FA Cup: Dramatic late Dirk Kuyt winner dumps Manchester United out at Anfield
Liverpool 2-1 Man Utd
In the English version of the Old firm derby, both sides were eager to build momentum as they entered the business end of the season. Liverpool, fresh out of a successful cup clash in midweek against United’s far too noisy neighbours, rested players and gave Carroll the chance to spearhead their attack. Meanwhile, Rooney was not even in the United squad and De Gea was given an opportunity to perhaps reclaim the goalkeeping spot that his team mate, Lindegaard, prised from him earlier this season.
The match had an extra bit of hype about it due to Evra’s return to the ground where he was racially abused by Suarez. Rather disgracefully, Liverpool fans booed the Frenchman whenever he had possession of the football. It all seemed a little unfair; Evra was being booed for being racially abused.
However, the match itself was still a delectable affair, both sides simmered in the opening stages of the match, but Liverpool looked the most likely to produce the games’ opening goal. Then it came in the 21st minute, when a whipped corner from Gerrard arrived right at the heart of the United box. De Gea, who had already dealt with a corner poorly, came to punch; his path being impeded by a large clump of Liverpool players and Agger rose above his marker to head Liverpool into the lead.
United were quick to respond, piling on the pressure, Valencia looking lively down the right wing. They enjoyed 62% of possession at about the 30 minute mark, and there pressure paid dividend. Rafael, the lively fullback capitalised on some uncharacteristically shoddy defending from Enrique to deliver an astute ball into the Liverpool penalty area. Waiting like a predator, as the South Korean often does, Park was on hand to crash a half-volley low into Reina’s net, sending the visiting supporters into delirious raptures.
The game cruised on past the halfway mark, opportunities aplenty for both sides. Yet the winner came deep into the match, creating a deeper wound for the cleverest football manager ever to walk a sideline, Sir Alex Ferguson, to stitch up. A long hoof from the core of Liverpool’s side created an opening that would not have existed if Evra had remembered the most basic rule of defending; get on the right side of your man.
You could feel the thousands of Sunday league managers screaming at their television sets, lambasting Evra for his wrongdoing. Kuyt, whose last goal came against Brighton in September, was through to rocket the ball smoothly past the slapdash keeping of De Gea. The kop went wild, and King Kenny’s cavaliers stormed into the 6th round of the FA Cup.