After The Match 


Manchester U-Liverpool 3-2 (1-0)         19.9.10                   PL
Goals: Gerrard (64 pen, 70)              Berbatov (42, 59, 84)
Team: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky, Poulsen, Meireles; Maxi, Gerrard, Cole, Torres
Subs: Ngog (Rodriguez 62), Jovanovic (Meireles 79),
Agger (Konchesky 82)
Not used: Jones, Kyrgiakos, Lucas, Babel
Yellow: Ngog (66)
Rooney (57), Evans (63), Scholes (68), O'Shea (69)
Red: None
Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 75,213
Shots on target: 5-2
Shots off target: 7-6
Blocked shots: 7-0
Fouls conceded: 15-11
Corners: 6-1
Offsides: 2-1
Possession: 49.5-50.5
Yellow: 4-1

HEADLINES "Having got back to 2-2
we should have kept that."
Roy Hodgson
2109: Agger denies bust up
2009: Agger won't alter style
2009: Roy keen to solve Meireles mystery
2009: Cole calls for patience
2009: Gerrard's four key fixtures
2009: Carragher: Liverpool FC fighting spirit
          at Man Utd shows we are on the right track

2009: Berbatov enjoys best United day
1909: Hodgson: It's not a catastrophe
1909: United boss applauds 'great result'
1909: A tale of two strikers at OT
1909: Berba treble sinks Reds

Agger denies bust up

Daniel Agger has moved quickly to set the record straight over his weekend comments and maintains he is happy at the club.

Agger's quotes were everywhere following the weekend defeat to Manchester United as he seemed to question Roy Hodgson's tactics and suggested he would not be changing his style of play to suit the new boss.

Agger has been keen to set the record straight and told the club's website: "I am very disappointed with the papers in Denmark for the way they have done this story.

"I spoke to Danish TV after the game on Sunday and answered the questions that were put to me. I didn't speak to the papers.
"The problem was the questions never appeared on TV, only the answers did, and then the newspapers put their own questions in. What came out was one hundred per cent wrong and that is why I am very disappointed.

"An example is the quote about me not playing long balls. The TV journalist asked me what I needed to do to get back into the team and suggested I should start hitting more long balls. I said I wouldn't do that because I'm not that kind of player. That's where that quote came from.

"I actually think we play good football and that we have showed that against Manchester United and against Arsenal.
"What I don't understand is that it was only a few days ago when I spoke to the media ahead of the Steaua Bucharest game and I think I said everybody at the club was happier now with the new manager, the new players and the new methods. It's strange to read this just a few days later but that's the way the media works, especially in Denmark. They don't have much to write about so they look for every little thing and try to make a big sensation out of it."

Agger added: "I have been involved in every game this season. Of course I'm disappointed when I'm not in the team, but I have been here for five years and really like it here. I wouldn't have stayed for this long if I didn't like it or if I was unhappy. I am still happy and will keep fighting for my place."

Agger won't alter style

By Chris Burton - Sky Sports

Daniel Agger finds himself out of favour at Liverpool, but insists he will not be changing his ways.

The Danish defender was overlooked for the Reds' 0-0 draw at Birmingham and was only awarded a late cameo in their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.

A lack of activity has left him frustrated, with new boss Roy Hodgson currently favouring other options.

Agger believes the former Fulham boss continues to snub him because his game does not suit the new-look Liverpool.

The 25-year-old feels his desire to play the ball out from the back is counting against him.

He will not be altering his style any time soon, though, even it means sticking life out on the Anfield bench.

"The manager's philosophy is that we play football in attack, but not at the back. That's not my style," Agger told

"I'm not that type of player. I like to keep the ball on the ground, and that's what I'll keep doing. Time will show if he [Hodgson] doesn't want to play me because of that.

"I'll try to change myself, but I will never be a player who offloads the ball at every opportunity.

"I'll fight for my chance. I know what I stand for, and I think he [Hodgson] does too."

