Alex Ferguson was – surprisingly – willing to admit Liverpool were “unlucky” and his own team were “lucky” as Manchester United snatched an unlikely win against Liverpool. Having spent the majority of the game clearly looking happy to settle for a draw, an injury time free kick resulted in the ball falling to childhood Liverpool fan John O’Shea who scored against his boyhood heroes, at the Kop end.
Speaking after the game to Sky TV, Ferguson said: “It was a fantastic result. We had a lot of narrow escapes and Liverpool upset our rhythm. They will feel very unlucky and they deserve to. It is a massive result for us. We broke away late on against Fulham and scored and now we’ve done it here. We’ve had that bit of luck in the last two weeks but you need luck if you are to win titles.”
Paul Scholes was sent off in the game for aiming a swipe and Ferguson had no problems with that decision after seeing the incident. Speaking on MUTV Ferguson said – again surprisingly – that the referee was correct: “I’ve seen it, he’s lifted his hand and you can’t do that. I think the referee got one right in terms of intent.”
Rafael Benitez was shocked at how Liverpool lost the points: “It’s unbelievable how we lost this match because we controlled the game and deserved to win it. We controlled the attacking side of the game and had many corners and free-kicks, but in football you sometimes have luck and sometimes have bad luck.”
Luck is certainly on Manchester United’s side this season, especially in recent games, but the manager accepts that this can’t be used as an excuse: “We made a mistake for the goal but when you create as many chances as we did then you need to score against a team like Manchester United.”
Liverpool wanted to win today, the strength of the side Rafa put out shows that, but the next game is more important than this one was. The defeat makes Liverpool job of hanging onto a Champions League place harder, but defeat by more than two goals on Tuesday would see them go out of the Champions League itself this season. Now Rafa has to prepare his team for that clash: “We must stay positive now and look forward to the Barcelona game and maybe we will have better luck on Tuesday.”