Result: Man United 3 Liverpool 0

Barclays Premier League – March 23rd 2008 – Result

Man United 3 Liverpool 0

At the risk of sounding like an Evertonian bleating about decisions from 20 years or more ago, any Liverpool fan must be wondering how might this game have turned out had referee Steve Bennett had more about him than the arrogant ego-driven approach to the first half. No doubt the refereeing community will close ranks around their own, but secretly they must be cringing at the latest incident of a referee single-handedly changing the outcome of a game through awful decisions.

Manchester United hadn’t played particularly well in the first half, but they’d put a performance in that requires some fight from the opposition. Liverpool looked uninterested, Reina playing the first half as though he’d spent the bank holiday weekend with Charles Itandje. Jamie Carragher was out of sorts; Steven Gerrard was out of the game completely, both as player and as captain. It was no surprise when Wes Brown scored, but his goal didn’t seem to stir any fight in a Liverpool side who were unchanged from their last game, the win over Reading eight days ago at Anfield. United had made eight changes for the game, Liverpool none, although this will be largely glossed over by those who criticise Rafa relentlessly for his rotation.

As the first half ticked towards its ends Liverpool boss Rafa Benítez would have been pondering his options. One goal down it seemed likely United would play the second half glad to hold onto that goal and try to hit the Reds on the counter, so the options Rafa was mulling over were surely positive changes to try and finally test Van der Sar. Add to that a passionate team-tale to wake the players up. Until Bennett proved his arrogance.

Fouls in the early stages of the game were no worse than seen in any game of this nature, from either side, which made the booking of Mascherano by Bennett on eleven minutes so out of place. Mascherano was disappointed, he’d done nothing worse than had gone before, but now the referee had made his mark and surely set the boundaries for the rest of the game. At least if he’d been consistent he would have. But this referee approached the game with words of warning ringing in his ears from Alex Ferguson, a rebuke from his own boss ringing in his hears, with the home crowd’s opinions ringing in his ears as the game went on, and had he not made a meal of so many games for so many other clubs in recent years his ears would now be ringing with accusations of bias.

Mascherano was booked without warning. Often in games of this nature a player will be pulled to one side and told that if he does that again he’ll be going in the book. Again, not every referee does this, and if a referee is consistent and even-handed this usually isn’t a problem. But whilst Bennett chose to book Mascherano without warning, without a chat to explain he wants things toning down, he was happy to allow United’s Vidic and Anderson that type of leeway after booking Mascherano. The Argentinean midfielder was obviously unhappy, understandably so, but despite asking Bennett time and again to explain why he was booked and the others weren’t, the arrogant man “in control” ignored him.

This is the man who sent Xabi Alonso off at Highbury two seasons ago for an incident he didn’t even see. Alonso had slipped, and in doing so had brought Mathieu Flamini down behind the referee’s back. But replays clearly showed that not only was it a slip, a pure accident, Bennett had not even been looking at the incident. Because it was a second yellow, rather than a straight red, the club and player weren’t able to appeal against the decision, but Bennett refused to reconsider the decision. Replays proved he wasn’t watching, but rather than admit a mistake – even if it wouldn’t change the result or decrease the suspension – he wouldn’t even look again at it! Arrogance like that is not acceptable in a referee at any level, let alone the Premiership, but Keith Hackett seems to have been happy with it so far.

The flashpoint today came when Steve Bennett booked Torres for “dissent”. The Spanish striker was the victim for the whole ninety minutes of rough treatment, knees in his back and kicks in his Achilles, something a lot of forwards get these days.  When he was brought down just inside the United half in what was a cynical challenge designed to prevent Liverpool from launching an attack he was unhappy. Ferdinand knew what he was doing, knew he’d get away with it nine times out of ten, and Ferdinand was the third player to hack at Torres in that moment of possession the Spaniard had just had. Torres asked the referee why he was allowing so many challenges like this to go without punishment. The referee booked him for asking.

That in itself was a ridiculous decision; one which would perhaps be acceptable if we’d seen similar punishment handed out in other games week in week out. It wasn’t a case of Liverpool players surrounding the referee or angrily shouting inches from the referee’s face. It was Torres asking why he was allowed to be persistently fouled in this way, asking why the referee chatted to United players instead of booking them. The arguments for stamping that kind of dissent out in the game are understandable – but it’s not down to one referee to introduce unilateral changes of approach in this way – and Torres had done nothing more than ask the referee for some protection.

