Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Birthday Gift Fit for A King: Liverpool 3 - 1 Manchester United

Kenny Dalglish, Coach of Liverpool, turned 60 on Friday March 4, 2011, but he couldn't unwrap the gift he most wanted until Sunday when his team beat Manchester United, 3-1, at Anfield. It was a hat trick from Dirk Kuyt that gave Liverpool the win, with United's only goal coming in stoppage time from Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

When the new American owners of Liverpool replaced Roy Hodgson with Kenneth Dalglish this past January, the move was well received by the Liverpool fans who had been clamoring for the return of King Kenny, but many observers wondered if Dalglish's long absence from the coaching ranks of top flight English football would be a hurdle preventing any real progress by Liverpool either on the pitch or on the table. Dalglish made his return to the Liverpool sideline on January 9th, when the team lost 1-0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup. Dalglish's first Premiere League match was against Blackpool, which Liverpool lost 3-1. The new Dalglish Era at Liverpool was off to a rocky start, but things turned around, and coming into today's match with Manchester United, Liverpool, under Dalglish's coaching, has picked up 14 points in the Premier League, only losing one more match, which was to Wigan last week.

Now that the squad and the Dalglish transfers, Andy Carroll and Luis Suárez, had several matches under their collective belt, Sunday's match with Manchester United would be a good a moment to measure how far the new Liverpool had come since their FA loss to Sir Alex Ferguson's side back in January.

The match started a bit slow, but Liverpool, led by Suárez, Raul Meireles, and Dirk Kuyt, went on to dominate the match, showing that Dalglish still has what it takes to coach in the EPL.

Liverpool's first goal came in the 34th minute after a beautiful dribble by Suárez set up Kuyt's first goal:

The Liverpool fans barely had time to stop celebrating the first goal when, in the 39th minute, United's Nani made the mistake of heading the ball back into the box right to Kuyt:

The absence of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was strongly felt in the 65th minute when Kuyt picked up his third goal after Edwin Van De Saar mistake on a Suárez free kick:

It wasn't until stoppage time that Manchester United managed to pick up a consolation goal and prevent Liverpool from earning a clean sheet at United's expense. The goal came from Mexican national Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez:

At one point during the match, the Liverpool fans serenaded Dalglish with a round of "Happy Birthday:"

Ferguson placed a media blackout on his side following the loss, but Dalglish took time to talk to the press:

Despite Sunday's resounding victory over Manchester United, Liverpool has no real hope of winning the league; however, this victory is a sign that Liverpool is on the right track and will likely find themselves back in Europe next season. Meanwhile, United's loss has loosened its hold on the top of the table giving Arsenal an opening to challenge the Red Devils for the title.

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