Both Rafa and Fergie choose to look at
the positives. (Photo: AP)
laughs off long ball jibes
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Striker Peter Crouch has laughed off claims Liverpool
will rely too much on long ball football following his
arrival at Anfield.
Crouch made England team-mate Rio Ferdinand look
uncomfortable for much of yesterday's uneventful 0-0
draw, but he admitted there were times he was a lone
figure in attack.
Manchester United fans taunted the Reds with chants of
'Wimbledon' during the second half as Liverpool looked
towards the aerial threat of the £7m striker.
But Crouch dismissed the jibes.
"The United fans are always going to take the mickey,
but we know we don't play like that," said Crouch.
"We can play and pass. When you've got the likes of
Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso, who are great ball
play-ers, we can play a good style. But we know we can
mix it up too and sometimes you need to hit a long ball
and feed off the seconds.
"I take a lot of the stick as a compliment. I wasn't
going to let Rio Ferdinand have an easy time. When you
play against world class players like that you want to
unsettle them and that's my job done. I thought I did
"Maybe we were a touch deep at times. It worked well
against Betis but not so well yesterday in the final
third. But the result in Betis shows there's no problem.
There's enough quality to get goals."
Liverpool have now accumulated six points from four
games. Although they have two games in hand, manager
Rafa Benitez knows some encouraging draws will have to
be backed up by victories if Chelsea aren't to build an
immediate, unassailable lead.
"We're slightly disappointed with the result because at
home you're always looking for three points," added
"At the same time, it's no disgrace drawing with
Manchester United because they're a big threat. But
we're setting our standards high. We feel we could have
won, but at least we didn't lose.
"It didn't feel a low key game out there. There were a
few tackles flying about. Both sides wanted to win but a
draw was fair.
"It's frustrating to have had three 0-0 draws, but we're
sure goals will come. On the plus side we're solid at
the back and keeping clean sheets.
"We've taken points from good teams and now we'll be
looking to take three from those teams we know we should
beat so we can close the gap.
"We'll be looking towards Birmingham now. We can get a
Rafa: The goals will come
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez firmly believes the goals will soon
start to fly in for Liverpool and said he was happy with
the performance of his team against Manchester United in
the goalless draw at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager preferred to look at the positives
of his team's performance and said there is a big
improvement from last season.
Benitez said: "I prefer to look at the positives. We
have kept four clean sheets in a row and that is a
positive thing. Okay we need to score goals but that
"We wanted to win the game but they are a very good team
and both teams didn't create many chances. Last season
we lost twice to this team so we have got a point this
"I thought Peter Crouch did a good job for us in attack.
We tried to get the ball to him early and then play off
the first or second ball but they are a good team with
good players and sometimes it's not easy to break them
down. We tried to play wide and on the counter attack
but as I said they are a good team and you need to be at
your best and play really well to beat them."
Asked after the game whether the real winner from this
game was runaway leaders Chelsea, Benitez said his only
concern is his team and making sure Liverpool keep
"I am only interested in my team and we are improving,"
said Benitez. We are now at the same level as Manchester
United and we will keep on improving."
glimpse of future
Sir Alex Ferguson believes the intense rivalry
between Manchester United and Liverpool is in danger of
producing more dour stalemates.
Neither side looked like making the breakthrough in
Sunday's affair at Anfield, with defences on top for the
Ferguson said: "There was nothing wrong with the
atmosphere between the players but maybe these games are
too intense and too important now. You could see 0-0
written all over it from very early on.
"Maybe it makes it difficult for players to relax,
particularly the forwards.
"Today I thought we had a good chance when Ruud [van
Nistelrooy] got through and he opted for the chip.
"I asked him about it at half-time and he told me 'he
(Jose Reina) was so off his line, I thought the chip was
on'. He's (van Nistelrooy) normally spot-on with his
"Liverpool set their stall out making it very hard to
break them down but we've got enough quality to do
something about that.
"We showed good professionalism and composure but we
just lacked the cutting edge."