And Mascherano was still waiting for an answer to the same question, why did he get booked when United players were committing fouls as bad and getting away with it? He’d asked the referee a few times, and had been ignored each time. Would it hurt the referee to acknowledge the question, to answer the player?

The referee had lost the plot by now though. Mascherano went over to him, with no signs of aggression in his demeanour, no signs of anger. Replays showed him wearing a bemused smile as he asked the question one more time. It was asked in as much of a good humour as any passionate player can have when he sees a referee so one-sided he wouldn’t have looked out of place refereeing an Italian side in Europe in the days of old. He’d just seen his teammate booked for asking a question after being hacked down. A simple question, yet he got a second yellow and his marching orders for his trouble. Steve Bennett wanted the headlines.

Critics of Mascherano will say he should have kept quiet – and perhaps he should. His captain should have been calming him down, telling him to let it go, that referees like Bennett are too arrogant to consider they might have made a mistake, but should have asking the same questions himself. But Gerrard seemed subdued in more ways than one today. Mascherano was angry after his first booking, but Bennett hadn’t once responded to him and explained what had happened. If anything Bennett seemed determined not to book United players, as if to show Mascherano that he was boss!

Had Bennett been a consistent referee there would already have been yellow cards before Mascherano’s, or by the time the game got to 43 minutes it wouldn’t have been just Mascherano with his name in the book. What happened on 44 minutes will embarrass the referees who at least try to be fair in games. Making mistakes is a part of life, something everybody does, and something any good referee will do. But Bennett is incapable of holding his hands up and admitting his mistakes, and so is incapable of learning from them.

Bennett’s boss, Keith Hackett, criticised him for his inaction on Wednesday night when Ashley Cole was booked for what has been widely agreed since should have been a straight red. Hackett says as fourth official Bennett should have used his communication device to contact referee Mike Riley to tell him what had happened. It’s rare for Hackett to criticise his own, to admit they have made mistakes or errors of judgement, and so it’s unlikely he’ll give Bennett the long suspension he clearly needs. It’s also a coincidence that had Bennett acted in the way his boss would have expected him to, Chelsea would be missing Ashley Cole today in their match against United’s title rivals Arsenal.

The game itself was over at that point in terms of Liverpool getting back into it. A red card at 0-0 and this Liverpool team probably could have held out, maybe even getting a goal themselves, but getting back from 1-0 was too much to ask for against a team so full of pace. That said the second-half Liverpool did seem to have more fight than in the first half, but it was never going to be enough. Rio Ferdinand finally got a booking after 60 minutes, but not for any of his fouls. Torres limped off before the end, replaced by John Arne Riise, as Rafa realised there was little point trying to get a goal back now that Liverpool were 3-0 down.

Liverpool had hardly been at the races in the first-half; Reina in particular had looked out of sorts and had to accept some of the blame for Wes Brown’s opener. United looked most likely to score first, United’s Van der Sar a spectator for the first half. What he could see from his goal were errors from Reina including throwing the ball to an opponent 25 yards out, and almost knocking the ball into his own net when a Giggs cross seemed to confuse him. He did seem to have the sun in his eyes in that first half, but unless he’s also boycotting official merchandise (including caps) until the ownership situation is resolved then it’s hardly an excuse for what was one of his worst halves in a Liverpool shirt. His second half performance was far better, as he was called into action more than once and he helped keep the score at 1-0 until 79 minutes.

The game started in a typical North West derby fashion, if anything a little less high-speed than normal. Wayne Rooney had a case for a penalty when another off-colour player – Jamie Carragher – lunged for the ball in the box and although contact with Rooney was minimal, contact with the ball was non-existent. Rooney stayed on his feet and his shot was blocked by Reina, but given Bennett’s performance from then on it’s a shock he didn’t give the Manchester side the penalty anyway.

As the half went on and United had got a goal that was always coming, Liverpool needed a half-time team talk urging them to make more of an effort and show their true abilities. Perhaps a substitution would be in order, if not on half-time itself then soon after. The 4-2-3-1 formation had become 4-5-1 with Torres largely isolated instead of supported. Peter Crouch had already been warming up, and something needed to change.