Roy keen to solve
Meireles mystery


Roy Hodgson believes Raul Meireles and Steven Gerrard can provide the midfield axis on which Liverpool can regain Champions League status.

Meireles, a £10.7million signing from Porto, was brought in on the weekend before the closing of the transfer window with some of the proceeds of the sale of Javier Mascherano to Barcelona.

After his presentation on the pitch prior to Liverpool's home win over West Brom he immediately departed on international duty with Portugal and, as a result, he has had little time to adjust to his new surroundings.

Similarly, Hodgson has not been able to properly assess the player's attributes.

Meireles made a 14-minute debut as a substitute in the goalless draw at Birmingham, played 90 minutes against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League on Thursday and lasted until 11 minutes from the end of Sunday's defeat at Manchester United.

In that brief period, the 27-year-old has shown he could be a valuable asset to Liverpool in terms of midfield energy and creativity.

The majority of his time on the pitch has been spent in the advanced role behind Fernando Torres usually occupied by Steven Gerrard and Hodgson hopes, given time, the pair will strike up a useful partnership.

He has admitted, however, he is still not sure where Meireles' best position is.

"They (he and Gerrard) are certainly interchangeable," said the 62-year-old.

"We signed Meireles and the day after he went for 10 days away with Portugal and then came back for two days and made a substitute appearance against Birmingham.

"He had two training sessions and played on Thursday night and he played again on Sunday so it is very early for me to make very strong judgements about where his best position is.

"The work we do on the training field will show me how best to use him.

"He actually went out wide right late in the United game and did okay there also.

"All I can say is he has a lot of qualities and I'm sure we'll get a lot of use out of him.

"Most importantly he is a good and talented footballer and he is capable of playing anywhere across the midfield so we will see how we box it up together."

Hodgson was heartened by the player's performance against United.

"I was quite pleased with the central midfield three of Christian Poulsen, Gerrard and Meireles," he continued.

"I thought they got better as the game went on. In the second half in particular we looked much better but we've still got to provide that cutting edge.

"We got the ball into good areas, got it wide and gave ourselves good crossing opportunities but I'm still looking for that final ball and run which will polish things off.

"We saw a bit more of it in the second half but we've still got a long way to go on that and that is going to be a major focus of our work."

Defeat at Old Trafford has left Hodgson's team in 16th in the Barclays Premier League,

They are 10 points behind leaders Chelsea but only three off fourth place which, Hodgson said, remained the club's main focus.

"Our goal at the start of the season was to compete for a Champions League place," added the former Fulham boss.

"And if you are competing for a Champions League place you are perhaps automatically competing for the league because quite often the difference between first and fourth is not a vast number of points.

"If we become good enough to get ourselves in the top four who knows we might also get close to the number one position.

"I haven't made any bold statements on that at all. I don't say we can't do it and I definitely don't say we are going to."

Hodgson knows there is still plenty of work to do but is remaining upbeat despite critics already writing-off Liverpool's season.

"We are certainly in a transitional period but that fact per se does not have to be negative," he said.

"It is quite strange as in five (league) games I've seen two where the desire and determination was very good - against Arsenal with 10 men and yesterday - and the other games in between I don't know if we have done ourselves justice.

"It is good to see that we can do it - we have shown glimpses of it in the European games - and I thought against United it was a big step forward in terms of the way we played."

Cole calls for patience

Sky Sports

Joe Cole is refusing to panic despite Liverpool's worst start in the Premier League in 18 years.

Liverpool have won just won of their opening five games after going down 3-2 to old rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

Cole, who joined Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer, has called for patience and is confident Roy Hodgson's side will soon turn things around.

"Judge us in May where we are," Cole told Sky Sports News. "We have had a tough start to the season with the fixture list and with Fernando [Torres] not being match fit, 100 per cent up until the last couple of weeks and also the change of personnel with the change of manager.

"We will pick up, I am convinced. If we keep passing the ball the way we did [against Manchester United] we will be fine."

Cole also rejected suggestions that the ongoing uncertainty regarding the ownership of the club is affecting performances on the pitch.

