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Monday, January 14, 2013

Man United 2 Liverpool 1: Fergie's men hold on to seal win over bitter rivals after RVP and Vidic strike (but the winner WAS offside)

By CARL MARKHAM, PRESS ASSOCIATION

Striker Robin van Persie came out on top in the battle of the Premier League's top scorers as Manchester United emerged from a tricky test unscathed against arch-rivals Liverpool.

The Holland international continued his remarkable scoring spree with a close-range effort in the first half which was doubled after the break by Nemanja Vidic.
Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge overshadowed team-mate Luis Suarez, who began the day one behind Van Persie on 15 top-flight goals for the season, by marking his league debut for his new club with a second goal in as many matches and had a chance to snatch a point late on, but United held on grimly, if somewhat unconvincingly.

In it goes: Nemanja Vidic claimed the decisive goal after the ball brushed off his head before finding the net

Cruising: Manchester United went 2-0 up after Nemanja Vidic scored off Patrice Evra's (left) header

Back on: Substitute Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back for the visitors to make it 2-1
MATCH FACTS

Offside? Nemanja Vidic appeared to be ahead of Evra when the ball was knocked onto him

Me again: Robin van Persie scored the opener at Old Trafford to put United 1-0 up

Lethal: Van Persie celebrated his 17th goal of the Premier League season

His low cross was the perfect invitation and Van Persie did what he does best, side-footing a shot past Reina.
The statistics now adding up for the Holland international are startling. It was his 65th goal in 77 league matches, his 10th in the past 10 games, his fifth in five against Liverpool (three coming for Arsenal and the other at Anfield earlier in the season) and his 20th of the campaign.
Van Persie should probably have had another having charged through a gaping hole between centre-backs Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger to collect Ashley Young's through-ball but he uncharacteristically ballooned over.
Liverpool, possibly due to the inexperience of the likes of Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen, appeared to crumble.
Allen, who is so often hailed for his possession statistics, passed the ball straight to Danny Welbeck and the Wales midfielder's embarrassment was only saved by a block from Agger.
Welbeck then skipped past Skrtel to fire over while Tom Cleverley saw a left-foot volley flash just wide of Jose Reina's left-hand post.
Only a brilliant goalline clearance from Skrtel from Van Persie's clever backheel from Rafael's cross prevented a second, with Reina taking a hefty whack from Shinji Kagawa in the aftermath which required lengthy treatment.

Battle: Danny Welbeck tries to hold off Martin Skrtel (right) of Liverpool

Keeping up appearances: Jose Mourinho (right) and Roy Hodgson (left) were at Old Trafford for the match

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have been in front at half-time in 211 previous league games at Old Trafford and never lost (199 wins and 12 draws) so the task facing Liverpool was stark without even taking into consideration their first-half performance.
United winger Ashley Young failed to reappear for the second half - replaced by Antonio Valencia - having injured himself after recklessly jumping into a tackle on Agger, for which he escaped any punishment.
However, the more significant introduction at the interval was that of Sturridge, whose pace up front provided much-needed support for Suarez and introduced a different dynamic for the United defence.
Wisdom had the chance to make a name for himself having charged forward 70 yards to exchange passes with Suarez only to fire hopelessly wide.

Recovery: Steven Gerrard had to make a last-ditch challenge on Van Persie after giving the ball away

Within three minutes United were 2-0 up as Skrtel's foul on Welbeck on the edge of the area, which earned him a yellow card, allowed Van Persie to swing in a free-kick from which Evra's header deflected in off Vidic.
At that stage it appeared the game was up for the visitors but their first shot on target brought some hope.
A low strike from Gerrard, on a rare foray to United penalty area, was only parried by David de Gea and Sturridge used his poacher's instinct to follow up the rebound.

Audacious: Van Persie almost put United 2-0 up with this cheeky flick

Ok? Pepe Reina was helped by Martin Skrtel after running into Shinji Kagawa

The change was almost instantaneous as, Reina palming away Kagawa's shot aside, Liverpool moved into the ascendancy with substitute Fabio Borini, on his first appearance since early October because of a broken foot, volleying wide.
Sturridge had the chance to snatch an equaliser and the headlines with five minutes to go after Suarez's determination saw the ball break to his strike partner but the £12million signing leant back and his effort sailed over and United escaped to consolidate their position as Premier League leaders.

Red mist: Liverpool fans set off a flair during the match

Locking horns: Sir Alex Ferguson sought to guide United to another win over Liverpool at Old Trafford

Young pretender: Brendan Rodgers attempted to topple Liverpool's fierce rivals United in their own back yard



source: dailymail



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