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Three of the Worst: Dirk Kuyt, Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard punish Manchester United

Manchester United take on Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Monday night in what will be one of the most important matches of the season. Jose Mourinho’s side need to find their form and earn a victory over Liverpool, a side who has won their last five matches in all competitions. United have won three, drawn one and lost one in their last five matches, so Liverpool will head into this fixture as the favourites. United have a great record against Liverpool at Anfield and Old Trafford over the last two seasons – doing the double over Jürgen Klopp’s side, who were managed by Brendan Rodgers before the German arrived at the club. The last time Manchester United returned to club football following an international break, they faced Manchester City at Old Trafford, losing 2-1, which started a three-match losing streak. United will need to keep their heads, fight for the win to ensure nothing less than three points is taken back to Old Trafford. Here are three of the worst matches against Liverpool at Anfield since the Premier League commenced.

Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United – Premier League – Sunday 6th March 2011

Manchester United had a bad day at Anfield back in 2011 after losing 3-1 with Dirk Kuyt scoring a hat-trick, which ensured that the Premier League title race was still wide open. United eventually went onto win the league that season, topping it with 80 points with second-placed Chelsea and Manchester City sharing the place with 71 points. United were not playing well as the Dutchman ran riot scoring in the 34th and 39th minute to give the home side a 2-0 lead at the break, completing his hat-trick in the 65th minute of the match. United’s only positivity from the match was through Javier Hernandez who scored a consolation goal inside the stoppage time at the end of the match. Sir Alex Ferguson days after snubbing the media after the defeat to Liverpool:

“I have sympathy for myself. I didn’t have an easy week myself. You have to look forward. We have big opportunities at the club and there are a lot of challenges ahead for the rest of the season.

“It is terrific to be involved in the middle of March. Every game you play is of importance. We have Tuesday’s game against Marseille and Bolton in a league game next weekend. It goes on and on. That is why you get to March and hope you are involved in all these things. We are.”

Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United – Premier League – Sunday 4th November 2001

Liverpool beat Manchester United 3-1 at Anfield making it four wins on the trot against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. Michael Owen was the star of the match, scoring twice with John-Arne Riise scoring the other for the home side. David Beckham scored what turned out to be a consolation goal for the Red Devils. Owen opened the scoring after 32 minutes with a clinical finished after a Wes Brown error allowed him to break through. Riise doubled Liverpool’s lead seven minutes later with thunderous free-kick, which could not be stopped. At the end of the first half, Liverpool were 2-0 ahead and cruising. Four minutes into the second half Beckham put United back into the match with a left-footed shot, beating the keeper and giving United some hope in the match. Sadly, two minutes later, Owen completed his brace by scoring the last goal of the match inside the 51st minute. Goalkeeper Fabian Barthez seemed to be United weak link after being exposed in the opening minutes of the match with his failure to get hold of a cross. It was not his only mistake of the game. Paul Scholes, nursing a leg injury was brought on to help United find a second goal, but Liverpool’s resolute defending stopped that from happening.

Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United – Premier League – Saturday 31st March 2001

Manchester United were defeated 2-0 by Liverpool at Anfield after going into this match knowing they were three wins away from guaranteeing their third successive Premier League crown. United were missing some star players with Jaap Stam, Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which would turn into a massive loss for United, who needed to find their feet again after the devastating defeat to their North West rivals. It could have been different for United, who won a David Beckham free-kick in the ninth minute of the match, winning a corner from that, which amounted to nothing. It took Liverpool just seven minutes more to find their first goal with Robbie Fowler laying the ball into Steven Gerrard for him to then be given the time and the space to lay a 35-yard shot past Fabien Barthez. Liverpool were one goal to the good.

Roy Keane immediately tried to get United back on level ground, but his shot was parried clear. Fowler scored his sides second goal in the 41st minute of the match with a Gerrard assist sending the home side into the break with high spirits, with United facing the hairdryer in the dressing room. United went back out to find something from the match, but early chances were not working for Ryan Giggs, Dwight Yorke and even Beckham. In the 68th minute, Danny Murphy was sent off after getting a second yellow card for a foul on Denis Irwin. United then struggled to take advantage of the game, even with the extra man. Liverpool had a few chances in the second half, unable to finish to punish United all the more. Sir Alex Ferguson speaking about pride not being damaged after another defeat to Liverpool:

“There is no damage to our pride when you consider we have done exceptionally well against Liverpool at Anfield in the past.”

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