IT’S HERE. THE fixture that almost half of Irish football fans look to when the Premier League fixtures come out.
Brendan Rogers’ resurgent Liverpool host David Moyes and an Manchester United side still looking to find their feet after a seismic shift at the top.
Final score at the foot of the liveblog.
12.56 – Good afternoon and welcome to the first leg of a hectic day of live sport here on TheScore.ie.
I’ll be bringing you live updates from the big game in Anfield and, later, we’ll have extensive coverage of Arsenal v Spurs. But don’t worry, we won’t be missing a beat from Croke Park either.
Are you all strapped in? Right, we’re off.
13.08 – Danny Welbeck was also talking to SkySports there, says he’s been playing in these games since he was nine. ‘Going to combat’, he calls it.
13.01 – First things first, team news. And the rumours of Wayne Rooney missing out on this trip through injury have proved true.
The wantaway striker reportedly suffered a head wound in training yesterday. Ryan Giggs starts in his place.
Here’s the team-sheet:
13.03 – About Rooney, Moyes tells SkySports: !He got a cut down the middle of his forehead. It’ll probably keep him out for a month.”
13.38 – Another chance for the visitors.
Ryan Giggs’ free-kick from deep is headed back to the edge of the six-yard box, Van Persie manages to fashion a bicycle kick from the dropping ball, but he can only flash the effort a metre over the bar.
Quite a good game, this.
13.26 – The teams are on the field.
13.30 – As ever, Anfield’s salute to its past heroes is terrific.
David Moyes joins in the minutes applause in front of these banners.
13.32 – KICK-OFF: Manchester United get the game under way and immediately create an opening. Patrice Evra bombs down the elft and manages to swing a dangerous cross in.
Welbeck narrowly misses contact and Giggs cannot find a target on the follow up.
13.34 – GOAL! Liverpool 1 – 0 Man Utd (Sturridge ’3)
Ashley Young gets himself caught in possession and United are fortunate to only concede a corner. From there, though, the in-swinger is met with a powerful header from Daniel Agger and Sturridge shows brilliant reflexes to stoop and flick the header into the roof of the net.
13.41 – Overrun in midfield for the early portions, United manage to weave some pretty patterns. The move ends with Danny Welbeck driving a low, left-footed shot straight at Mignolet.
At the other end, Gerrard fires in a similar effort with his right. Comfortable saves for all.
13.58 – That’s more like it. Liverpool put a neat move together and Johnson manages to win a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
Gerrard curls i towards the bottom corner, but DeGea holds firm.
13.45 – An absoluely massive let-off for the hosts as a corner comes in from the United left. Welbeck’s touch in the six-yard area takes the ball slightly behind RVP, who ends up looking foolish, mis-kicking a chance from no distance
13.47 – Manchester United growing in strength now and creating more chances. Welbeck again at the heart of it as he steps by Skrtel, but Glen Johnson comes over to get a block on the shot from inside the area.
13.50 – 20 minutes in, but already worrying familiar pattern for Manchester United fans.
Just like Monday night, they’ve enjoyed some possession in the final third, but they just can’t scythe open the defence enough to make a difference on the scoreboard.
13.51 – Ah, beautiful play from Coutinho. Weaves in and out of Ryan Giggs and RVP (not the greatest defenders before drawing a free.
13.57 – Liverpool have emerged from their post-goal spell of sitting back and the game’s tempo has dropped with United’s passing accuracy.
Michael Carrick will blame an unfortunately placed referee for one move breaking down, but long balls in behind the defence have been a feature of the last few minutes for both sides.
14.00 – Jordan Henderson nutmegs Evra, the Kop’ll love that one. United looking a little lost out there at the minute, but Liverpool aren’t currently hell-bent on making them pay.
14.14 – Michael Carrick joins Van Persie in the book, terrific work-rate from Rogers’ Reds is choking the life out of United’s midfield.
14.06 – 32 mins: An over-hit Van Persie cross signals the start of another spell of useful possession for the final third.
Again, the struggle to find away through and after Jones lobs an aimless cross into the area (and the defender crumples up injured after an awkward landing) Liverpool counter and win a free kick as Cleverley cuts down Coutinho.
The English midfielder complains that the reds played on while Jones was down. Dangerous place for a Steven Gerrard set-piece…
14.07 – … but it’s not Gerrard, it’s Coutinho who swipes a curling shot over the wall and higher over the bar.
14.09 – Substitution: Phil Jones’ game lasts 37 minutes thanks to that awkward landing as Aspas nudged him mid-leap. Antonio Valencia takes up the duty at right back.
14.11 – Van Persie let’s his frustration out for all to see. He’s booked for leaving a high(ish) foot as Skrtel attempted to clear. The United striker was probably aggrieved at having been denied a free-kick along the edge of the Liverpool box seconds before.
14.17 – Ryan Giggs sums the whole mess up for United two awful, awful passes off his left foot in the space of 60 seconds. That’s not like the old man.
United attack in the dying moments of the half…
14.49 – Danny Welbeck with a very, very half-hearted (quarter-hearted maybe) shout for a penalty.
Never had control of the ball but hoped contact on the by-line would result in a massive gift. It didn’t.
