After The Match 


LIVERPOOL-MANCHESTER U 1-2 (0-0)           Sun Nov 9     Premier League
Goals: Kewell (75) Giggs (59, 69)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Biscan, Hyypia, Traore, Diouf, Gerrard, Murphy, Smicer, Heskey, Kewell
Subs: Pongolle (Smicer 62), Le Tallec (Diouf 69)
Not used: Kirkland, Diao, Riise
Yellow: Diouf (63)       Van Nistelrooy (32), Neville (52)
Red: None
Referee: Graham Poll
Attendance: 44.159

                                                            FIXTURES & RESULTS   
On target: 4-4
Off target: 6-2
Fouls: 16-9
Corne:rs 2-6
Yellow: 1-2
Red: 0-0





..."we have to
keep going and
keep believing in
what we are doing."

               Gerard Houllier

0911: Heskey the fall guy as Giggs piles...
0911: Houllier laments undeserved defeat
0911: Giggs: We had to work for win


Heskey the fall guy as Giggs piles on the pain

By Tim Rich -The Independent

When asked his greatest achievement as manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson replied that "it was knocking Liverpool off their perch".

At Anfield, they would have digested the news that Ferguson plans another four years at Old Trafford ­ on a deal worth £4m a year ­ slowly and grimly. Liverpool show no signs of climbing back up.

They used to say on Merseyside that you could afford to lose just four matches if you were to take the title and, well as Liverpool performed in a wonderfully intense contest, this was defeat number five.

As the November darkness gathered over Anfield, their manager, Gérard Houllier, confessed that they were now playing for the fourth and final Champions' League slot. Even that might take some getting.

"Above us only sky" read one banner draped from the Anfield Road End, although above Liverpool this morning are Fulham, Manchester City, Birmingham and Charlton, not to mention the big three, who from the banks of the Mersey look as distant and untouchable as Saturn.

Houllier, who took sole charge of Liverpool five years ago this week, looked genuinely pained. This season, Liverpool have embraced flair but not, significantly, luck. Having clawed their way back from two Ryan Giggs goals, both of which might have been prevented, and been denied what appeared a clear penalty, Danny Murphy threaded a pass through to Emile Heskey. The striker, unmarked in the area, promptly fell over. It was practically the final kick of the game.

Hard though he works, Heskey is likely to be remembered at Anfield more for his misses than his goals. In two-and-a-half seasons, he has managed one goal against the four teams who this year qualified for the Champions' League. When he trudged off, neither Houllier nor his assistant, Phil Thompson, cast a glance his way.

Had the ball fallen to Michael Owen, he would surely have scored ­ but Owen was elsewhere, resting an ankle injury which will keep him out of England's friendly with Denmark on Sunday.

It would have been the coldest of comforts that Liverpool had pushed Manchester United fearsomely hard. Ever since his Aberdeen side was humiliated here in the European Cup in 1980, Ferguson has nursed a fierce dislike of the club.

But even he was moved to say: "We were more than hanging on there, it was a fantastic game. It is a privilege to be involved with these kind of games.

"Liverpool were the better side in the first half and played with a conviction we did not seem to have, but in the second half we were more like ourselves."

The match was played at a frantic, compelling pace, which still allowed for some remarkable slices of skill, not least when Djimi Traoré took Diego Forlan's cross from Ruud van Nistelrooy's boots, a tackle equalled by one from Mikaël Silvestre to dispossess Murphy in the area.

Sami Hyypia, stripped of the captaincy by Houllier because he was no longer guaranteed a place in Liverpool's side, generally kept Van Nistelrooy in impressive check. For most of the match, the Dutchman made little worthwhile contribution other than to try to score with an outstretched hand.

The tackle on Florent Sinama-Pongolle by Rio Ferdinand as the youngster roared into the area with the new scoreboard at Anfield ­ which looks like a piece of digital technology from the Seventies ­ reading 2-1, was, however, clumsily timed. It happened a dozen yards from a Kop which echoed with disbelief as Graham Poll rejected a strangely muted appeal.

