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Was this the decisive weekend for Liverpool and United?

By | 22nd March 2010

Liverpool have probably never had more support in London than they did on Sunday when Arsenal and Chelsea fans willed them on against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Those supporters knew that with just eight games left the opportunities for United to slip up are decreasing, and those looking at the calendar over recent months will have ringed this date as one of their few remaining banana skins.

Liverpool needed the points themselves, don’t forget, though they went to Old Trafford in vastly different circumstances than when they arrived last year. Back in March 2009 the Reds romped to a 4-1 win and played with a freedom that suggested they genuinely believed they could win the title.

And they made the perfect start this time around as well, with Fernando Torres showing all his class to nod the Reds in front. But the penalty just minutes later changed the game.

I think referee Howard Webb made the correct decision in giving the spot-kick and not showing the red card to Javier Mascherano. It was debatable whether Jamie Carragher would have got across to Antonio Valencia, but if there was doubt Webb made the right call in giving only the yellow.

Not that it stopped Mascherano from moaning at Webb for the following five minutes – clearly not learning from his dismissal on the same ground a few years ago when he received a second yellow for dissent.

The winner was just reward for two of United’s lesser known figures, who are vital cogs in the machine nonetheless. Darren Fletcher was a figure of derision a few years back but the unassuming Scot is arguably United’s most improved player in recent seasons and provided a delicious cross for the brave Park to head home.

The South Korean is not one to hog the limelight but consistently gives 100 per cent in every game he plays without the fanfare many players insist on. He seems like a manager’s dream player and deserved his day in the limelight.

The defeat was just another in a series of body blows to Liverpool. After falling just short last May they have endured a disastrous season. They had to get something from the match to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

They didn’t, and with Man City and Spurs both winning, and with games in hand, this weekend could be the moment their fourth place hopes slipped away. The form of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard continues to be a worry for both fans of the club and England. Unless things improve soon the national team might struggle to justify their World Cup 2010 odds in South Africa.

Elsewhere on Sunday there was another significant result in the north-west. Sam Allardyce’s dogged Blackburn grabbed a deserved point against Chelsea who still appeared to have a Champions League hangover. There has been a lot of negativity around the club in recent days, with talk of sweeping changes among the playing squad following their latest European failure. It is vital that Carlo Ancelotti gets the players focused and reminds them of just how close they are to winning the league.

But if he doesn’t then in the final reckoning United will see this slip up, coupled with their massive victory, as the weekend they seized the initiative in the title race. The online football betting certainly suggests this is the case.

Reader Comments

The below views are those of our readers and do not reflect the opinions of Premiership Talk or its employees.
  1. Liyan says:

    There was nothing decisive about the game for Liverpool

    They played this game like they do every game this year which is out-of-sync and just average all around.

    Even if they won this game, they would lose some going out.

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