Three of the Best: Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Gary Pallister sink Liverpool


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 best matches against Liverpool at Anfield since the Premier League commenced.

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United – Premier League – Sunday 22nd March 2015

Louis van Gaal was the man leading Manchester United into their first match against Liverpool at Anfield during his reign at the club. The previous season under David Moyes was a disaster in that Liverpool did the double over United in the league, home and away. The Dutchman would need to change that in order to win over the United supporters who were looking for the club to compete for trophies again after Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season, ending a near 27 year period of success. This match was a good one for numerous reasons; United winning, Juan Mata shining and Steven Gerrard being shown a red card 38 seconds into his introduction at the start of the second half.

It took United just 14 minutes to find the lead through Juan Mata which sent the traveling United supporters into celebration, again with the Spaniard doubling United’s lead just before the hour, a spectacular acrobatic goal assisted by Angel Di Maria. Gerrard’s dismissal, albeit quick after replacing Adam Lallana was fitting as it was his last match against Manchester United as he was to leave his childhood club at the end of the season with LA Galaxy his destination. United won a penalty in the dying minutes of the match after Emre Can fouled Daley Blind, Wayne Rooney missed his spot-kick, much to Liverpool’s satisfaction. They scored ten minutes after Mata’s second, through Daniel Sturridge, which was only a consolation goal for the home side.

United managed to keep their position within the top four, which was the target after spending the season without European competition after David Moyes’ side, ending the season with Ryan Giggs in charge, finished seventh in the Premier League the season before. Alan Shearer on Manchester United’s performance against Liverpool:

“United moved the ball quickly and they passed it well too – their one or two-touch football has clearly improved massively of late. But the most impressive part of their performance in the first 45 minutes at Anfield was their intensity when they did not have possession.”

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United – Premier League – Sunday 23rd September 2012

This was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match against Liverpool at Anfield, which at the time was not known as his retirement was announced closer to the end of the season. Another red card marked this match after Jonjo Shelvey was sent off during the first half for a challenge on Jonny Evans. After a contentious encounter in the first half, the scores were level going into the break. During the match, Liverpool had dominated during periods in possession and they went into the match not winning in their last five matches under Rodgers, which was poor form for the side. Almost immediately after the break, Steven Gerrard put the home side ahead from the volley, which was a devastating blow for Manchester United.

Five minutes later, Rafael da Silva leveled the score with a shot into the top left corner of the net from deep inside the box. United were back on terms and surely would be looking to get something from the match. Shinji Kagawa got himself the assist for the all important goal. Late into the match, Glen Johnson gave away a penalty after a challenge on Antonio Valencia, with Robin van Persie stepping up and scored his sublime spot-kick. United were ahead for the first time in the match and surely cruising to victory. United deservedly took all three points away from Anfield, maintaining their position in the league, which would eventually see them win their twentieth league title. Sir Alex Ferguson on Jonjo Shelvey blaming him for his red card:

“I think it’s a clear sending off, I’ve absolutely no doubts about it. I’ve seen the replay. It was reckless. Jonny Evans, who has dived in, went for the ball and got the ball, no question about that, but Shelvey was nowhere near getting the ball and could have given Jonny Evans a real bad injury. He was very lucky, actually.

“He [Shelvey] came and blamed me. Why not? Why look at himself in the mirror? Just blame someone else. I think the boy’s young and when he looks at it again he’ll realise the stupidity of it. He may apologise, he may not.”

Liverpool 1-3 Manchester United – Premier League – Saturday 19th April 1997

 Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield to put them well on their way to winning the Premier League for the fourth time, their eleventh league title, just seven behind Liverpool’s haul of 18 league titles at the time, which funnily enough is still the same today. United took just 13 minutes to find the lead after a David Beckham corner, Gary Pallister headed home to put United 1-0 up. That was short-lived, however, as John Barnes equalised six minutes later, again from a corner with the England striker and Liverpool legend beating Peter Schmeichel at the near post with a superb strike. United then battled to get something out of the match, finding their way back in front three minutes before the end of the first half, against through Pallister from a Beckham corner, again with a header. United then sealed the victory in the 63rd minute with a Gary Neville cross into the box with Andy Cole waiting to head into the back of the net. Three goals, three headers and three points.

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