All of that went out of the window when the referee proved his arrogance and his ego were going to be the subject of headlines tomorrow. Down to ten men, Liverpool found themselves vulnerable every time they tried to attack in the second half.

That said, they still had some hopes of getting something out of the game, but the clincher for United came on 79 minutes. United had won a corner from a save Pepe Reina made but was convinced had come from a shot by an offside Ronaldo. He wasn’t offside as replays showed, and the corner was once again Liverpool’s undoing. Xabi Alonso lost his man, Ronaldo, and the United top-scorer scored again. A shell-shocked Liverpool conceded again two minutes later, Nani the scorer, and the game that had pretty much been over on 44 minutes was now over without any doubts.

Torres had been clattered one time too many and had received treatment shortly before the second United goal. Rafa decided there was no point risking him staying on the field to get more rough treatment in front of the indifferent referee, and with perhaps a worry that Torres may miss the derby if the injury was serious enough decided also to leave Crouch on the bench.

It’s difficult to admit it, but Manchester United have the players that can win games like these on their own, but today they had help. Ronaldo (who could have been a Liverpool player for a fraction of the fee Manchester United paid, had officials at Anfield not baulked at paying him wages that were actually lower than they paid Anthony Le Tallec) was quiet by his own standards, as was Wayne Rooney for large parts of the game. Liverpool are capable of holding their own against teams like Manchester United, but with the mistake-ridden performances seen in the first half teams like Manchester United will always capitalise. There’s still a need for money to be spent by Liverpool this summer, but when the referee is willing to add a little bit more help for the home side there’s little point in turning up.

Referees make mistakes in what is a high-pressure job, often having to judge an incident that happened in a split second and having to be wary of players who dive, or feign injury, and when fans have had time to calm down most will accept that the referee was not deliberately out with some vendetta against their club, without feeling the need to suggest money had changed hands or that the referees of the world are told to be biased towards certain clubs. A referee pleased with his decisions will explain them; a referee who knows he made a mistake despite making his best efforts will hold his hands up and say so. A referee who arrogantly put his own ego first in his approach to a game will keep quiet and refuse to even consider explaining his decisions or admitting mistakes. Don’t expect any statements from Steve Bennett.

Manchester United: 1 Van der Sar, 6 Brown, 5 Ferdinand, 15 Vidic, 3 Evra, 7 Ronaldo, 18 Scholes, 16 Carrick, 8 Anderson (32 Tevez, 73), 11 Giggs (17 Nani, 73), 10 Rooney
Unused subs: 29 Kuszczak, 4 Hargreaves, 22 O’Shea
Booking: Ferdinand 60
Goals: Brown 34, Ronaldo 79, Nani 81

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 12 Aurelio, 20 Mascherano, 14 Alonso, 18 Kuyt, 8 Gerrard, 19 Babel (11 Benayoun, 66), 9 Torres (6 Riise, 82)
Unused subs: 30 Itandje, 4 Hyypia, 15 Crouch
Bookings: Mascherano 11, Torres 44, Arbeloa 53
Sent off: Mascherano 44

BBC Stats (Man Utd – Liverpool)
Possession: 61% – 39%
Shots on target: 16 – 4
Shots off target: 7 – 4
Corners: 2 – 4
12 – 12

Referee: Steve Bennett
Attendance: 76000

30 thoughts on “Result: Man United 3 Liverpool 0”

  1. Jim, I thought the key to this defeat is contained in your second paragraph. If we are to compete with the top three with this current squad our top players have to be at their best. Today, even before Bennett decided he was the real star on show, it was obvious that our star players were not at the races. Players like Kuyt, Aurelio, Arbeloa et al played no better or worse than they always do but Gerrard, Alonso, Carragher, Reina and Torres all had below par days. Stevie Gerrard looked out of sorts from the outset and did his england captaincy hopes no favours with his vanishing act. He played no part in the attempts to control Masch until the last minute as he was being ushered into the tunnel. Everything you say about Bennett is fully justified but nothing excuses Masch’s display after he was red-carded and his own officials had difficulty controlling him. 

