LIVERPOOL 1, MAN UNITED 0
It made uncomfortable viewing for both David Moyes and Roy Hodgson as Manchester United lost against arch rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
While Moyes was bemoaning United’s bad luck, Hodgson’s preparations for England’s World Cup qualifying campaign appears cursed.
It looks like Hodgson will be without United pair Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones along with Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and Daniel Sturridge who scored Liverpool’s winner.
Moyes blamed the lack of a cutting edge on the absence of Rooney who was injured on the training ground after a challenge from team-mate Nemanja Vidic.
“We played as well as we have at any time this season,” declared Moyes who continued: “It was not our day. We limited Liverpool, but just couldn’t finish it at the other end.”
Moyes was also convinced United ought to have been awarded a penalty early in the second half when Danny Welbeck appeared to be fouled.
“He didn’t need to go down so it was a penalty,” was the observation of the United manager.
Ryan Giggs and Ashley Young were drafted into the side as the expense of the injured Rooney and Antonio Valencia who stepped down to the bench.
Liverpool, who had before kick off marked what would have been legendary manager Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday with one minute’s applause, made the perfect start taking the lead in the fourth minute.
Daniel Agger beat Rio Ferdinand to a corner and his goalbound header was deflected past keeper David De Gea by the flicked header from Sturridge.
It was Sturridge’s 11th goal in his last nine matches for Liverpool, no wonder he had been a nailed on certainty to play for England in their World Cup qualifiers against Moldova on Friday and Ukraine next Tuesday.
Welbeck had a shot blocked by Johnson as United set out in pursuit of an equaliser.
If United were to draw level, it was always likely to come from Welbeck as talisman Robin van Persie was enduring a miserable afternoon as he appeared to become distracted by other events as he was involved in several skirmishes with opponents.
The penalty appeal followed what appeared a blatant shove by defender Luis Alberto.
United substitute Nani forced a decent save from Simon Mignolet and he then set up van Persie whose shot flashed narrowly wide. Tom Cleverley also forced the Belgium keeper into action.
Yet Liverpool could have finished with a more emphatic margin of victory when Raheem Sterling brought a fine save from De Gea as Liverpool made it three wins out of three, their best start for 19 years.
As for United, one win, one draw and one defeat makes it is a distinctly ordinary one for new United manager Moyes.