Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United

Two days after his 60th birthday, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish got the present he was after all along. A hard working win over Manchester United. A game in which his side were the deserved winners and continued their revival under his stewardship, Suarez was in scintillating form, Dirk Kuyt scored a hat trick and Andy Carroll made his long awaited Liverpool debut. It was a perfect day for the Reds and it couldn’t have got any better.

The day started with murmurs that Steven Gerrard might not be included and that Andy Carroll might start. Both turned out to be false and Luis Suarez led the line for Liverpool. The game started at a frivolous pace with an early chance for Suarez, from which he should have scored from. The first 15 minutes were end to end and both sides looked up for the fight. Dimitar Berbatov came close with a rasping drive that clipped the post and had Pepe Reina scrambling for his right hand post.

Then, in the 34th minute, the deadlock was broken. Dirk Kuyt has been off form lately, taking some flak from the Liverpool support, but today he proved why he is such a key asset to Liverpool. A breath-taking run from Luis Suarez in which he danced around 3 United players and put the ball on a six-pence for the Dutchman to open the scoring. Then 5 minutes later, Kuyt got his second. The ball broke to Suarez on the right wing, a ball to the far post was cut out by Nani who clumsily headed the ball to Dirk Kuyt to slot home his second. Anfield was rocking.

Dirk Kuyt scores the opening goal from close range

Then in the 45th minute, controversy broke out. Jamie Carragher (who was put out to right back after Fabio Aurelio went off injured) rashly tackled Nani. A melee then broke out as both sides began arguing. Phil Dowd then calmed the situation and showed Carragher a yellow card. On second viewing, it’s safe to assume that the former England international should have received his marching orders. As should Rafael after he attempted a similar tackle on Lucas just two minutes after. These types of tackles have no place in the game.

Manchester United started the second half brightly. They looked very dangerous and on another day, when their luck was in, they may well have found a route back into the game. But, Liverpool stayed solid and looked calm and composed at the back, something that wasn’t present under the previous managerial regime. Then in the 65th minute, came the goal that ended the match as a contest. A long range free kick from Suarez (Yes, him again) was fumbled by Edwin Van Der Saar and Dirk Kuyt pounced to record his first hat-trick in a red shirt. The game was well and truly over after that. (I just hope that Alex Ferguson or Sam Allardyce aren’t reading this, otherwise they’ll be offended).

Dirk Kuyt, Raul Merieles and Kyrgiakos celebrate

Liverpool could have had a couple of more goals after that. Gerrard went close with 2 efforts near the end of the game that would have been the icing on the cake. It was also great to see Liverpool’s new Geordie superstar make his debut. He looked lively and won a few headers and one can sense that he and Luis Suarez are going to be a big part of Liverpool football club for the distant future.

Javier Hernandez grabbed a late consolation for United who are now only 3 points ahead of Arsenal who have a game in hand over them. For Liverpool, it seems that the emphasis is on the future. Barring a freak run of results, it seems that Kenny Dalglish and Steve Clarke will be given permanent contracts at the end of the season, so that they can continue their excellent work, that they have done so far this season. It’s been nothing short of a miracle what the two Scotsmen have done since taking over. They can do much worse than Kenny Dalglish, he’s been there and got the t-shirt.

Liverpool Team: Reina, Johnson, Carragher,  Skrtel , Aurelio (24), Kuyt, Meireles (74), Lucas, Maxi, Gerrard and Suarez (89.) Subs: Kyrgiakos (24), Carroll (74), Cole (89)

Manchester United Team: Van Der Saar, Rafael (76), Smalling, Brown, Evra, Nani(45) Carrick, Scholes (83), Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov. Subs:  Hernandez (45), OShea (76), Fletcher (83)

Possession: 53%  : 47% Man of the match: Luiz Suarez.

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