"No, not really, our job is to go out and try and win games," added Cole.

"We have got to try and take the positives [from the United game], we passed the ball well, scored two goals and we got beaten by a great team and a player on top of his game.

"But we will be alright, we just need to keep going."

Gerrard's four key fixtures

By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website

Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool are already showing signs of improvement under Roy Hodgson - and he hopes to prove it with a four-match winning spree in the coming weeks.

The skipper was speaking after his two goals almost earned the Reds a share of the spoils at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The visitors came from two goals behind but had their hopes dashed late on when Dimitar Berbatov completed his hat-trick to make the final score 3-2.

Gerrard said: "It's going to take time before the new manager gets his feet in the door and gets his ideas over.

"Of course we're improving and the performance was really good. If we play like that every week we'll beat most of the teams in the league. But here we came up against a man in form and he was the difference.

"What's done is done and all we need to talk about in the next few days is the games we have got coming up.

"We've got a League Cup game against Northampton - and that competition is very important to us - before we play Sunderland next week.

"Nobody will be sulking because we want to make sure we go into the next international break next month having won all our games."

Despite the defeat, Gerrard is taking several positives from the way he and his teammates went about their business.

He said: "When you recover a two-goal deficit at Old Trafford you feel really good and you fancy yourself to hang on in there and get a fantastic point but Berbatov has completed his hat-trick. He was superb and his second goal was world class.

"We're disappointing with the result, disappointed to be going away with nothing but really pleased with how we played.

"When you come to Old Trafford it's important to keep the ball otherwise they will control the game, and I think we kept the ball away from them and passed it really well, even though we were a bit edgy in the first half with us being away from home.

"In the second half we were more positive and played some terrific stuff, but you get nothing for that. You've got to create chances and score goals. We got two but that wasn't enough."

Gerrard's second goal was a free-kick which slid past Darren Fletcher in the wall.

The No.8 added: "I saw how he (Edwin van der Sar) set the wall up and the idea was for me to try to get it over.

"But you see so many free-kicks where walls break or they go through gaps and if you hit the target you get your reward and I got that."

Carragher: Liverpool FC fighting spirit
at Man Utd shows we are on the right track

By Dominic King - Liverpool Echo

Jamie Carragher today claimed Liverpool’s spirited second half showing at Old Trafford points to a bright future – as he held his hands up to the goal that cost them a point.

Though the Reds vice-captain was content with the way the Reds acquitted themselves for long periods of yesterday’s tussle with Manchester United, his positive mood was significantly tempered by events in the final six minutes.

He failed to get high enough as he leapt with Dimitar Berbatov for John O’Shea’s cross and was distraught that the Bulgarian was able to complete his hat-trick and give United a 3-2 win.

But while it will take time for the wounds to heal, Carragher is confident Liverpool will start to climb the table at speed if they can reproduce the passing and industry they showed after the break.

“Any time you lose a big game, you are always bitterly disappointed,” said Carragher.

“To come back from two goals down was a fantastic effort from the lads but I thought we did well for the 90 minutes.

“We were not really asked too many questions and there are not too many teams who can say that after going to Old Trafford.

“If you look at the goals they scored, it was a similar in a way to what happened at Manchester City.

“Pepe (Reina) hasn’t really had a lot to do yet we have still ended up conceding three times.

“The first was poor from a set piece, you have to hold your hands up and say the second from Berbatov was world class; he is capable of that.

“But for the third, I was really disappointed with myself. I should have done better with the challenge on him. It’s the small details that count and it’s so frustrating that (United) have been able to get the win.

“It’s a funny situation, really. Last week, we were not happy with the performance at Birmingham but came away with a point; this week we’re happy enough with the performance but have come away with nothing.”

As ever with clashes against United, there were a number of talking points, not least the fact John O’Shea only received a yellow card for a rugby tackle on Fernando Torres and Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim that defeat was a “catastrophe” for Liverpool.

Carragher was puzzled by Ferguson’s assertion and, rather than engage in any verbal jousting with United’s camp, feels the Premier League table will soon have a much healthier look to it if Liverpool can get into a rhythm.