  2. It should comes as no shock to lose to United but today I was.

    Ok – so the result went against us. These things happen. But to lose with so many players out of sorts is quite shocking.

    I don’t think you can put the blame at Rafa’s feet. There was no rotation and the players you would have wanted to have play, played.

    Blame the Masch we can. But at least he had the passion and drive to want to win the game. And his second card was very harsh. How could it be that Liverpool achieved two yellow cards for a decision that went in our favour?

    Blame the referee we should. He was poor. He for some reason not up to it. But then again so could be said for some of our stars.

    Jim, you got it spot on. Gerrard wasn’t at the races both before and after the sending off. And Carragher wasn’t there either. Surprising as you’d have guessed beforehand that they would be being our ‘biggest rivals’.

    Anyway, next week’s game’s the one that matters now. Let’s hope we’re all ready for that – even though Monster won’t be available to us.

    PS Watch Everton on those set pieces. Moyes would have seen how vulnerable we were today. I’m sure the real Carragher and Reina, who made some great saves today by the way, will be back for that.

  3. The wanker in the black was definately paid up by Hackett and Ferguson, but i agree that our players seemed uninterested. its almost as if we want to play well against everyone but Utd, almost as if even Gerrard and Carragher just laid down, let Utd get the 3 points and then get on with staying 4th.Its something that really is beginning to piss me off mightily that we never have the bottle or drive to go for Utd. i actually thought after the last few years playing well against the scum but not having the players to cut them down, the form we have been showing lately and Torres in particular would be an edge we havent had before.I fear after Everton drawing with West Ham,our players just thought, screw Utd, go there,get beat and concentrate on the next game.A disgraceful attitude. Now all us fans have the horrible and hurting outcome of having the Manc scum faithful going on and on for weeks now. It seems this season it has always been Liverpool getting laughed at by certain results and dodgy displays.So, in closing, did Liverpool make big strides to getting where we want to be, or as soon as we faced a better team we were exposed as the poor relations of the top four that evryone seems to be loving and rubbing their hands in glee? I watched the Milk Cup 1983 final again the other day, and you know,even back then when Utd were a pile of shit and Liverpool sweeping everything up on offer, the commentary was still Utd,Utd,amazing Utd,suck Utds balls. i hate Manchester United Football Club and evryone connected to that piece of shit.

  4. "Mascherano went over to him, with no signs of aggression in his demeanour, no signs of anger"?


    Seriously. Really. Partisan and one-eyed is OK, but that is just plain ludicrous…

  5. As Jim points out, the outcome of this match is due partly to poor refereeing and partly to lack of motivation on the part of our players. Playing with ten men is often a pride incentive, not with our lads today. Having said that, I think the best thing to do is to forget this match quickly and concentrate on Everton next Sunday and on the two Euro confrontations with the Gunners. Watching them today was a relief (though I’d have preferred them as champions than loathsome United) – they are imploding, and there could only be gloom for them until the end of the season. Who knows, we might even catch them for third! C’mon, a battle has been lost, but I’m sure United can only go down from now onwards, and, with more consistency throughout the season next year and a lot more confidence (plus with a lot of DIC money!), we’ll have our 19th title at the end of next campaign!

  6. “Oh dear” – when you watch your recording of the game back again, look at Mascherano’s face as he gets to the referee to ask why Torres had been booked. He’s laughing. In disbelief. After he gets sent off by the one-eyed, almost partisan, referee he gets angry. But that’s not why he was sent off. He was sent off for asking, with a smile on his face, and without swearing, what on earth was going on.

  7. Jim you are right of course, but Mascherano should not have gotten anywhere near Bennett as Torres was booked (also outrageously unfairly). Where was our captain? Being foreign Mascherano could be forgiven for not being up with all the controversy since the Ashley Cole business but Gerrard reads the papers and should have intervened. Also he should have remonstrated with Bennett. Unfortunately it will be the facial and physical antics of Javier after he was redcarded that will be scrutinised by all and sundry next week.

  8. Sorry mate but I can’t agree with you today. When I was a kid we would play matches with difficult refs. I remember our manager saying to us that “this ref is a prick… no mouthing today boys”. We kept our mouths shut and played on.