The game is in he melting pot now, but are United still struggling to fashion any meaningful openings. Ashley Young is the latest to enter the book.
Substitution: Aspas’ race is run, here comes Raheem Sterling.
14.19 – With Van Persie on a yellow, Skrtel and Gerrard made it a mission to goad him towards another.
Pretty harmless meeting between the defender and the striker in the area. Called for a word with the referee, Stevie G Joins in he antagonism.
HALF TIME: Liverpool 1 – 0 Man United
14.30 – A really good half of football, but goals are still at a premium in the Premier League this weekend.
Simple question, folks: who will win from here?
14.34 – The teams are out, here comes the second half.
LIverpool get us under way and they will attack the Kop End.
14.37 – Ashley Young is fouled on the left wing, wants more than a free, but no further punishment.
Initially free kick is lumped aimlessly at the edge of the area, but Untied follow up and force a corner… which Young hits past the far post with Vidic wrapped up with Skrtel.
14.39 – Already on a yellow, Michael Carrick gets a talking to from the ref for a foul in midfield. The dead ball is swung into a dangerous area, but a blue shirt reaches it first and gets a firm header on to to clear.
14.41 – Oooh!
United win possession back on the edged of the Liverpool area and Young lays the ball to Van Persie who has his volley blocked.
Two corners later, it’s Young’s turn to volley from the edge of the area. His too is blocked by Johnson o the six-yard line and Liverpool manage to clear.
14.43 – The second half possession stat shows the visitors with 76%. Moyes’ men really building up a head of steam now.
Gerrard eases the pressure by storming by Welbeck and taking a shoulder-charge in the chest.
14.52 – Substitution: Nani is on for Young, one less yellow card for Moyes to fret over.
14.54 – A scrappy spell in the game now, but Liverpool’s hounding efforts continue in midfield. Carrick, Cleverley and Giggs are each having a horrendous day… yet it’s still only 1-0.
14.58 – Even when Liverpool get themselves in a muddle, as they just did again on the edge of their area, United don’t have the wit to punish them.
Nani collected possession 25 yards from goal, with three defenders splayed wide in front of him. He checked back, allowing himself to be engulfed by three more recovering Reds.
Still, United come back and win a corner on the next attack. Nani’s cross met by Ryan Giggs; a deft header claimed easily by Mignolet.
15.08 – Mignolet comes up with a terrific save from a thunderbolt off the left boot of Nani.
United are being kept at arm’s lenght, but the long range chances are beginning to appear
Substitution: Johnson can’t continue after the collision with Evra. Andre Wisdom comes on in his stead.
15.02 – Substitution: Hernandez is on for Giggs after 72 minutes.
Just seconds after Nemanja Vidic came close to ‘doing a Gerrard’ by back-passing into the path of a striker. De Gea raced out to save his bacon.
15.06 – Speaking of Gerrard, he runs himself into trouble and dinks a pass off to Henderson which Evra is able to steal. The fullback soon runs into trouble himself,colliding into two defenders with a large thud on the edge of the box.
Glen Johnson is also looking in a bad way after that.
15.12 – You can feel the nervous tension starting to circle Liverpool. A Hernandez shot from the edge of the area briefly had hearts in mouths, but Mignolet was well-placed stop it. Always a good sign in a ‘keeper.
15.13 – Substitution: Countinho hops off after 83 minutes. Luis Alberto will play out the final 10 minutes.
15.15 – Once again the Rodgers pressing-game works a treat, DeGea forced into misplacing a pass directly into touch. Are Liverpool on their way to yet another 1-0 victory?
15.17 – CHANCE!!!
Hernandez slides a gorgeous slide-rule pass through to the right foot of RVP, but the Dutchman can’t get enough purchase on the ball to direct it on target, instead in flies behind.
15.19 – That, you sense, was the moment for the visitors, the only time they’ve really opened Liverpool up.
They followed up with yet another hopeful cross into the area, Welbeck took the ball down and laid a poor pass to Evra and the Frenchman couldn’t pick out a target.
15.19 – FIVE MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME!
15.22 – Merseyside’s bright young talents are proving adept at holding possession in opposition territory. Wisdom and Sterling are the bane of United’s defenders right now.
15.25 – United look to set out on one last attack, but it’s broken up on halfway and the counter is countered. Sterling breezing past Ferdinand ad firing a rasping shot on target. De Gea saves, but the corner should be enough for Liverpool to see this out.
15.31 – FULL TIME: Liverpool 1 - 0 Manchester United
Well, that doesn’t feel like a game that didn’t deliver a goal in the past 92 minutes.
An incredible, intense display of pressing football from Rogers’ Liverpool. It left United inside the final third at least – looking very short on ideas with crosses into a dwindling number of targets favoured over genuinely defence-stretching moves.
Tell us what you thought of it in the comments section below. Is Daniel Sturridge officially the real deal? United’s four points from a possible nine is their poorest return in five years, is this year too soon to win the title?
15.34 – We’ll leave you to ponder those great questions.
Be sure to look out for analysis of all today’s Premier League action later this evening and don’t forget there’s more live football on the way and we’re liveblogging Arsenal v Spurs.
Don’t say we don’t look after ya!
Enjoy the gloating.