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Manchester United ended their Anfield hoodoo in controversial circumstances as they beat Liverpool 2-1 on an emotional day in Merseyside. If there were any doubts about Liverpoolâ€™s ability to rise to the occasion after the splendid Hillsborough tribute, they were comprehensively answered as the Reds made a storming start to the 1st half against a sub-par United. But just as they were beginning to turn the screw, Jonjo Shelvey lost the plot as he lunged into Jonny Evans with both feet off the air and referee Mark Halsay promptly showed him the red card as Liverpool were down to ten men six minutes before the break.
But Steven Gerrard put them ahead a minute into the 2nd half as he ghosted into the box to strike a left-footed volley into the bottom corner. Liverpoolâ€™s lead last only five minutes as Rafael Da Silva struck an even sweeter left-footed strike at the other end, curling the ball into the far corner from the right. The referee was the cynosure once again on 76 minutes as he harshly penalized Glen Johnson for clipping the heels of Antonio Valencia, with the replays indicating that the defender had made little or no contact. Robin van Persie then stepped up to end Unitedâ€™s atrocious run of poor penalties as turned in the spot-kick to seal the game. Liverpool remain winless in the league, languishing in 18th place, while 2nd placed United are a point behind Chelsea at the top. Â (Full Match Report)
Pepe Reina: 6/10
The Spaniard could do nothing about the first goal while he got a strong hand to the penalty. He didnâ€™t have too many saves to make otherwise.
Marin Kelly: 5/10
The right-back was up against the ineffective Nani in the 1st half and with Giggs cutting in-field in the 2nd, he wasnâ€™t under great pressure.
Martin Skrtel: 6/10
Neither Liverpool centre-back was under the cosh against a lifeless United attack, with Skrtel enjoying a comfortable afternoon.
Daniel Agger: 5/10
Aggerâ€™s mistake allowed Valencia to race through for the penalty and he suffered a bad injury in the process.
Glen Johnson: 5/10
Johnson bombed forward regularly on the left flank as Valencia had a surprisingly quiet game, although he lost out to the Ecuadorian at a vital moment in the 2nd half, which led to the penalty.
Steven Gerrard: 7/10
The Liverpool captain was heavily involved in the 1st half and fittingly scored the opener with a sublime finish.
Joe Allen: 7/10
Allen was equally impressive in midfield as he kept Liverpool ticking and rarely lost possession throughout the game.
Jonjo Shelvey: 4/10
The youngsterâ€™s impressive performance in mid-week was seen as a springboard for bigger things, but instead he faces a three-match suspension after his poor challenge.
Fabio Borini: 4/10
The forward got into great positions but as always his touch deserted him and was substituted at half-time with an ankle injury.
Raheem Sterling: 6/10
The youngest player to ever play in this fixture, Sterling gave a great account himself in the 1st half giving Evra a torrid time on the right.
Luis Suarez: 7/10
Liverpoolâ€™s brightest spark in attack, the Uruguayan was full of running and forced Lindegaard into a fine save in the 2nd half.
The young Spaniard made an impressive debut when he came on for Borini, playing a part in the opening goal and also warming the keeperâ€™s fingers with a fine striker.
Jordan Henderson: 4/10
The midfielder made a rare appearance as Rodgers decided to beef up the midfield midway through the 2nd half, but didnâ€™t have the expected impact.
Jamie Carragher: 4/10
The veteran replaced the injured Agger with ten minutes to go.
Anders Lindegaard: 7/10
The Dane showcased his big match mettle with a slew of fine saves and looks to be Sir Alexâ€™s Number one for the big games at least.
Rafael da Silva: 6/10
The Brazilian took his goal wonderfully and was a timely equalizer too as it allowed United to build on that platform. He was alert in defence and even managed to clear a few headers away.
Rio Ferdinand: 7/10
He was Unitedâ€™s best player, constantly making the right decisions in tight situations and although he had a few hairy moments against Suarez, was generally in control.
Jonny Evans: 7/10
Evans came in for the injured Nemanja Vidic and was a stable presence alongside Ferdinand, although he didnâ€™t endear himself to the home fans after his part in the sending off.
Patrice Evra: 5/10
The Frenchman was given the run around by Sterling in the 1st half but regained a semblance of composure in the 2nd period.
Michael Carrick: 6/10
He struggled in the 1st period, but played an important role in the decisive moments in the 2nd half as helped United keep the ball.
Ryan Giggs: 5/10
The United captain on the day had a poor outing as he was over-run in the 1st half and even after being moved to the left he had an anonymous afternoon.
Unitedâ€™s worst player by a mile, the Portuguese had a shocker of a 1st half and was deservedly hauled off at the break.
Antonio Valencia: 5/10
He won the penalty, but did little apart from that as he had a quiet day on the right-wing.
Shinji Kagawa: 4/10
The Japanese star was closed down quickly whenever he received the ball and on the whole was hustled out of the game.
Robin van Persie: 5/10
Unitedâ€™s star frontman was an isolated figure for most of the game and he was guilty of some heavy touches too, although he successfully converted the winning penalty.
Paul Scholes: 5/10
The veteran didnâ€™t have the expected influence, although his presence did improve Unitedâ€™s ability to keep the ball.
Javier Hernandez: 3/10
A late substitute for Kagawa, the Mexican had little time to stretch the Liverpool defence.
Danny Welbeck: N/A
The youngster came on for Rafael with a minute of normal time remaining.
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