“Those things (the O’Shea yellow card) can go either way,” said Carragher.

“If he gets sent-off, we would have more of a chance against 10 men but what happened has happened.

“There is still a long way to go. Though we have not started great in terms of results, there are a lot of things to take into account and this is a transitional time. But we have just got to remain positive.

“A few wins and everything will look different.

“We have got two home games coming up in the Premier League and we need to make them count.

“We’ve had a great start in the Europa League and we just have to make sure we keep on believing.”

Berbatov enjoys
best United day

By Nigel Brown -

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov happily accepted the praise after his hat-trick inspired the 3-2 triumph over Premier League rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

The Bulgarian has cut a frustrated figure at Old Trafford since he joined from Tottenham Hotspur in a deal worth £30million two years ago.

However, his recent heroics have enamoured him to the Red Devils' faithful and he was delighted with the way the day panned out.

He opened the scoring with a diving header from Ryan Giggs' corner before doubling the lead with a superb overhead kick.

Steven Gerrard pulled Liverpool back into it with a penalty and a free-kick, but another header from the instrumental frontman secured all three points and he expressed his delight at hearing the crowd roar when his spectacular second struck the net.

"It was probably my best day in a United shirt," said Berbatov.

"Obviously I am happy. I am going home with a smile on my face, but I am nothing special. I am going home to play with my kids.

"I never saw the ball go in the back of the net, but when I heard the crowd scream it was easy to guess what had happened.

"It was a good goal, but as long as the ball hits the back of the net it doesn't matter."

Hodgson: It's not a catastrophe

Football 365

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson's assertion that their 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford is a "catastrophe" for the Merseysiders.

He did accept, however, that any potential bid for a Barclays Premier League title was already looking remote.

Having clawed their way back from 2-0 down the visitors conceded a third time six minutes from the end as Dimitar Berbatov completed his hat-trick.

It inflicted Liverpool's second defeat of the campaign - their first coming at Manchester City a month ago - and Ferguson believes it is a major blow for their season with the club lingering in 16th place in the Barclays Premier League.

"[People were saying] it would have been a catastrophe for Liverpool if they had lost, and a catastrophe for us if we had - fortunately we won," said Ferguson.

Hodgson admitted that, with Chelsea stretching their advantage at the top of the table, Liverpool's chances of winning the title were already slim but their aim of finishing in the top four remained alive.

"We have had a remarkably hard start to the season," said the Liverpool boss.

"Our performance today was clearly a lot better than our last two Barclays Premier League performances (a 1-0 win over West Brom and a goalless draw at Birmingham).

"We were playing against a top team and we can take a lot of credit from the way we went about our business and got ourselves back into the game.

"To use words like catastrophe is a bit strong unless you are talking about winning the league.

"Of course if Chelsea win today we will be a long way behind them early doors - I suppose you could use the word catastrophe for that.

"But at this early stage of my time working the club I can't be making those judgements.

"Our aim is to get better, to get to the Champions League, and maybe that is where I have got to have my focus."

United seemed to be cruising after Berbatov struck twice, once with a first-half header and then with a clever overhead kick which went in off the crossbar.

However, Steven Gerrard dragged Liverpool back into the game with a penalty, after Fernando Torres was fouled by Jonny Evans, and a free-kick after the Spain striker was controversially pulled back by John O'Shea, who was only booked.

There was an argument the Republic of Ireland defender should have been sent off for denying Torres a goalscoring opportunity but referee Howard Webb was lenient.

Ferguson accused the Liverpool striker of trying to get his player a red card but Hodgson again refused to bite.

"Definitely Fernando Torres made a meal of it. There is no doubt he was trying to get the player sent off," said Ferguson.

Hodgson saw it differently. "I prefer to talk about the game and talk about issues that interest me," he added.

"Sir Alex is entitled to any opinion he wants to have but I'm not going to come here and say I agree or disagree.

"I thought the referee refereed the game very well and I have a very ambivalent attitude to those type of things.

