Manchester United 0 Liverpool 1

Saturday 24th April
Old Trafford, Manchester

Another game, another poor performance, and other three points lost. On the weekend that Arsenal secured the Championship, admittedly with the help of the FA, United could do little to create a goal.

In the absence of Van Nistelrooy, who was out with a thigh strain (although newspaper reports have since pointed to a training ground bust up with David Bellion as the reason he was dropped), Giggs partnered Louis Saha upfront.

With Fletcher and Ronaldo on each wing, the game had a certain promise to it. The usual blood and thunderous game was expected.

It was not be however, with the United boys unable to shake their recent lethargy that has seen them drop points in recent weeks to the likes of Portsmouth. Even the fans couldn't get the team going, with their incessant chanting of anti-Liverpool songs (the best kind) failing to have much effect on stirring the team to victory.

Liverpool played to their main strength of playing disappointingly boring counter-attacking football, despite the fact that they are about as pacy as a three-legged greyhound. They looked solid enough, and the tackles were in the right place, but they were boring and uninventive the whole game. I'd rather be a United fan on the wrong end of the result than have to support the poor tactics of Houllier.

United seem to have lost their determination in recent weeks, with the title already too far away from them. Even though they come out with the sound bites in the press about needing to finish second, their performances do not show the same willingness to compete. If we finish third instead of second it means only an extra two games, and we have the squad to cope with it. It would also earn another few million from a home European tie, so it wouldn't be all that bad.

Little happened in the game to speak of the chances, clear-cut or not, were few and far between, although Giggs had a neat effort on the volley in the first half. The defence are looking better with each game that Wes Brown plays, although O'Shea failed to make his usual impact bursting forwards from left-back.

The second half followed, and the same poor excuse for a big-game finally got started. The ref did little to help with his constant whistle-blowing for minor fouls that stopped the game from flowing.

Gary Neville conceded the penalty on 62 minutes, with Gerrard taken down. At least it wasn't a dive, but Gary should know better than to try sliding tackles in the box, especially when the ball wasn't going anywhere that threatening. Timmy did his best but was unable to stop Murphy (scum) from scoring.

The goal seemed to push United into action, with first Giggs hitting both posts after a well crafted move down the right involving Saha and Ronaldo. Solskjaer got tantalisingly close to a diving header from a whipped-in Ronaldo cross, but was ultimately unable to reach it, and Saha had the final clear chance of the half with four minutes to go. He could only place his free-header wide of the post.

United will still win the FA Cup, and will be a force next season after a few more youngsters have been added to the fold, and Rio has finished his 'savage' ban.

Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Brown, Silvestre, O'Shea (Solskjaer 65), Fletcher, Keane, Phil Neville (Bellion 82), Ronaldo, Saha, Giggs.

Subs Not Used: Carroll, Butt, Djemba-Djemba.

Booked: Ronaldo, Silvestre.

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan (Smicer 60), Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Murphy, Gerrard, Hamann, Riise, Owen (Heskey 84), Kewell (Cheyrou 81).

Subs Not Used: Baros, Luzi Bernardi.

Booked: Murphy.

Attendance: 67,647.

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).