Results tagged “Manchester United” from Liverpool FC News, Discussion & Debate | Liverpool Banter

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If the first month of 2011 is anything to go by, Liverpool Football Club are in for an eventful year. Since the introduction of transfer windows, January has become one of the most important months of the football calendar but few clubs would have had as much New Year drama as Liverpool have had.

Last minute winners, disastrous defending and a change of manager followed by a controversial F.A Cup loss at Old Trafford, a thrilling Merseyside Derby and a goal of the season contender in a textbook away victory, wouldn't look out of place on the back cover of a season review DVD, yet this has all happened in just over three weeks.

It has been anything but a slow start to 2011 and that's before mentioning the transfer pursuits of the pantomime villain of last years World Cup, currently suspended for biting an opponent and the star midfielder of newly promoted minnows who have recently just completed a league double over the Reds.

Valencia dived for crucial penalty, says Rafa Benitez

UNHAPPY Rafael Benitez accused Antonio Valencia of taking a dive to earn a pivotal penalty as Liverpool's hopes of Champions League qualification suffered another hammer blow.

Manchester United 2 Liverpool FC 1 - Ian Doyle's match report

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Only last month Liverpool found themselves deep into injury time and up against the wall attempting to get something out of the game away to Arsenal. Liverpool were awarded a free kick outside the Arsenal box, Gerrard sends the ball over the wall only for Fabregas on the edge of the penalty area to deliberately handle it and referee Howard Webb, a few yards away, dismisses an obvious penalty and Liverpool lose the game. (Here's the link to the post I wrote about that incident. Click Here.)

Yesterday at Old Trafford Webb was at it again. Liverpool got off to a roaring start and had taken a deserved lead through an excellent Fernando Torres header. Things were looking good. Several minutes later, however, Valencia gets the ball and heads toward the 18 yard box only to be fouled by Mascherano a few feet outside the box but due to his momentum ends up falling inside the penalty area. Once again Webb made another critical ruling against Liverpool and judged the foul to have been committed inside the box and awards United a penalty which got them back into the game both from a scoring and, more importantly, a psychological point of view.

Would United have still gone on to win the game had the penalty not been given? I'm not so sure. They had the better of the play in the second half but the penalty changed the game and robbed Liverpool of the upper hand and the momentum they had created. Had Liverpool been able to frustrate United deeper into the 1st half and gone in at half-time 1-0 up we may have seen a different outcome. Poor decisions like this completely change the complexion of a match and that's exactly what happened at Old Trafford.

During an after match interview Benitez refused to make too many comments about the penalty decision but clearly felt that United getting level so quickly after Liverpool had taken the lead was a major blow and changed the game.

Let's hope Liverpool have seen the last of Howard Webb for a long time to come.

Barry also writes a blog called LFC Talk - click here to visit

IN A fashion so timely you'd think I planned it, Rafa Benitez turned out Liverpool FC's second team - or a version of it - at Leeds United in the Carling Cup.

As I write this, I don't know what that team was, but I had already chosen a second team of my own, as part of an experiment.

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Because we always hear that Liverpool's squad isn't strong enough - that as good as the first 11 is, the second 11 will let the Reds down.

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