Houllier was adamant his side deserved a penalty. "We should have had that penalty, although I am not blaming referee Graham Poll.

"He was probably seeing it from a different angle, but I have now seen it on TV and it is clear to me. At Old Trafford, I feel it would have been a penalty."

Sinama-Pongolle, a blistering talent from the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, had created the platform for a Liverpool comeback with a hard, low cross that Harry Kewell met with a supremely well-timed volley, which was only the seventh goal of the season Tim Howard had conceded. There was a quarter of an hour remaining and Manchester United did not play it out convincingly.

Nevertheless, the brutal statistic is that not since the Merseyside derby in August have Liverpool, once so robotically defensive, managed a clean sheet in the Premiership.

The first goal they conceded yesterday may have been a fluke, a cross from Giggs, used on the right flank against Traoré, that eluded everyone and finished in the corner of Jerzy Dudek's net, but Houllier thought it preventable.

"When you go through a difficult spell, you fear a lack of concentration from your players and that's what happened. There were several players at fault, not just the goalkeeper."

The second, too, was a curious goal; a cross which, intended for Van Nistelrooy, found Giggs whose shot from a tight angle ought to have been blocked by Dudek. Instead, it struck the keeper's boots and ricocheted into the net via the crossbar.

It was all eerily familiar. Once more, Liverpool had lost 2-1 to their great enemy at Anfield, once more Dudek was at fault, and once more the gulf running the East Lancashire Road appeared unbridgeable.

Houllier laments undeserved defeat

LFC Online

Beleaguered Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier believes that his side didn't deserve a third home defeat of the season at the hands of bitter rivals Manchester United today.

The under-fire Frenchman felt that the efforts of his team should have been enough to earn at least a share of the spoils in a game ultimately won by a Ryan Giggs brace before Harry Kewell gave the Reds late hope from a fine Florent-Sinama Pongolle cross.

Houllier said: "I'm disappointed with the result but not with the effort and commitment of the players. I thought we were very good in the first half, we then had a bit of a dip at the start of the second and came strong again towards the end.

"We had chances to equalise, we should have had a penalty, but it wasn't to be for us. The players are down but I told them we have to keep going and keep believing in what we are doing.

"We had to play this game just two days after a match in Romania on a quagmire of a pitch whereas United had an extra couple of days to prepare for it. It's a pity we had to play such a big game so soon after a difficult match away in Europe."

"Despite the results this season I still feel we are making some progress and some improvements. Of course it is going to be difficult for us to win the title now - it's looking like a three horse race for first place - but we'll keep on going and giving our best. We want to make sure we get into that top four."

Giggs: We had to work for win


Matchwinner Ryan Giggs admitted Manchester United were made to work for the full 90 minutes for their 2-1 win at Liverpool.

Giggs bagged both United goals, with Harry Kewell pulling one back for Liverpool after 75 minutes.

Giggs said: "We had to fight until the end.

"We know their fans demand they keep going for 90 minutes and they could have had an equaliser at the end, but it was a great save by Tim (Howard).

"We didn't perform in the first half, we didn't keep the ball enough, but we came back."

Both Giggs' goals came from the right, rather than from his more accustomed position on the left.

He added on Sky Sports: "It gives me the opportunity to cut in more on my favoured left foot.

"I was happy with the goals. It is always important when the others play on Saturday and we're playing on Sunday to get a result."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson added: "We were more than hanging on at the end.

"It was a fantastic game, an incredible game - and you've got to give full marks to every player on the pitch.

"It's a pleasure to be involved in these kind of games.

"Liverpool played with a conviction we didn't match in the first half. They had a good start which put us on the back foot.

"But we played well in the second half - more like ourselves.

"At 2-0 up we started to play well - but it was a nail-biting finish."

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