Van Persie seals penalty win for Man United
Date published: September 24, 2012
On an occasion when the Hillsborough victims and families were remembered in moving scenes before kick-off, these two great rivals produced a typically competitive and contentious encounter.
Liverpool were reduced to 10 men when Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a first-half foul on United defender Jonny Evans – but it did not stop captain Steven Gerrard volleying them ahead seconds after the interval.
United, barely in the game for long periods, responded with a spectacular equaliser from Rafael Da Silva before Van Persie confirmed a fourth straight Premier League win nine minutes from time after Glen Johnson fouled Antonio Valencia.
It left Liverpool and new manager Brendan Rodgers without a league win in five attempts this season and in the Premier League’s bottom three, once again rueing their lack of cutting edge.
Liverpool enjoyed spells of complete domination in territory and possession but failed to make it count, leaving United, who were without centre-back Nemanja Vidic, the opportunity to take full advantage for their first win at Anfield in six games.
There was no repeat of last season’s scene at Old Trafford when the Uruguayan, who had been found guilty of racially abusing the United defender, refused the Frenchman’s hand.
When the action did start Liverpool exerted complete control of the first half but could not find the finishing touch to compliment their fine approach work. Gerrard was closest with a shot narrowly off target at the near post as United struggled to find any fluency.
Liverpool’s flow was disrupted in the 39th minute when they lost Shelvey as he was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Halsey for a reckless lunge at Evans that left the United defender requiring treatment.
Rodgers replaced Fabio Borini with Suso at the start of the second half and he was instantly involved as Liverpool claimed the lead they deserved. He showed confidence on the flanks and the move, which also included clever work from Johnson, ended with Gerrard sweeping a left-foot volley past Anders Lindegaard in front of an ecstatic Kop.
United, who had brought Paul Scholes on for Nani to provide a measure of order to their midfield, were quickly level as Shinji Kagawa chested Valencia’s cross into the path of Rafael, who curled a superb finish beyond the stretching Pepe Reina.
To make matters worse for the home side, Agger was hurt in the clash was taken off on a stretcher before Van Persie finally converted the penalty, despite Reina getting a hand to his powerful effort which found the top corner.
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