Ferguson furious after Man Utd's controversial win over Liverpool
Ever tough to please Sir Alex Ferguson was left annoyed by his side’s showing at an emotional Anfield.
That Fergie was slightly furious having seen two vital decisions go Manchester United’s way might baffle some.
A Rafael strike cancelled out Steven Garrard’s opener before a Robin van Persie penalty nine minutes from time netted the three points for the visitors. But the United boss is never less than demanding, and having seen his side struggle to beat a 10-man Liverpool he was left to criticise his team’s patchy performance.
“It is a great result for us but we did not play well,” Ferguson admitted. “In the first half Liverpool dominated us, in the second half we had better possession but they had 10 men, we can’t take great credit for that.
“But a win is a win, we are pleased with the result, but not the performance.” It was the first match played at Anfield since the Hillsborough Report cleared Liverpool’s fans of blame for the deaths of 96 of their number at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final and revealed the huge cover-up that followed. And both teams came together before the match in a poignant display of unity to remember those who died that tragic day.
However, that proved to be the clam before the storm. As ever with battles between these two fierce rivals the match was intense from the off, with Liverpool proving the emotional nature of the clash wasn’t going to get to them.
The Reds dominated until the moment that turned the match. With 39 minutes gone and the ball there to be won, Jonjo Shelvey lunged over the top of the ball and caught the oncoming Jonny Evans. For his trouble he was sent off and from then on United had a foothold on the game.
However, Liverpool regrouped and went ahead straight after half-time through Steven Gerrard’s volley. It was no less than both the Reds and their inspirational skipper deserved.
United hit back after 51 minutes through Rafael’s curler before the final piece of controversy that gave the visitors the win. Antonio Valencia was free in the box and about to shoot when Glen Johnson clumsily challenged him from behind to gift United a penalty.
And even though Pepe Reina got a hand to the ball Van Persie made no mistake from 12 yards to keep Liverpool in the relegation zone. The Reds are winless from five but while he was annoyed by the sending off, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers saw enough to predict much better things from his side in the future.
“The performance level up to 65 minutes or so was outstanding,” he said. “It all bodes well for us going forward, we just need to turn good performances into results.”