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Liverpool 2 United 1: Kuyt Strikes Late

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A late Dirk Kuyt strike ensured Manchester United suffered heartbreak at Anfield as Liverpool moved onto the fifth round of the FA Cup after a hard-fought encounter.

Anfield is never an easy place to go and with Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Nani all absent as well with Rio Ferdinand only just about making the bench, it made the challenge even more difficult for United.

Patrice Evra as expected was captaining United showing that the laughable rumours coming out of Merseyside about Sir Alex Ferguson not selecting him in the wake of his row with Luis Suarez being complete and utter rubbish at that.

Antonio Valenica has been outstanding recently and he almost put United ahead after 17 minutes but saw a stunning shot after bursting past Jose Enrique hit Pepe Reina’s right-hand post with the Spanish goalkeeper well beaten.

It was a fortunate break for Liverpool who four minutes later took the lead themselves when Daniel Agger headed past the helpless David De Gea in a crowded six-yard box from a Steven Gerrard corner to send Anfield wild.

De Gea starting surprisingly in goal ahead of Anders Lindegaard was trapped from the ball by Andy Carroll as Agger got up above Evra to head the ball past the goalkeeper with the ball deflecting in off the Spaniard’s head for further measure.

Liverpool fans thinking that after going ahead that their team would dominate the game were proved wrong as United despite not creating any clear-cut chances kept hold of the ball well, making sure that the hosts didn’t take complete control after going ahead. 

Six minutes before half-time United equalised when Rafael stormed down the right skipping past the in-form Jose Enrique with ease before cutting the ball back into the area for Park Ji-Sung to shoot past Reina at his near post.

United upped the tempo after the break but were fortunate to perhaps escape conceding a penalty when Chris Smalling failed to clear properly with the ball striking the defender’s hand as he made his clearance whilst on the floor.

Referee Mark Halsey’s decision not to award Liverpool a penalty almost proved to be a n even more controversial one as within a minute Welbeck beat Reina to a loose ball only for Martin Skrtel to clear the ball away denying United from going ahead.

Just after the hour-mark, Kenny Dalglish made a double change which ultimatly would engineer the game back into the home side’s control brining on Charlie Adam and Kuyt with Maxi Lopez and Jamie Carragher going off.

Despite the introduction of Javier Hernandez 14 minutes from time for Paul Scholes, United couldn’t force a winner which Liverpool got as Kuyt fired home a low shot past De Gea after Carroll knocked down a Reina goalkick.

There was no time for United to force a second equalsier which would have grabbed a replay back at Old Trafford. As much as the result hurts, Stoke City at home coming up in the league represents a fine opportunity to bounce back and get on-form

United: De Gea, Evra, Evans, Smalling, Rafael, Giggs (Berbatov), Park, Carrick, Scholes (Hernandez), Valencia, Welbeck.

Star Man

Whilst Patrice Evra’s performance giving what he had to put up with the hostility of the Anfield crowd was exceptional bar his slight error in not keeping with Dirk Kuyt for the winner, Rafael was outstanding and proved why many inside Old Trafford believe he has the future to a regular for Brazil. His run for Park’s goal was great and his commitment as ever was there to see.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87