—END OF LOAD TAG—>
|Edwin van der Sar|
|Ji-Sung Park (Paul Scholes, 87)|
|Luis Carlos Nani (Ryan Giggs, 79)|
|Luis Antonio Valencia|
|Jose Manuel Reina|
|Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez (Ryan Babel, 76)|
|Leiva Lucas (Yossi Benayoun, 83)|
|Dirk Kuyt (Alberto Aquilani, 73)|
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1: Park's brave diving header on the hour mark gives United victory and Rooney had cancelled out Torres' opener for Liverpool.
Agger fires a cross left-footed wildly from the left-hand side high into the stands. Goal-kick to United and it looks like the champions will hold on.
There will be five minutes of added time for Liverpool to rescue this game.
Wonderful chance for Liverpool. Gerrard pulls the ball back for Torres who scuffs his shot straight into the air from the penalty spot. the ball falls to Benayoun who has a header from 6 yards, but he puts it straight at Van der Sar.
Manchester United substitution: Park comes off to a rousing reception from the Old Trafford faithful to be replaced by Scholes.
Rooney twists and turns his way into the penatly area. He moves the ball inside of Carragher onto his right foot, but he drags his shot wide of the near post.
United have given away easy possesion several times in the last few minutes and it's encouraging some pressure from a Liverpool side who have done little themselves as an attacking force this second half.
United are starting to become a little wasteful in possession and they're sitting a bit deeper as Liverpool start to press forward.
Liverpool substitution: Final throw of the dice for Benitez who brings on Benayoun for Lucas.
Johnson cuts inside and makes some space for the overlapping Macherano. He tees him up for the cross, but it's well overhit and goes safely away for a throw-in on the far side.
Torres gets on the end of a long ball on the corner of the United area, but Ferdinand does well to clear.
Manchester United substitution: Ryan Giggs makes his return from injury in place of Nani.
United are just trying to keep a bit of possession and take the sting out of the game going into this final 10 minutes.
Liverpool substitution: Maxi Rodriguez comes off for Babel.
Rooney holds the ball up well 35 yards from goal. He cuts on to his right and tries to chip the ball over Reina, but it goes well over. He had a great option in Valencia on the right.
Liverpool substitution: First change of the afternoon and on comes Aquilani to replace Dirk Kuyt.
Vidic goes through the back of Torres and receives a yellow card for his troubles.
Good pressure from United. Nani plays the ball inside to Evra, who shoots from the edge of the area, but it's charged down and Liverpool clear.
The game is just opening up a little with Liverpool having to commit men in attacking positions and you get the impression we've not yet seen the end of the scoring this afternoon.
Long ball forward down the right for Valencia. It looks like he's just going to get to the ball first but slides on through into the advertising boards as the ball runs out of play for a goal-kick.
Fletcher and Kuyt tangle and it looks like the Scotsman may have just kicked out a little at Kuyt. It was right under the nose of the referee who wants a word with both men.
Agger strikes at goal with his left foot from 25 yards, but it goes way off target and high into the stands.
Evra challenges for a header on the half-way line and just stays down for a moment and after like he landed awkwardly.
Neville challenges Maxi Rodriguez who takes a high boot in the head and needs some treatment from the physio.
Half chance for Torres, but the ball just wouldn't drop in time. Gerrard does well down the right. He crosses for Torres, who gets to the ball first but can't get his shot away before Ferdinand clear.
Valencia receives a yellow card.
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1: Park dives in bravely to head home Fletcher's right-wing cross from 6 yards.
The game has just become a bit scrappy in this past few minutes.
Giggs is limbering up on the touchline and it looks like it may not be long before United make their first change.
Decent break from United with Park, Rooney and Nani involved. Rooney tries to pick out Valencia unmarked at the far post, with a cross from the left, but he underhits it and Liverpool clear.
Rooney hits a beautiful cross-field pass to Valencia. He rolls it back for Neville to cross, but it's overhit and Reina watches it away for a goal-kick at the far post.
Park does well to work an opening on the edge of the area, but he shoots with his weaker left foot and it doesn't have the power to trouble Reina who gathers comfortably.
Nani takes on Johnson on the left. The Liverpool man holds him off and United win a free-kick 25 yards from goal out on the left.
Rooney plays Nani in down the left. He gets towards the edge of the area and tries to cross with the outside of his right foot, but he only finds the first defender and the chance is gone.
Carrick brings down Torres 10 yards inside the United half and Liverpool load the box ready to swing the ball in. Gerrard takes, but it's headed clear.
United get the second half started looking for the win that would continue their title charge.
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 1: The first half has really flown by. It's been an entertaining encounter so far, with little to choose between the sides. Torres gave Liverpool the lead on 5 minutes, but Rooney drew United level.
Rooney curls it over the wall to Reina's right, but the Liverpool keeper gets down low to make a comfortable save.
Fletcher is fouled 25 yards from goal and central. The referee initially plays the advantage, but it's brought back. Yellow card for Carrager and a really dangeorus moment for the visitor to survive right on half-time.
Gerrard gets possession 35 yards from goal. He tries to play the ball beyond the United defence for Lucas, but the pass is very poor and straight to Van der Sar.
There will be two added minutes at the end of the first half.
Torres finds half a yard inside the area and crosses low from the right, but Van der Sar dives down to his right and cuts the cross out.
Evra runs at the Liverpool defence. He tries to play in Nani, but the pass is poor and the attack breaks down. It's been pretty much the story of the half. Lots of good United possession. Dangerous to the final third, but little end product.
Mascherano brings Park down 40 yards from goal as United look to break. It's a free-kick to United.
