Manchester United 3 Liverpool 2: Berbatov Hat Trick Greater Than Gerrard Double

19 September 2010

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov (L) scores the second goal for his side. (Credit Image: © Action Images/
Dimitar Berbatov showed why Manchester United paid thirty million pounds for him as his hat trick was the difference in a 3-2 win at Old Trafford over Liverpool that also included a Steven Gerrard double.

The first half was one way traffic of a most frightening order. Liverpool opened trying to get some of the ball. However, as the first half wore on, Liverpool conceded to simply defending. From Manchester United's early offerings, it was easy to understand why. After an early corner was headed well over the crossbar, Nani's effort in the sixteenth was bottled from seven yards. Another wasted effort by Scholes off a set piece showed the lack of United bite. Liverpool's only first half chance came in the twenty-fifth when Glen Johnson's effort off a short corner was well wide of the frame of goal.

Manchester United's opener three minutes before halftime was just reward for the dominance on offer. In fairness, it wasn't the best corner kick in the world, as it appeared to miss it's intended target running near post. However, all the credit should be given to Berbatov, who was perfectly placed to simply head the ball past the near post. Fernando Torres had no shot of getting to it, and then went on to beat the outstretched arm of Paul Konchesky, who should have been on the post in the first place.

The second half continued the United dominance. On the hour, their dominance was rewarded with a second. Fletcher's cross from the wing appeared to overshoot it's intended target of Wayne Rooney. However, in the movement, the entire Liverpool defense crashed on Rooney. It gave Berbatov all the time to settle the ball on his thigh before completing the move with an overhead kick as Jamie Carragher watched on. For all of Manchester United's dominance, a 2-0 lead was just.

After that, the game completely changed. Three minutes after taking the two-goal lead, Jonny Evans stupidly took out Fernando Torres legs. He gave Howard Webb no choice but to point to the spot, and Steven Gerrard easily got Van der Sar to guess wrongly. However, seven minutes later, Howard Webb bottled it. A though ball sent onto Fernando Torres's direction didn't have the opportunity to be completed as John O'Shea decided it would be a better idea to take him down as the pass came in. In my opinion, it was the denial of a goal scoring opportunity. Torres would have been 1 on 1 with Van der Sar, and the Manchester United keeper did not look interested in coming out for that. Steven Gerrard finished the sequence off the free kick by putting the ball in the space Darren Fletcher moved from in the wall.

The game deserved a winner, and Manchester United justly got it five minutes from time. John O'Shea's cross found the hot head of Berbatov who put it near post. Carragher was more than second best to the cross, and didn't have a chance to defend it.

Obviously Sir Alex can't be happy with yet another 2 goal lead being thrown away. However, I'm sure he'll be happy that Dimitar Berbatov is starting to show the talent that caused Manchester United to fork out the money for him. While many will say Wayne Rooney had a 'quiet day', I don't think you can call it all that quiet. His movement forced Liverpool into doing more defending than they would have liked to, and left Berbatov more space to take his chances.

Liverpool should have started David N'Gog from the off. It was only when he entered the match did Liverpool start to show any attacking bite. However, their defending on the day was simply pathetic. You would have thought that after his first, or even his second goal, Liverpool would have attempted to mark Berbatov better. Jamie Carragher was nothing more than a spectator on Berbatov's second and third goal.

And finally, I have to ask this: what would have happened had John O'Shea been sent off? I don't think Manchester Untied would have won the game, but the game would have ended 2-2. Remember, it was O'Shea's cross in that provided the service on the game winner.


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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