his hands behind his back.

Raheem Sterling has been introduced for Victor Moses.

Januzaj, having come onto the right wing, conceded a foul but the resulting free-kick comes back off the wall.

De Gea bats away a whipped ball from out wide and when Suarez squares to Toure, the defender screws a shot off target.

Three minutes of added time to play.

And here comes Danny Welbeck for Nani.

Full-time: Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool

And that’s all she wrote. An evenly-matched game which was settled by Javier Hernandez’s clever finish at the start of the second half.

David Moyes is out on the pitch and doesn’t half look chuffed with himself after what has been a difficult start to his United career.

Liverpool are out of the Capital One Cup but will be glad to have Luis Suarez back with 90 minutes under his belt.

“It was a very close game,” Brendan Rodgers,” tells Geoff Shreeves. “Decided on a corner right at the beginning of the half that we’re disappointed in.

“The players have given everything, we had a few days to prepare with a change of system and the players played very well. We just couldn’t make the final pass count. Now we just have to concentrated on the league.”

On Suarez: “I thought he was excellent when you consider he was out for so long.”

About the author:

Ben Blake