    Liverpool did neither today and mascherano was a little prick. He showed contempt for the ref from the first whistle. All he had to do was shut his mouth and play football. My pal was on the golf course today and I texted him to say that Mascher was acting the prick and would be sent off… I was right.. the Sky commentators saw it coming for ages beforehand and just because he’s one of ours we shouldn’t lose sight of the facts.

    Gerrard was non existent today, carra was poor, Arveloa was poor, Torres was off form, Babel looked like nothing. Pepe was a disaster. The team froze. End
    of story.

    United were much better on the day and we just have to accept that and stop blaming the ref.

  9. Gutted.thought we could get a result today. OK lucky goal off the back of Brown and a poor sending off. But can anyone remember us creating enough chances against a Man U, Arsenal or Chelsea in the past 4 years to actually deserve a win against these teams?(in the league) We’re not good enough.full stop. Babel uninspiring, gerrard defeatist, and the rest of the team lacking belief that we can get a result against the title contenders. It pains me to say it but we’re in the second group of teams chasing 4th each season rather than the title!

  10. I agree we didnt turn up today, Gerrard in particular had an awful game.

    Regarding the referee i can see both sides to the story. However i have watched the first half again with a more critical eye than first time around.

    The Chief was harshly booked. No question, but it happened. He is a proffessional well paid player. Yes he reacted badly to the booking, which is understandable, it was very un called for. But following the incident he then persisted in shouting at the ref on every occassion that he was within hearing distance. He told the ref to ‘F&$k off’ on at least six occassions, right to his face. This is not only decent its plain stupidity. We still had 45 minutes to play. The game was not lost. He should have thought of the club, its travelling fans and the millions of other liverpool fans watching and preying for a victory at home. He let us down. He was  out of order and he let us down. He knew the ref was a headline grabber and he knew his actions would sooner or later be worthy of the red card.

    A player of his level should be able to get on with the task in hand and get on with winning that game. Its hard enough to beat utd with 11 men.

    Yes the ref was awful and was out to prove a point. But we all knew that so you would think the Chief would as well.

  11. It’s always going to be a matter of opinion of course.

    I saw Mascherano complain to the ref earlier on – more than once – but he was ignored every time. Whatever he said on those occasions, the ref said nothing to him. He didn’t tell him to stop, he didn’t warn him, he literally ignored him. The sending off came for smiling with a bemused look on his face after Torres was booked for practically nothing. He didn’t swear at the referee for that yellow card, he didn’t shout, he didn’t ‘confront’ the referee. Whatever went on before went unpunished, and the ref knows he can’t justify sending someone off for relatively calmly asking an honest question by referring back to earlier outbursts. There’s nothing that can be said to defend the referee. (In my opinion).

    That said, Gerrard and his teammates should have been having a word with Mascherano to warn him, to remind him, to point out that some referees are on a power trip and would love to send you off. Certainly the captain should be doing that, especially given where they were playing. Much the same way as you might warn a youngster playing against an old hand looking to wind him up – don’t bite, ignore it, don’t react. Mascherano himself should know this, but as a team, led by Gerrard, he should have had support to keep him calm.

    What do we want referees to do? To send people off at random, let people off at random, all to add a different slant to a game? Or do we want them to control a game and allow us to be entertained, ensuring both sides are given a fair chance as far as laws of the game are concerned? A good referee would have explained his decisions, maybe called the captain over, would have tried to defuse the bomb he’d planted earlier, rightly or (in this case) wrongly. Why did Mascherano’s two yellow cards come without warning, yet United players were warned at least twice about their fouls?

    Bennett has been a poor referee in many games, and the controversy in midweek, his boss moaning about him in the paper and Ferguson’s pre-match comments have all influenced him and ensured his performance today would be one his bad ones. His unwillingness to review the Xabi red card against Arsenal, one that replays showed he had his back to, suggests he is too arrogant to consider he might be wrong.

    So yes, Gerrard should have warned Mascherano, Rafa should have got the message out too if Gerrard wasn’t switched on enough to realise and Mascherano should know anyway. But not because Mascherano was stepping out of line, because Bennett was clearly waiting for a chance. If Bennett had been even-handed this would not have happened.

    But it wasn’t the only reason we lost. Our spine had an off day – Reina, Carra, Mascherano, Gerrard and Torres. And as someone said above, the others aren’t of a high enough standard to make up for that.