"I am not a great lover of red cards for petty offences. Alex is a lot closer to it where he sits but my first thought when it happened was 'this is a foul' but I didn't think he should have been sent off.

"My staff around me jumped about saying he should have been sent off but I took a much calmer attitude towards it.

"As it turned out we got the goal anyway and that should have been the goal which got us a good and maybe deserved point.

"But we defended poorly five or six minutes from the end at a cross which we should have done much better on.

"In my opinion it would be churlish to talk about whether a player should be sent off when really our downfall was due to the fact we should have defended much better for that third goal.

"The first was a wonderful header and the second a bit of genius which is difficult to defend against but the third was far too routine.

"Having got back to 2-2 we should have kept that."

United boss applauds 'great result'


Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he feared Manchester United would not get anything from Sunday's thrilling 3-2 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Dimitar Berbatov scored twice to give United the lead but Steven Gerrard scored a penalty and a free-kick to level the scores.

However, Berbatov completed his hat-trick to give United a 3-2 win which Ferguson thought was the least his team deserved from the Premier League contest.

The Scot said: "From thinking to myself 'it's going to be 10' we ended up at 2-2. It was a travesty of a scoreline then - but a great result at the end.

"They (Liverpool) didn't offer anything and depended on decisions from the linesman to get back in the game.

"Edwin van der Sar had no saves to make, Paul Scholes controlled the midfield and we looked dangerous up front with Dimitar and Nani - I couldn't see us losing the game."

Berbatov's second goal was the pick of the scoring, an overhead kick which went in off the bar.

And after the Bulgarian had become the first United player to score a hat-trick against Liverpool in more than 60 years, Ferguson added on Sky Sports: "It was unexpected, a surprise attempt. Not many of those go in the net but fortunately it did this time.

"There was a lot of criticism of him (Berbatov) last season from the media - it happens when we buy someone for a lot of money, that's the way of the world.

"But this season he has started off in the right fashion. He was good in pre-season and on tour and has carried it on. There has never been any doubt about the quality of the man."

Ferguson revealed Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand have been suffering from a sickness bug, adding: "Ryan was ill at half-time and was feeling really queasy. Rio was the same last night, so we hope it's not going to spread."

A tale of two strikers at OT


TEAMtalk feels the dramatic North-West clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford was decided by a tale of two strikers.

The North-West clash between England's two most successful clubs was decided by a tale of two strikers and highlighted just where Liverpool have to improve if they are to catch up with Manchester United.

Dimitar Berbatov was at his clinical and brilliant best as he scored a hat-trick. By contrast, Liverpool counterpart Fernando Torres barely had a clear-cut chance all afternoon.

Character may not be an issue for the Merseysiders as they fought back from 2-0 down only to concede again late on - but manager Roy Hodgson still has plenty to do to make his side feared once again.

In Torres they possess one of the most lethal strikers in world football but at the moment they are just not getting the best out of him.

He may not be at his sharpest but he was starved of opportunities at Old Trafford.

The Spain international is not the type of player who will create something out of nothing, he has to have a little bit of help but at the moment it is difficult to see where it will come from.

At Old Trafford manager Hodgson's tactics appeared to suggest he would have been happy with a draw and it was only when they were 2-0 down that he looked to attack.

Playing Steven Gerrard in a deeper role means he was too far away to offer the kind of assistance which has seen the pair dovetail so well in previous seasons.

And fielding two midfielders in Joe Cole and Maxi Rodriguez who are more inclined to drift inside left Liverpool crying out for width.

Glen Johnson provided threat down the right, although his distribution still leaves a lot to be desired, while new signing Paul Konchesky is either lacking in inclination or confidence to do the same down the left.

It meant the centre of the field became so congested that even if Gerrard or Raul Meireles got time on the ball, their options were limited.

Torres' only significant contribution of the first half came when he failed to mark Berbatov properly at a corner, allowing the Bulgarian to put his side in front with a straightforward header.

