Unsung Park sinks the Liverpool ship

Park Ji-sung

Manchester Utd 2-1 Liverpool: Observations

If you were to rewind back to the early 90’s Liverpool were on top of the world. The club had just won their 18th league title, while Manchester United were desperately lagging behind. Fast forward twenty years and the fortunes have been reversed, United doing the impossible and closing in on the 19th league title while Liverpool have won nothing since. And although, this 2-1 victory over Liverpool wasn’t a classic, far from it actually, the only thing that really mattered was the result and that was evident at the final whistle. Even sweeter as United had comeback from 1-0 down. This triumph could be a title-defining one, and you’d bet the Kop won’t like the sound of that.

In contrast, Liverpool find themselves fighting a losing battle for 4th place. It looks as if though they’re missing Xabi Alonso more than United are missing Cristiano Ronaldo. The likes of Mascherano and Lucas have failed to deliver for Liverpool this season, while both Gerrard and Torres spend more time on the treatment table than on the pitch. Another year of the Channel Five Cup beckons.

Here at Old Trafford, under the watchful eye of Malcolm Glazer, United had been the better side over the 90 minutes of a typically tight and tense encounter. Last time Liverpool came here, they recorded a 4-1 win and they scored the opener here as Fernando Torres had headed home Dirk Kuyt’s cross after just five minutes. However, United were quick to respond and after a short period of pressure, Antonio Valencia won a penalty. Wayne Rooney, in a rich vein of form heading into the World Cup, saw his spot-kick saved but he duly dispatched the rebound and scores were level.

United had much more possession than the visitors and looked the slightly more dangerous side in the final third with the midfield running with their usual hustle and bustle to provide Rooney support. Ji-Sung Park was tireless and hard working as usual, while Rooney provided the threat from the centre. It was Park who had scored the winner, expertly diving in to head Darren Fletcher’s inviting cross. It was only his second goal of the campaign, the other against Arsenal, but once again he proved his worth against the bigger clubs. His recent good form has reaped rewards and now Park is becoming somewhat of a regular. Gary Neville’s run provided the decoy and gave Fletcher the time and space to pick out the Korean from what the right wing, which is surely United’s most dangerous weapon.

After the second goal, the game seemed to have petered out until the very last minutes where Torres had a great chance to equalise. He scuffed a sot and was left to rue what could’ve been. At the end of the day, the hosts had been the better of the two teams and the victory was deserved. Jubilation was evident on the faces of the United faithful, who waved their green and gold scarves furiously at the final whistle, and they can sense that, despite the strong competition from both Chelsea and Arsenal, that this may finally be the year where they have full bragging rights over their most fierce rivals. The word ‘fierce’, however, doesn’t quite describe the Liverpool of 2010…

N.B. Apologies for the lack of posts this month. I have been buried in work in the last week or so, but normal service should resume soon.

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