After beating Real Madrid 4-0 in the week, how can you beat that result? Well, a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford is probably the only result that could beat it.
8 goals against two of the world’s biggest teams; Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard causing mayhem for defences and back to the form of the end of last season.
It may not be enough to make winning the league possible, but it gives us a fighting chance. It also gives us huge confidence going into the final 10 games of the season.
With Xabi Alonso ruled out through injury, the much maligned Lucas Leiva stepped into his shoes, and Andrea Dossena again came on to hit the fourth goal.
But it was Torres and Gerrard who were the chief tormentors, having gone a goal behind after a rush of blood from Pepe Reina saw him take out Park and give Ronaldo the chance to put the Mancs ahead from the spot. It would have been a brave man who would have put a bet on Ronaldo to score first and Liverpool to win, but they did.
United had the better of the first five minutes but Liverpool grew into the game, enjoying possession before United’s penalty. But they hit back soon after, when Torres robbed Vidic after a long hopeful ball from Skrtel and finished when one-on-one with Van der Sar.
Just before half-time Torres and Gerrard combined to put the skipper in and Evra took him down to give Liverpool a clear penalty of their own. Gerrard put it to the keeper’s bottom left and despite Van der Sar diving the right way it was a quality penalty. 2-1. Half time.
United enjoyed much the better of possession in the second half and as you would expect attempted to throw everything at Rafa Benitez’s side, but hardly caused any real scoring oppportunities.
With 15 minutes left, Vidic – having a nightmare game – pulled down Gerrard on the edge of the box, with the skipper through on goal, it was a clear dismissal and Alan Wiley rightly sent him off. The subsequent free-kick saw Aurelio beautifully curl the ball into the top corner to make it 3-1.
With minutes left another long ball caught United out, and allowed Dossena to lift the ball over the keeper to make it 4-1 and inflict the heaviest home defeat since 1992 upon Ferguson’s team.
8 goals against Real and United inside a week. What a week.
Next Up: Aston Villa (h) Sunday, 22nd March, 4pm
Post Match Reaction:
Rafa: “We have good players, a good mentality and great character. We knew we had to win, but even after conceding we had to push forward and believe we could do it. It was a good game, but today we’ve played better.”
Gerrard: “It was magnificent, we showed great character to come from a goal down. It was quite comfortable in the end, but they did have a man less. We all played like men today. Hopefully that gives teams who play against United belief they can be beaten.”
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty: “They cannot get to the exits fast enough at Old Trafford and United simply wanted to be put of their misery. Liverpool have ripped the champions apart – and if this performance does not give them the incentive to continue carrying the fight to United nothing will.
“The turning point of the game was the brilliance of Fernando Torres, who stripped away the armour of Nemanja Vidic and gave him an horrendous afternoon. United are still title favourites – but no need to roll the credits on this one just yet.”
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick (Giggs), Anderson (Scholes), Park (Berbatov), Rooney, Tevez
Subs not used: Foster, Nani, Evans, Fletcher
Sent off: Vidic
Goal: Ronaldo (pen)
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard (El Zhar, 90), Riera (Dossena), Torres (Babel).
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Insua, Ngog, Arbeloa
Booked: Mascherano, Carragher
Goals: Torres, Gerrard (pen), Aurelio, Dossena
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)