He did redeem himself by winning the penalty which allowed Gerrard to put his side back in the game but even then he declined the opportunity to shoot and there were slim pickings for him all afternoon.

United, in truth, were not that much better than their North-West rivals but what is markedly different about their approach is that they do commit men forward and play with width.

Their second goal was a case in point. When Nani chased down Darren Fletcher's raking crossfield ball and looked up there were three team-mates waiting in the middle.

A little piece of brilliance from Berbatov made the difference but it could easily have been Wayne Rooney or Ryan Giggs.

Faced with the same situation Rodriguez would have probably only had Torres to aim at.

Berbatov has been the revelation for United so far this season as he and Sir Alex Ferguson seem to have finally worked each other out.

United are, of course, more than a few more paces along the developmental road than Hodgson's side as some of their players have actually won a league championship.

But to reach that level Hodgson is going to have to work out a way of getting Liverpool to create more opportunities for their prized asset rather than relying on set-pieces.

Berba treble sinks Reds

Sky Sports

Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat-trick as Manchester United enjoyed a thrilling 3-2 victory over old rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.

United appeared in danger of throwing away a winning position for the third time this season when Steven Gerrard's brace had cancelled out Berbatov's double either side of half-time.

However, with six minutes to go, the Bulgarian striker became the first United player to net a hat-trick against Liverpool in 64 years as he headed home John O'Shea's cross.

A first half shy on chances was livened up three minutes before the break when Berbatov easily held off his marker Fernando Torres to head Ryan Giggs' corner inside the post.

Berbatov's second just before the hour mark was a majestic overhead kick and it appeared as though it would then be plain sailing for the Red Devils.

But Jonny Evans' mis-timed challenge on Torres allowed Gerrard to score from the penalty spot on 64 minutes and six minutes later the visiting captain equalised for Liverpool by curling home a free-kick from the edge of the area.

United, though, found one last hurrah as O'Shea drifted a cross to the far post on 84 minutes and Berbatov rose well to beat Jamie Carragher in the air and guide his header inside the upright.

The atmosphere was crackling at kick-off, although the early action failed to match it.

United did create one excellent opportunity, which Nani wasted when he fired wide after Wayne Rooney's shot had bounced kindly for him after striking Gerrard.

But the game was low on incident until Berbatov broke the deadlock by nodding home Giggs' corner at the near post after easily holding off Torres.

Liverpool striker Torres' performance against Birmingham last week came in for criticism and the Spaniard was again struggling to get into the match.

New United captain Nemanja Vidic, who has suffered more than most at the feet of a man who remains one of the world's best strikers, tidied up one opportunity that had come Torres' way via a fortunate bounce off World Cup final referee Howard Webb.

Torres also trundled a disappointing shot way off target after managing to get a quarter of a yard in front of Vidic as the pair turned on the edge of the area.

If defensive questions needed to be asked about United's opener, there was nothing more to do than simply admire Berbatov's brilliance when he doubled his side's lead just before the hour.

It was almost impossible to believe it took just two touches to get Nani's right-wing cross into the net. But it was precisely that.

The first to control with his knee. The second to dispatch an overhead kick which left Pepe Reina rooted to the spot as it bounced in off the crossbar.

In any normal season, the contest would have been over. However, there is a fallibility about United just now that clearly refuses to rectify itself no matter how harsh Sir Alex Ferguson's words.

The rashness with which Evans lunged in on Torres as the striker checked back inside the box gave lie to the theory United can operate effectively without Rio Ferdinand, overlooked for the captaincy and missing with a virus.

On the second occasion, O'Shea could count himself mightily relieved Webb did not reach for the red card once he decided the Irishman had dragged Torres to the ground just outside the box.

With both situations though, Gerrard found the corner of United's goal with precision, racing gleefully to the ecstatic visiting fans the second time around to hail a position he could not have expected his team would be in 10 minutes previously.

It looked like United had blown it. Berbatov had other ideas and rose to meet O'Shea cross to give his side victory and Liverpool were unable to offer a telling response.

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Thor Zakariassen ©