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Tevez Nets One As Another False Dawn Envelopes Anfield

Liverpool 0-1 Man Utd

United continue their dominance over Liverpool as another 1-0 win pushed the ‘dippers further away from the title race. A joyful day for us reds, which would have been better had it not been for some toothless display from Chelsea, it was — in the words of Fergie — “a typical encounter” against our traditional rivals. But it was also a display that brought another facet of our team to the fore.

For a team like ours, known for free-flowing attacking football, the only way we win is by outscoring our opposition. We kill off teams by scoring a couple or more. That is the United way; our first instinct being to attack, unlike Mourinho’s Chelsea or Rafa’s Liverpool — which are built on defence. This game however showed how well our team can cope with pressure and absorb it well.

True, there were some extremely iffy moments. Three blunders by EVDS went unpunished, and for that we were lucky. We also scored late in the first half off our second shot on goal, while the ‘dippers had nine.

Our victories have always been courtesy of our attackers: Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Giggs have always been at the heart of our wins. But today, our heroes were from entirely different quarters. Rio and Vidic were rock solid in defence, which is something we’ve become accustomed to, but it was the central midfield pair of Anderson and Hargreaves that were outstanding.

They haven’t played too many games together, but it looks like they been playing there for years. I mean, how fuckin’ brilliant is Anderson?! We’ve seen youtube clips of him running at defences but he has the vision of Scholes, and is million times better than him in the tackle. Moreover, he isn’t overawed by the big occasion, something I mentioned in the preview and, something he showed even against Arsenal. And he also had the confidence yesterday to run at the Liverpool defence before getting scythed down by Stevie G.

With Hargreaves, we had the bite in midfield to only leave scraps to our defence, who had little trouble maintaining calm in our area. We soaked up the pressure and our most nervous moments were only because of some bad goal keeping. (We sincerely hope that it is just a one off from Edwin.)

Patrice Evra was again outstanding, and yesterday it were his defensive qualities. The crucial tackle he made on Kuyt following EVDS’s blunder stood out. And he did cut out countless other crosses.

It certainly wasn’t exhilarating stuff as a match. But it sure was extremely nervy. But Ferdinand, especially, showed yet another instance of how important he is to the team. The bollocking he gave to EVDS was one moment of how badly he wanted this win. The way he completely took Fernando Torres out of the game, such that the Spaniard had to resort to diving, was another. And he was generally barking out instructions and words of wisdom to players all around.

It was a measure of our defensive quality that I haven’t yet mentioned our attack. Ronaldo again had a very quiet game against stronger opposition. He did send one excellent ball to Rooney, which he scuffed wide, but other than that there wasn’t anything of note. Rooney did his job of being a nuisance to the Liverpool defenders but there wasn’t much noteworthy again. Tevez, however, proved that he can deliver in the big games, just as he did for West Ham, and won everyone with his constant running, and by just being a menace — winning tackles and scoring the goal.

The title aspirations of Liverpool hinges on us, the Arse and Chelsea imploding. And that looks highly unlikely. The blues would miss their African contingent, while the Gooners would only miss Toure and Eboue. The Gooners remain our main rivals this season. They do have a challenging fixture list in the festive period, it will go a long way determining which way the race is headed.

Here’s to a productive December.