David Moyes and Manchester United needed a result tonight, and thank heavens we got one. Javier Hernandez scored the only goal of a close North-Western encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool, in a game where the hosts made eight changes to the side that lost away at Manchester City.
The only survivors were David de Gea, Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney, and in came Nani, Chicharito, Rafael and Jonny Evans for their first starts of the season. The big news from the Liverpool camp was that Luis Suarez returned to the starting line-up.
Right from the off both teams showed their attacking intent. Rafael’s impact became clear for all to see, he offers us that much needed width from the right-back position and he put it to excellent use linking up with Nani early on. Width was obviously going to be a key part of United’s play, and Nani kept putting the crosses into the right areas to no real joy.
As the half went on, Liverpool grew into the game more and more. Sturridge began to link up with Suarez, but the visitors struggled to create any real opportunities for themselves. Steven Gerrard was at the receiving end of the United fans chants, as was Luis Suarez as the Old Trafford Faithful chanted ‘your teeth are offside’ to the pesky Uruguayan.
The second half started with a bang. Javier Hernandez shinned home Rooney’s excellent corner and United were in front within a matter of seconds. Chicharito’s celebration shown just what it meant to him, as he went wild in front of the Stretford End. The goal seemed to calm United down, and the passes, creativity and composure began to flow throughout the side.
Phil Jones won every 50/50 ball, every tackle, and every header. Wayne Rooney was all over the park and Nani looked threatening from out wide. Manchester United just seemed to want it more.
Shinji Kagawa was unlucky not to have doubled United’s lead as the game went on, his fiercely struck shot rattled off the bar. At least the intent was there from the Japanese star, and this was appreciated by the crowd.
Then we were given a reminder as to how slender 1-0 leads can be. Luis Suarez rattled the bar with an effort of his own.
The game finished 1-0, and Moyes’ relief was clear for all to see at the full-time whistle. He celebrated as if he were a fan in the stands which was excellent to see, as it shown just how much it meant to him.