A Tale of Two Cities – Manchester United and Liverpool

This entry was posted on Monday, September 20th, 2010

Most Manchester United fans had never seen a more inept performance at Old Trafford than the one they were treated to against Glasgow Rangers, in the first group game of this seasons Champions League.

United looked listless and completely devoid of any creativity. It would be unfair however, to take anything away from Rangers’ performance. They worked extremely hard, held their shape and completely frustrated United from the outset. They thoroughly deserved their point, and the game finished 0-0. Nevertheless, bookmakers have United as fourth favourites at around 9/1, with Barcelona leading the field at 11/4 followed by Chelsea and Real Madrid who are both currently 5/1.

Liverpool however, had a much better time in Europe last week with a convincing 4-1 win over Steaua Bucuresti in their first Europa League game of the season. Joe Cole had a great game getting a goal after just 25 seconds. David Ngog also thoroughly enjoyed himself bagging two goals; a confident penalty and a well placed last minute strike.

Liverpool traditionally do well in Europe, they have won the European Cup/Champions League 5 times, the UEFA Cup/Europa League 3 times and the European Super Cup 3 times. They look terrific value to win the competition at 9/1. The favourites for the Europa League are Manchester City at 9/2; third favourites Juventus are 12/1.

It’s impossible not to look forward to, what some claim is the biggest game in English football, but with the additional factor of such contrasting fortunes in Europe the prospect of Sunday’s United/Liverpool game was mouth-watering.

The first half saw few chances created by either side although United were the better team. This was rewarded when Dimitar Berbatov headed in the first goal of the game just before half time. The second half was a different story, completely living up to the pre-match hype. Berbatov’s 59th minute goal will undoubtedly be the goal of the season, a majestic overhead kickwhich saw United go 2-0 up. However, Just 3 minutes later Liverpool were awarded a penalty that seemed to come out of nowhere and a confident Steven Gerrard beat Van Der Sar to put Liverpool back in the game. A Gerrard free kick on the 70th minute saw United throw away yet another 2 goal lead, leaving their fans feeling apoplectic. It was left to the magnificent Bulgarian to save the day, with Berbatov completing a well deserved hat trick in the 84th minute.

After the game, Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson ruled his team out of the title race, the bookmakers agree and Liverpool are 33/1 to win the Premiership. United did themselves a huge favour rescuing all three points and are currently 5/2 behind run away favourites Chelsea, who are 8/11 to retain the Premier League title.

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