Liverpool 0 v 1 Manchester United
15th January 2005
United escaped out of Anfield with all three-points despite playing for a third of the game with only 10 men, with Wes Brown sent off for two bookables on 64 minutes.
The win put pressure on both Arsenal and Chelsea to win later that day, and tellingly, Arsenal cracked, losing to Bolton to leave them just one point ahead of us. So much for the self-styled 'invincibles'!
The game started without Giggs, Smithy or Rio, all of whom failed late fitness tests. They will be ready for the game on Wednesday should Fergie decide to use them against Exeter, which is probably a no.
Liverpool made little use of early first-half possesson, with the players seemingly more than content just to listen what insult the Kop was making to Rooney. But the Liverpool lad soon saw off all criticism, as well as regaining the last laugh, with a sweetly struck, if a bit lucky, goal. He cut in and smashed the ball from 25 yards at goal. Dud-ek should have had in covered but instead chose to let the ball roll past his flailing limbs. Advantage United.
It could have been two when Keane's strike hit the crossbar just minutes later, and United were looking good.
The Ferdinand-less defence was coping well with the new Liverpool striker Morientes, who is a real bruiser, and superb in the air. Mickey and Wes seemed to have him covered, and Carroll in nets (I know, he really shouldn't be...) had little to do.
Brown made two innoculous challenges and was off for an early bath on sixty minutes. Down to ten-men, Fergie withdrew Ronny and put on O'Shea, to shore up the defence now it had lost one of its key players.
All-out defence seemed to be the orer of the day, with the Reds doing so well that Liverpool didn't get a shot on target until the last minute, when Carroll this time held it safely.
A good game and a must-win one won.
Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Pellegrino, Hyypia, Traore,Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Hamann (Biscan 79),Riise (Sinama Pongolle 72), Baros, Morientes (Nunez 75).
Subs Not Used: Warnock, Harrison.
Booked: Carragher, Nunez.
Man Utd: Carroll, Phil Neville, Brown, Silvestre, Heinze,Fletcher, Keane, Scholes, Ronaldo (O'Shea 67),Rooney (Bellion 90), Saha (Fortune 79).
Subs Not Used: Howard, Miller.
Sent Off: Brown (65).
Booked: Brown, Rooney, Fortune, Keane.
Goals: Rooney 21.
Ref: S Bennett (Kent).