  12. I think I agree with the general sentiment that we were just not at the  races today, for whatever reason, but imo its indisputable; we were at the receiving end of some very poor refereeing! This seemed to fuel the waning of any belief that we could get something from the game. Watch the first 5 mins and we are at Utd! But very quickly its almost as though each player said ‘oh well, Man U do us again, maybe next time.’  All except Mascha that is! The boy is one hell of a fighter and he is a fair one too. Hence his disbelief at the injustice.

    Lessons to be learned by Stevie today I feel. At no point did he recognise the impending jeorpardy of a 2nd yellow for Mascha. At least Alonso tried to pull him back and perhaps even he could have done better in fending off the wrath of probably the Prem’s worst ref. And so that was the end of what should and would have been a different Liverpool in the second half. Rafa would have told them all to wake up – indeed they did but alas too little too late.

    Truth is I think today highlighted a gap between the 2 sides, but I truly think its 2-3 players difference. And I think one of those is a more polished Babel. Add a seasoned David Bentley with a sprinkle of Villa and perhaps A N Other winger and Liverpool start to look like challengers. For me we are about where I expect us to be and I still think we will be top 4/3 and finish within 10 points of the eventual winner.

  13. I think Liverpool looked nervous and lacking in self-belief right from the off, just like they did in December.  Too many mistakes and no real flow to their football – without a doubt we are half-way beaten against ManU these days before we even step on the pitch.  That must be sorted out.

    As for the controversy, I was astounded at the apparent one-sidedness of some of the decisions, and must have been extremely frustrating for some of the players.  Although no-one else seems to have said it, I am sure Wes Brown scored with his arm, and I think Alonso saw it too.  The Torres booking was the last straw.

    I totally sympathise with Masch but it concerns me he lost it to the extent he did.  He needed to be dragged from the field after he was sent off and Rafa had to calm him down.  He needs to show more self-control than that.

  14. brutal is the only word to discribe it no passion or pride masch what was he thinking he ran 20yards but at least he showed a bit of fight but while this was happening were was gerrard. pepe had a brutal match i thought david james had returned torres couldnt be faulted he had no service or protection. rafa to start with sent out the wrong team and should put his hands up and admit it. my team would have been
                 skrtel  carragher  hyypia  aurelio
            benayoun  gerrard  mascherano  babel
                                    crouch  torres

    weve got the bluenoses next week then a triple of arsenal matches this will define what way our season will end up. yesterday just shows how much we miss agger too would brown have got up for that header if agger was in the back four.

  15. I have to agree with you Jim, the way you viewed the match was spot on. Regardless of all, there’s more and more growing disgust at Manchester United from myside. I used to consider them as pretender from the 90’s, standing beside us… but the more we play them, the more I hate them, the more I loathe them… the sight of anything related to Manchester United makes me feel sick.

    What we needed wasn’t an Arbeloa in RB, or Aurelio in LB… we needed English players… why do you think Fergishit fielded Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Carrick, Brown & Ferdinand in this match, even though Tevez is much better than Rooney, and have scored against us… Hargreaves didn’t start as that’s his first game against us at Old Toilet… whereas in our ranks we had only Gerrard and Carragher who both had a shocker!… we need English players, players like Bentley, Downing and Warnock back… you will certainly ask about their qualities, which of course is not the standerd you know, but you certainly need English players in such games like these against Man United and Everton in particular.

    I’m with you on the Mascherano issue, it could have been resolved long time ago had Gerrard or Carra or anyone who knew what kinda prick this snob was it would have saved us so much, cause to be fair as well, Mascherano was the only player on the pitch during the game concerned with the result and had his heart for the game.

    All and all, this bad performance by the Reds doesn’t take away the fact that there were improvements in our performances this season, sure there’s still this grudging place called Old piece of Shit stadium, but scoring 99 goals in all competitions to this date is quite a return for the money spent after achieving mediocre 80’s and 70’s goal returns AT BEST in previous seasons.

