6/3/2011 was the ides of March for Man. Utd. as Liverpool abused them wildly at Anfield. In world history, ides of March signify the death of Julius Caesar which took place on 16th. The ides of March remarked the falls of Julius Caesar from his throne when he was brutally stabbed by Brutus on that historic day. Up to now, Man. Utd. has suffered 3 defeats in 4 Premier League matches. The most humiliated defeat was against Wolves at Moulineux. At that time, Wolves sat at the bottom of the league. The win was a huge boost for them as Wolves climbed up the table for Premier League survival. Then, followed by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and recently Liverpool at Anfield.
Initially I was not interested to watch the game. Most probably because my son was admitted to hospital due to bacterial infection. Apart from that, Man. Utd. was the league leader and Liverpool was only ranked sixth on the table. Chances seemed to be very slim since Liverpool only won a game out of 3 previous games with only 2 goals in the bag. Midfields were less creative, attackers were not sharp and defenders were always in perplexity. A few months back, Liverpool was a promising side after the installation of Kenny Dalglish (King Kenny) as the team manager. The team was playing well with more structured strategies and flows. Without doubt, King Kenny was a legend and a respected figure among Liverpool faithfuls. A successful player and manager during his tenure at Liverpool which spans for almost 20 years. Winning a number of league titles and European medals made him a family member among the Liverpudlian, even though he originated from Glasgow, Scotland. But his inspiration didn't last long. A few weeks later, the team's performance went up and down. Again, I became disillusioned with King Kenny's direction.
I only realized Liverpool was playing Man. Utd. when I passed a mamak stall on my way home. I slapped my forehead. How could I forget Liverpool is playing Man. Utd. tonight??? I rushed home and quickly switched on my conventional TV. The game has already entered the 20th minute. The game seemed balanced with both teams attacking each other. Passing and move was the latest style of play installed by King Kenny. Players were running very fast since they had to pass quickly and then move up for strategic position. It all started when Soto Kyrgiakos was holding the ball. He passed it to Luis Suarez. Suarez tried to dribble past one player. He did. Then, past Michael Carrick, Man. Utd holding midfielder. Again, beating the third Man. Utd. player and now with only a goal keeper to beat. Edwin Van der Saar, the keeper went down a bit earlier and that allowed Luis Suarez to cross the ball. From nowhere, Dirk Kuyt was running for the ball and a single tap completed the encounter.
The Kop Stand roared with loyal Liverpool chants. 1-0 to Liverpool. Everybody was excited to see the goal. Liverpool went from strength to strength. Pressure keep piling and Man. Utd. players started to lose possession easily. 5 minutes later, Luis Suarez was running with the ball from the right flank. No Liverpool player was in the box. Suarez was too fast to catch. He back crossed the ball, but Nani, another prominent Man. Utd. attacker was there to meet the ball. Liverpool midfielders was still eager to snatch the ball away from Nani. Nani couldn't control the situation and head back to Edwin. Unfortunately the ball headed straight to Kuyt and with a glancing header he put the ball back in the net. Nobody expected he would score the goal. A second ago, Liverpool was just losing possession. But, with only one touch, they got the ball back and stabbed it into the net.
Now, it's 2-0 to Liverpool. It's getting more exciting and exhilarating. My eyes just couldn't run away from the TV. I can't afford to miss a single second of this match. A few minutes before the half time, Jamie Carragher, the true Liverpool player landed a horrendous tackle on Nani. Nani was screaming in pain. Players from both teams surrounded the referee. Man. Utd. players wanted a red card shown to Carragher, but Liverpool players protested. Here is the funny moment where I couldn't stop laughing even until now. Nani, all of a sudden stood up and raced to the referee. While holding his right leg, he tried to show the mark left by Carragher. Trying to win sympathy from the referee. Finally the referee gave Carragher a yellow card with warning. It was clear that Man. Utd. was not happy with the referee decision. They wanted Carragher to be punished severely. Not long after that, the match was marred with another controversial incident. It all started when Maxi Rodriguez, the Liverpool winger tried to win the ball from Rafael da Silva of Man. Utd. Maxi caught Rafael's shin but missed the ball. Rafael rushed to get the ball but he caught Lucas, the Liverpool holding midfielder with a double footed tackle. Clearly Liverpool defender, Martin Skrtel was not happy with Rafael's dangerous tackle. The referee couldn't control the situation as both parties started to push each other. In the end, Skrtel and Rafael both were given yellow cards. A minute later, the half time whistle was blown and commentators took over from the pitch.
The second half was even more interesting. Man. Utd. seemed to be more careful with their tactics. Meanwhile, Liverpool started dominating the midfields to contain Man. Utd. attacking game. Liverpool didn't have to wait long before they scored the third goal. Luis Suarez launched a free kick just outside the box and Van der Saar could only parried the ball away. Fortunately Kuyt was rushing towards the ball and again he tapped the ball into the net easily. Man. Utd. players were speechless. With 3-0 on the score sheet, it's almost impossible for Man. Utd. to beat Liverpool. Anfield Road erupted with cheers and songs. Fans are over the moon with the home team display. Never had they seen such a wonderful game like that night before. Man. Utd. players were looking depleted and hopeless. They exchanged the ball just to get rid of the game.
Later on, Liverpool introduced their most expensive striker, Andy Carroll in the 70th minute. Cheers and plauses were loudly heard around the Anfield Road. Liverpool remain composed and a few times threatened the Man. Utd. defence through Carroll and Kuyt. In the 80th minute, Carroll fed Kuyt the ball with his towering header. Unfortunately Kuyt volleyed the ball wide above the bars. This time around, Man. Utd. tried their luck by launching an attack from the right flank through Ryan Giggs, the left footed winger. Liverpool defender missed the ball only for Hernandez, the cunning Man. Utd. striker to head the ball into the net. 3-1 and Man. Utd. was saved from being humiliated. A minute after that, the final whistle was blown and the Reds were jumping in joy. It was a night to remember for me as Liverpool rarely display excellent and challenging performance against Man. Utd.
I went to bed and saw no one in the room. Only for me to realized that Nawfal and my wife were at hospital. Anyway, I might be alone that night, but the fact is "You'll Never Walk Alone". Fi amanillah
"Dan aku (Nabi Hud) tidak meminta imbalan kepadamu atas ajakan itu. Imbalanku hanyalah dari Tuhan seluruh alam" (As- Syu'ara : 127)