Ferguson and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, rarely in
agreement, have recently joined forces in suggesting the
Premiership is in danger of suffering from a lack of
entertainment with home sides reluctant to take the
But Ferguson added on Sky Sports: "It's early season and
players are superbly fit at the moment.
"They are closing space down all the time but, come
November, there will be more space and they will have
got their passing going."
We showed too much respect
Steven Gerrard has acknowledged Liverpool gave
Manchester United too much space to play in the first
half of Sunday's Premiership stalemate.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side had the better of the first
half and although Liverpool improved after the
turnaround, it ended goalless.
Gerrard said afterwards: "Maybe we showed them a little
bit too much respect in the first half.
"But if you take too many chances and push men forward
they (United) are that good on the counter-attack they
can nick it 1-0.
"I think they will be happy to come to Anfield and get a
The England midfielder continued on Sky Sports: "I think
it's a fair result.
"They controlled the first half and we pushed more in
the second half without creating any clear-cut chances."
Gerrard himself had the best chance of the game with a
long-range effort which was saved by Edwin van der Sar.
And the Liverpool midfielder continued: "I caught it
well and saw it moving but it has to be right in the
corner to beat van der Sar - he is a world-class goalie.
You have to hit it perfectly to beat him.
"I thought we started the second half a lot better and
were the better side in the second half."
Liverpool have now netted just once in four league
games, although they have yet to concede a goal.
Gerrard said: "We'll keep working on the training ground
and hopefully the goals will come."
in scoreless stalemate
By Mark Buckingham - Sky Sports
Liverpool and Manchester United lost further ground
on Premiership leaders Chelsea after an abysmal 0-0 draw
The history between these two clubs always makes for an
intriguing contest but there was little in the way of
spectacle to excite a vociferous crowd.
Much of the drama occurred before kick-off when United
captain Roy Keane made a shock return to the team after
being expected to be sidelined for three weeks with a
Edwin van der Sar's alertness snuffed out the danger
when Steven Gerrard looked to latch on to Luis Garcia's
early pass, while Ruud van Nistelrooy struck a free kick
straight at Jose Reina.
There was a congested air to proceedings, with precious
little quality to back up some stirring challenges to
make the blood curdle in the first half.
Liverpool were the more adventurous of the two teams but
relied heavily on the aerial presence of Peter Crouch
who, too often, lacked support in attack.
Clever skill from John Arne Riise only resulted in a
wild shot and Xabi Alonso was similarly inaccurate with
a free kick in a dangerous area.
Jamie Carragher produced one superb last-ditch tackle to
thwart the predatory van Nistelrooy before the United
striker had the best chance of the first half a minute
before the break.
Rio Ferdinand was the creative spark for the visitors,
stepping out of defence to slip a precise pass to the
unmarked van Nistelrooy but the Dutchman's chip over
Reina only landed on the roof of the net.
Aside from a spurt by Wayne Rooney, the attacking
impetus early in the second half resided with The Reds
as Crouch tamely shot at van der Sar after he again used
his height to good effect.
Liverpool captain Gerrard had largely been a peripheral
figure but sprung into life on 55 minutes to feed Riise
on the flank, and then charge into the penalty area to
glance the Norwegian's cross over the bar.
Gerrard was slowly exerting more influence on
Liverpool's game and tested van der Sar for the first
time midway through the second half when his swerving
shot from 25 yards was beaten away by the United keeper
at full stretch.
The midfielder then displayed the creative bent to his
game by threading a pass through to Luis Garcia but the
disappointing Spaniard dragged his shot wide.
The same duo combined for another chance inside the
final 10 minutes with Gerrard cutting in from the left
to tease in a cross which Garcia headed past the
Finally, the dirge was broken by the full time blast
from referee Rob Styles' whistle who, it must be said,
policed the game in a commendable fashion.
It was a game neither team deserved to win, or were ever
in danger of losing, and it is to be hoped that this is
not a vision for the future of Premiership football.