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Liverpool 2 Man United 0 - Prem (March 31 2001)

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LIVERPOOL 2 Manchester United 0

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield



Scorer(s) – Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler

Half Time - 2-0

Venue - Anfield

Date - Sat 31 March 2001

Star Man – Steven Gerrard











It's a mark of how far we've come that before this game I was boldly predicting a home win for the lads. As I stood outside Anfield selling the fanzine, I was in extremely confident mood. I was tipping us to turn them over fairly comfortably, and the one thing I was positive about was that we would certainly not lose this game. That also seemed to be the general consensus amongst the people I spoke to, which is a refreshing change to the downbeat attitude that has often accompanied us into these games in recent years.


I may be allowing my dislike of them to cloud my view somewhat, but I don't actually think the mancs are that good, and it amazes me how they are so far ahead in the championship. For a start their defenders are all crap with the exception of Stam and the outstanding Wes Brown. I think Barthez is extremely dodgy, and vastly over-rated, and their midfield, although world class, lacks quality in depth. Their first choice four are top notch, but take any one of them out of it and you're looking at the likes of Butt and Chadwick, which is not a pleasant experience at all!


But enough about them, they may be top dogs now, but next season.... well if we can start turning over the shite teams on a regular basis, then we should be ready to take their crown of them. In contrast to them, we have a fantastic defence. We may have let in a lot of stupid goals, but since this back four have been together, not many goals have gone in against us, and certainly none when it really mattered (Roma away, OT, Arsenal home, Porto home and away etc.).


Carra and Babbel have completely snuffed out Beckham and Giggs twice now. Giggs was a complete non-entity yesterday, and Beckham kept coming inside to get away from Carra and Paddy, who seemed to determined to leave his calling card on the manc at every opportunity. Berger also went right through Gary Neville, but let's face it, the temptation to do that would gotten the better of us all. Nice one Paddy lad.


It was great to see my favourite player back in action, even though he was obviously lacking match fitness. Still, considering how long he has been out I thought he was excellent. Once again though, the start of the show was Stevie G, who was yet again the most dominant player on the field. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm sick to death of hearing these comparisons between Gerrard and Keane. They are flattering in the extreme - to Keane that is.


I'm not going to come out and say that Roy Keane is shit, obviously he isn't, and only the most bitter, blinkered individual (aka Evertonian) would allow their personal dislike of someone to influence their judgement to such an extent, but in my humble opinion he is a bit one dimensional compared to Gerrard. He's a defensive midfield player who's not bad going forward. He isn't Steven Gerrard though is he?


When was the last time you saw Keane score a goal like Stevie's yesterday? When did you last see him produce a cross like the one which Robbie would have scored from had he not slipped? When did you see Keane running at players and beating them, as Stevie does on a weekly basis? The only area in which Keane can come close to matching Gerrard is in the tackling department, but even there I'd say our boy has the edge. So to the likes of Jan Molby (someone who's opinion I otherwise highly value) - stop comparing Gerrard with Keane, it's now become insulting.


On the subject of 'one-dimensional' players, I've said many time in the past that David Beckham is something of a 'one-trick pony.' By that I mean that his one true world class attribute is his crossing. Up until recently, I would have said that no-one crosses a ball like Beckham, but the last couple of months have shown us that we have someone who can match the dim-witted manc when it comes to crossing the ball. He is of course Stevie G. In fact, if you were to take Keane, Beckham and Giggs and mould them into one player, you'd have Steven Gerrard.


Stevie has it all, and it was all on show yesterday. The goal was simply stunning, the pass to release Fowler for the second was sublime, he also made a glorious chance for Heskey with another astute pass, and his all round game was awesome. I hate that word to be honest, it's an American word and it used far too much for my liking, but it is the only word I can think of to describe our young midfield maestro. Watching him can be frightening at times, he is so good, and I just pray he's fit for Barcelona. Rivaldo won't know what the fuck has hit him.


Our first half display was excellent, and the only regret from today was that we didn't give them the pasting that they were crying out for. They were there for the taking, much as they were in the game at Old Trafford, but at least this time we produced some good attacking play. In the away game, we defended brilliantly but kept giving the ball away. This time we tore into them and should have come in at the half 4-0 up.


They came back into it second half, especially when Super (or should that be Stupid?) Dan got himself needlessly sent off. I said to my dad about five minutes before that happened that I'd take him off and put Gary Mac on because I could see that happening. He got away with one in the first half where he launched himself in but luckily he just about got the ball. The next time he wasn't so lucky, and could have no complaints about Graeme Poll's decision.


We could complain about his failure to spot Gary Neville's blatant handball though. This inbred, ugly little turd obviously hasn't learned his lesson from the encounter at Old Trafford, when his volleyball impression gave us the free kick from which Murphy scored. He deliberately handled in the area, but Poll shit out of making the decision, as he did later on when Babbel was blatantly fouled from behind by Ken Dodd's love child.


Still, we won and I'm not going to waste time moaning about the inadequacies of Mr Poll, after all, we've come to expect it from him now. The whole team played well, but special mentions must go to Babbel and Henchoz, who were excellent, and Fowler, who took his goal superbly and showed some lovely touches. It was a shame he had to be sacrificed after the sending off, but his work was done by then anyway. Next stop, the Nou Camp.


Update: Forgot to mention the outstanding performance of a certain Liverpool legend during the half time interval. Tommy Smith gave the United fans the middle finger salute not once, but twice after they taunted him as he made the half time pitch draw. Fair play to the Anfield Iron.



TEAM: Sander Westerveld; Markus Babbel, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Jamie Carragher; Steven Gerrard (Michael Owen), Danny Murphy, Dietmar Hamann, Patrik Berger (Nick Barmby); Robbie Fowler (Gary McAllister), Emile Heskey:

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