Fernando Torres’ 5th minute goal was cancelled out shortly after when Howard Webb awarded United a dubious spot kick. Reina’s save was pounced upon by Rooney who fired in the rebound. In the second half Park’s header settled the game, although Liverpool had two excellent chances to equalise late on.
Since the last time United played the reds had dispatched Portsmouth in the Premier League before overturning a Europa League tie and moving in to the Quarter Finals. Maxi Rodriguez was the only change from the mid-week 3-0 win over Lille, returning to the side to replace Ryan Babel.
Within 5 minutes the reds were rewarded for their attacking intent when Kuyt raced to the touchline to send a perfectly weighted cross in for Fernando Torres to head home.
In the 12th minute, the controversial figure of Howard Webb left his first mark on the game. Mascherano appeared to tangle with Valencia outside the area, but decided to tumble once inside the area. The referee pointed to the post and handed a yellow card to the reds Argentine. From the spot kick Pepe Reina went the right way, but his save only pushed the ball back in to Rooney’s path who scored the equaliser.
Valencia was getting some joy out of the right wing, constantly testing Insua.
Liverpool’s attacks were brief, but when in play the reds were sending more men forward than has been seen on many occasions at Old Trafford.
The second half was devoid of much attacking intent as both midfielders cancelled each other out.
It was United who got the goal to break the deadlock when Valencia sent a cross for Park to head in.
The reds had chances late on but a couple of scuffed Torres chances and a weak Benayoun shot were easily dealt with.
Liverpool’s 3 match winning run over United ends and Liverpool and United settle for a win apiece in this season’s head to heads.
Our Man of the Match: Daniel Agger
Post Match Comments
“It was a tight game and very close and we had a really good chance at the end for Fernando and Yossi,” Benitez told his post-match press conference.
“We are disappointed. We didn’t create too many chances but I felt we were always dangerous and in these games small details can make a big difference.
“We made a great start and Fernando scored a very good goal but I felt we conceded too early. The penalty was the turning point for them and it made a big difference.
“We were playing well and we had confidence and one situation changed everything. We are disappointed but you cannot change these things. Sometimes they go your way but this season more than we expected things have gone against us.
“From the bench I asked the TV people who told me the challenge was inside the box so it was a penalty. Watching the replay myself there is a lot of doubt in my mind. It’s not clear as there was some contact outside the box but it was disappointing.”