  16. I cannot believe that a fan seriously expects Rafa to publicly admit that he picked the wrong team. I have to ask the question………Are you hicks in disguise? Just how much do you want to undermine our manager? Put the Championship manager away and let Rafa manage in the real world.
    Its the usual story whenever we play Man U, the team is like a rabbit in the car headlights, gripped with fear.Every player freezes and it happens everytime we play them.Gerrard goes missing. Reina and any other keeper we play fumbles and miskicks which spreads a nervousness throughout the whole team which then sets the pattern for the whole game. The only player who wasn’t affected yesterday was Torres because he has the right fearless attitude, the rest just froze. It wasn’t helped by Fergie and co winding the fans,players and sadly the referee up days before the game but that has to be expected, just a shame our players couldn’t cope but sadly thats now the norm.
    Our team is scared of Man U and have been for years.They are the dominant team and our players just can’t cope with that and thats why they under perform everytime we play them.Its as if there is some kind of mental block.They are always up for the game, faster in that tackle and on the whole everyone of their players performs on the day ours just go belly up, swiftly followed by the official on the day.
    I would just like to add that I find it disgusting that a genuine fan would call Mascherano a "little prick". At least he has some passion and Gerrard would do well to observe him and get some passion of his own instead of standing in awe of the Man U team.

  17. To me, Mascherano and Torres were the better players… the rest froze out of the blue it wasn’t even funny.

    What makes me fume now is the fact that for the next 3 weeks "or may be the rest of the season, depending on the coming results" every fucked up "EXPERT" will talk down Mascherano, and downgrade any achievement we’ll do from now on… surely some are due as we haven’t been THAT good at times, but they ALWAYS neglect the positives and AMBLIFY the negatives to an unbelievable measure it bursts out in everyones face. I’m sick and tired of how the media always looks at Liverpool as a 2nd fiddle, even when we kick anyone’s ass in Europe. If ManU or any stupid team in England would do it, they would call it the best achievement ever, wheras if we kick the hot shots out, and in their own grounds, and humiliate any team out there in the continent, we’ll be branded a cup team, and surely the Rafa bashers will have thier field day out!

    Sad, just sad..

    One last note… Fuck ScumUre

  18. However unfair it was, masch should have known better and kept his mouth shut. you know that idiot in black has already given you a yellow, possibly as an example to the others so just shut the hell up. i do wonder at times, how stupid players are at times. no matter the team didn’t show up to play, at least with 11 men, we might have had a chance, but i doubt it. we have this inferiority complex when it comes to the big 3. thats why it’ll be a long while before we can consistently be in the top 2. let alone be champions. no good whinging about it anymore.

  19. The question that I’d like to raise with the forum following the United game and ahead of the derby is whether the captaincy of Liverpool is now up for grabs?

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful to Gerrard because I think he’s an absolutely fantastic player.

    I’m also in no way suggesting that Liverpool doesn’t need Gerrard. I just feel that Mascherano was the player who showed the snarling passion against United (okay a bit too much) that wins titles.

    Gerrards most recent comments concerning looking up the league table at Arsenal and United betrayed a brittleness and lack of belief in the squad.

    I just don’t get the impression that come next August he has the belief anymore to lead a title challenge.

    I hope he proves me wrong.

  20. The Independent is revealing today that the DIC deal should be completed within three to four weeks, with Hicks having to sell owing to pressures from one of the lenders, JP Morgan. Regarding the Utd match, I totally agree with Mark Lawrenson (in today’s Daily Post) about Masch being very stupid in the incident leading to his dismissal and about Rafa’s being wrong to defend indefensible behaviour.

  21. Defend the indefensible? Roy Keane, Cantona?The question isn’t why Mascherano ran 20 yards to confront the referee but why Steven Gerrard didn’t! 

  22. The problem now is that it seems masch is to be "tried" on his culpability not just for his actions but on the basis of the media head of steam for the cumulative problem of Cole and others. That’s the problem with the FA, it’s solely reactive to media hype and tends to throw the book at the last guilty party.On the Independent story it seems to be very flimsily sourced. If we get a quick denial (read Lie) from Hicks them maybe there is something in it. It’s difficult to believe DIC would try the leak strategy again.

  23. The problem now is that it seems masch is to be "tried" on his culpability not just for his actions but on the basis of the media head of steam for the cumulative problem of Cole and others. That’s the problem with the FA, it’s solely reactive to media hype and tends to throw the book at the last guilty party.On the Independent story it seems to be very flimsily sourced. If we get a quick denial (read Lie) from Hicks then maybe there is something in it. It’s difficult to believe DIC would try the leak strategy again.