Evra crosses deep from the left. Park rises highest to head towards goal, but it's safely wide of the far post.
Rooney has found himself on the scoresheet again, but United have really struggled to get the ball forward tohim in the last 10-15 minutes.
Liverpool win possession 40 yards out on the right. Kuyt tries to find the forward run of Torres, but Ferdinand reads the danger and comes across to shield the ball out for a goal-kick.
United have enjoyed a lot of possession in the last few minutes, but Liverpool have sat tight, made it difficult for United to create any openings and the ball has ended up being caught back up in the midfield.
Carrick finds Nani one-on-one with Johnson on the left. The winger cuts in on his right foot and crosses, but again it's straight into the arms of Reina.
Valencia gets dispossessed cutting in off the right flank and Liverpool look to build their own attack. Liverpool have done well so far to keep both the United wide players largely quiet.
It's been a really frantic pace to the first half hour. Both sides are really contributing to an exicting game.
Nani drives at goal from just inside the Liverpool half. He gets to 30 yards unchallenged and fires low and right-footed at the near post. It has Reina scrambling, but the Liverpool keeper gets a hand to it and turns it round for a corner.
Nani crosses right-footed from the left, but he can't pick anyone out and the ball runs through to Reina in the Liverpool goal.
Torres brings down Park on the half-way line. It doesn't look a bad foul, but the Liverpool frontman has been fired up ever since the penalty decision and he receives a yellow card.
Great chance for United. Park plays the ball wide on the right to Valencia in space. He works a yard from Insua for the cross and Park finds himself with unmarked 8 yards out, but his header is off target at the far post.
Liverpool enjoy some decent possession inside the United half. Kuyt turns Evra too easily 10 yards inside the United half and finds Torres on the right. He crosses early but Ferdinand puts it behind for a corner.
Evra bursts forward on the left. He plays it inside to Park on the edge of the area, but his touch is poor and Liverpool clear.
Nani works space on the left for a pass, but his attempt to find Rooney finds the first Liverpool defender. It's been a really quiet start for the Portuguese winger.
Almost a break from Liverpool. Kuyt played it inside to Gerrard. He tries to find Torres inside the area, but Van der Sar rushes out to smother in the nick of time.
United work the ball well from right to left looking for an opening, but Liverpool press the ball well and force United back.
Rooney picks the ball up in space 45 yards from goal. He tries to feed Nani, who was bursting beyond the full-back, but the pass was too heavy and it goes through to Reina.
It looks like this could get pretty fiery. We've got the Liverpool players furious that the penalty was awarded as they felt the challenge was outside the box. The United players feel Mascherano should have seen red.
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 1: Rooney goes to Reina's left. Reina gets across to save, but the ball rebounds straight to Rooney who tucks it away for the equaliser.
Mascherano receives a yellow card for the pull back on Valencia.
Valencia goes beyond Mascherano and gets just inside the area. The Liverpool man pulls him back and Howard Webb points to the spot.
Torres takes on Vidic on the right hand side. It looks for a second that he might get beyond the United defender, but the Serbian just manages to put it behind for a corner.
Rooney works space to shoot from 20 yards, but he drags his right-foot effort wide of Reina's right-hand post.
Carragher flies into the back of Rooney on the half-way line. It's a free-kick for United. Rooney is furious at the referee that there is no yellow card for that challenge.
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 1: Kuyt gets free on the right and digs out a fantastic cross for an unmarked Torres to head into the far corner from 6 yards.
First decent passage of play from either side. Rooney gets the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the area. He turns at plays in Fletcher on the left. He cuts it back but Liverpool clear.
It's been a pretty high tempo opening to the match, wih a cracking atmosphere. Both sides are finding it hard to get any controlled possession.
Rooney drives towards the Liverpool goal trying to find space for a shot, but Lucas dispossesses him 35 yards from goal.
It's been a decent early start for the home side. All of the opening minute and a half has been played inside the Liverpool half.
The visitors get this first half underway.
To add to this, Liverpool have not won in the last five league games on the road and have lost two of the last three.
The champions are also boasting a strong defensive record. It's been 699 minutes since they last conceded at home in the League when Agbonlahor scored for Aston Villa on the 12th December.
Despite Wayne Rooney's goalscoring form this season he's not had a great record against Liverpool - just one goal from 14 attempts. United have, however, scored 26 goals in their last seven league outings at Old Trafford.
Liverpool are the only side to have recorded four successive Premier League victories over today's opponents. A win today and they would equal this feat.
Liverpool claimed the reverse fixture with a 2-0 victory earlier in the season and also recorded a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford 53 weeks ago in last season's game. United, however, went on to claim the title and equal Liverpool's 18 championship wins.
Liverpool will be encourage by Torres' return to form, finding the net twice in midweek against Lille. He has proved a tough customer for Vidic in this fixture and the United defender has seen red in each of the last three meetings between the sides.
Meanwhile Riera is left out for the visitors after his "sinking ship" comments. Aquilani is only on the bench after struggling with sickness and Aurelio and Skrtel both miss out through injury.
United are boosted by the return of Ryan Giggs from injury and he is on the bench for the home team. Owen Hargreaves also returned to action in the reserves on Thursday, but he's still some way off featuring in first team action.
After Arsenal's 2-0 victory against West Ham on Saturday the title race is really heating up. United need at least a point to return to the top of the table, whilst Liverpool now sit four points off 4th spot..
Liverpool team line-up: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard, Maxi, Torres
Manchester United team line-up: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park, Nani, Rooney
Man Utd face Liverpool at 1:30pm on Sunday, March 21st.
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