Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United: Patient game settled by route one winner

January 28, 2012

“4-5-1 v 4-5-1 became 4-4-2 v 4-4-2, and Liverpool just about came out on top. Kenny Dalglish had surprisingly named three recognised centre-backs in the Liverpool line-up, while Craig Bellamy was on the bench with Andy Carroll upfront alone. Sir Alex Ferguson was without Nani, Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones, so played a 4-5-1 system with Danny Welbeck upfront, and Paul Scholes deep in a midfield three. For a match that was expected to be a fiery, ferocious scrap, it was actually rather tame. Both sides played calmly in the centre of the pitch but lacked creativity in open play.” Zonal Marking

Kuyt strike sinks United
“Dirk Kuyt hit the late winner as Liverpool gained revenge for their FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester United a year ago courtesy of a 2-1 win. Off-field matters had dominated pre-match proceedings as both sides tried to ease tensions ahead of the first meeting of the two sides since Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra. But while there was plenty of animosity in the ground between rival fans, the match itself, somewhat unusually, contained very few flashpoints. With Suarez still banned, Evra became the focal point, and it was his failure to get to Andy Carroll’s flick-on first that put Kuyt through to fire the clincher in the 88th minute.” ESPN

Dirk Kuyt delivers for Liverpool to put Manchester United out of Cup
“A winner from Dirk Kuyt two minutes from time put Liverpool into the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of their fiercest rivals. Manchester United controlled midfield for most of the game and seemed to have done enough to take the game to a replay at Old Trafford that no one really wanted, but when Patrice Evra was caught out of position the Liverpool substitute spared everyone another week of rehearsed hostility.” Guardian

In defeat, Madrid takes away a moral victory from latest clásico

January 28, 2012

“Here’s a date for your diaries: March 27, 2012. That’s the earliest that Real Madrid and FC Barcelona can meet each other again. That’s when they will play if they get drawn together in the quarterfinal of the Champions League — and if the first clash is on the Tuesday. If they meet in the semifinal, they cannot face each other until April 17. If that happens, they will play three times in eight days, or possibly maybe even three times in six, because the second league game will be on April 21 or 22.” SI

Werder Bremen 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen

January 28, 2012

“Qualifying for next season’s Champions League remains a tall order for both Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen after they shared the spoils this afternoon following an evenly-contested match. Claudio Pizarro’s goal midway through the first-half didn’t quite come against the run of play, but Robin Dutt’s Leverkusen had been by far the better side in the game’s opening quarter. A half-time substitution and formational change revitalized Leverkusen, putting them back in the driving seat, and the visitors deservedly grabbed an early equalizer from a corner after a Tim Wiese mistake. Erin Derdiyok and Lars Bender looked particularly dangerous for the visitors thereafter, but neither side could grab a winner, despite having a plethora of chances in the closing stages. The result keeps the sides in fifth and sixth places respectively, and five points behind the side currently sitting ‘last’ in the top-four, Borussia Mönchengladbach (who are yet to play this weekend).” Defensive Midfielder