  24. I certainly think too that the yellow for Fernando was ridiculous, but I just can’t understand why Stevie did not do anything to restrain Masch since the outcome of further protests was crystal-clear given the biased refereeing from the start of the match. The number of ‘fuck offs’ (which were clearly heard by that pain Bennett) that could be read on Masch’s lips several times before the sending-off, and his sarcastic smiles somehow made his dismissal inevitable. It did not take much psychology to realize that Masch had to be low-key after the first yellow, otherwise… Just hope that the new DIC revelations are not as flimsily grounded as John thinks. Fingers crossed

  25. I was typing in stereo before – sorry! Thought some more on the Independent exclusive (no one else seems to have picked up the leak). The indy isn’t your tit and bum tabloid. They have not named the source but have positioned it as "close to the negotiations". The rest could be speculation after all we have the givens: the squeeze on fringe borrowers in the US, Hicks has highly leveraged his US assets.  Not rocket science to surmise that if Hicks has loans due for renegotiation the present value of the assets he used to secure those loans would be re-examined by the lender and if there is a substantial fall he would be under pressure to increase his real net worth. One of the ways would be to realise the profit on offer by DIC for LFC and at the same time reduce his gearing position by virtue of the KOP Holdings loans disappearing from his portfolio.Another trigger point these journos might have latched onto is the end of the fiscal year and LFC’s financial year coming up in a few weeks. Here’s hoping we get some closure on the ownership mess soon.

  26. Steven Gerrard has not had the fire in his stomach for a while now. he’s ok if he’s scoring goals with Torres but when things get tough he can vanish completely from games. This has happened consistently in games with the big 3. Yes, he is world class but ithink playing in this team with the number of false dawns that have happened have  had an affect on him.
    Carragher –  This guy eats, drinks, sleeps Liverpool so i for one would never question his love for the team or club BUT going forward we need to have a center back pairing of Agger and Skyrtel with possibly Carragher as cover or right back. But at right back he has no pace to get forward to support the overlap on the right of midfield. Hypia is a great center back put up against the better teams with pace in attack (like utd) he will struggle.
    Torres & the Chief – If they were women i’d marry both of them. Torres is pure gold. This guy is the real deal, First season and already 20 league goals. I can see him doing this for years to come and should Liverpool buy QUALITY this summer he will be at the heart of a Lfc resurgence.  The Chief – this  guy has the heart of a lion and  will not lye down for anyone. It doesn’t matter if we are playing utd, chelsea or wigan he gives a110% every time. He is a rough diamond but people lets not forget that this guys is still young and will get so much better.

  27. Oh dear, OH DEAR! What a lot of posts on this one. I didn’t see the match, but heard it on 5live. I think secretly Greenie is a red, or at least was on that day. But to hear him after the Masch incident, was sad and was for me, a real measure of how unfortunate that booking was for LFC. But as i say, i did not see it. Bennet did sound like he was being over-inconsistant though. I approached this game with a tinge of nerves. You know the kind you get when  you know  you’ve got something to lose.  It was for me the first time for a couple of years that i reckoned we had a real chance to beat Utd. But it went terribly wrong and turned into a farce. I have been feeling crap ever since. Thankfully the collage i work at has no manc fans in the classes i deal with – PHEW! But there are plenty of Chelski fans, and i let ’em have it big style for that arse-wipe Cashley Cole. Also, i am convinced that Fergi was looking at our match when he made his outrageous comments about refereeing. When i think about it, that man has done his utmost to bend officials, bully the FA, and infact instigate the atmosphere or poor respect for authority in football. He is the father of all this shite – not the ‘Spec 1’. I hate him for this, for wrecking the development of English football and the England team (fake ‘injuries’ B4 friendlies), and note that there is no other job for him than to be manager of Utd. It suits him, to the ground!!!
    Fear not fellow kopites, as in the words of one famous red, "I would love it" if (and when) we lick those punks! No Ronaldo – no Utd. In fact that goes for all the other cheats that have worn their shirt. On a lighter note, how are Sunderland doing lately, ………. 😉

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