Updated: 29/09/2012 15:11 | By pa.press.net

Van Persie spot on for United

Robin van Persie kept his cool to win the game from the spot

Robin van Persie kept his cool to win the game from the spot

Robin van Persie's late penalty secured Manchester United a 2-1 win and their first Anfield victory since December 2007 against 10-man Liverpool on an emotional afternoon on Merseyside.

The hosts played 51 minutes with 10 men after Jonjo Shelvey's sending-off but still managed to take the lead through Steven Gerrard's volley seconds after the interval.

However, Rafael equalised soon after and Van Persie, one of three United players to miss from the spot this term, scored his fourth goal in as many games against the Reds - although three of those had come for former side Arsenal - nine minutes from time.

In the end it was something of a relief the talking points were all generated on the pitch as Liverpool marked their first home match since the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report which exonerated fans in relation to the 1989 disaster.

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shook hands in a show of unity before the game - the Liverpool forward had refused to shake the United defender's hand in the league meeting between the sides at Old Trafford in February, having previously been found guilty of racially abusing Evra in the corresponding fixture at Anfield last season.

Thankfully there were none of the distasteful chants which have marred this fixture for years, although that did not mean there was not an edge to the game.

Evra was overlooked for the captaincy - some say diplomatically - in the absence of Nemanja Vidic so it was Ryan Giggs who released 96 red balloons with Gerrard prior to kick-off.

The result left Liverpool rooted in the bottom three as their worst start to a campaign for a century continues whereas United maintained their usual progress moving up to second.

It was harsh on Brendan Rodgers' side, who continued to take the game to their rivals despite being short on numbers as they desperately looked for their first league victory of the campaign.

United may have left Anfield wondering how they managed to win having hardly threatened in attack and failed to dominate midfield until the final quarter but those concerns will have been of little consequence.

For the first minute of the match three sides of Anfield held up The Truth, Justice and 96 mosaics as representatives of the Hillsborough victims' families watched on from the directors' box.

Also present, for the first time since being sacked in May, was former manager Kenny Dalglish - intrinsically linked with the tragedy having played a major role in the aftermath during his first spell in charge.

What he saw in the first half would have been very familiar as for most of last season his sides dominated at home without scoring.

Once Giggs had flashed an early shot wide the momentum was all with the hosts as a Suarez cross-shot was stopped by Anders Lindegaard and headed away by Jonny Evans under pressure from Fabio Borini.

Gerrard drove a low effort from Shelvey's corner into the side-netting and Suarez looped a right-footed shot wide before a match which, possibly because of the all the pre-match commemorations, had lacked the usual hallmarks of a north-west derby ignited.

Shelvey robbed Giggs in midfield but as the ball broke free he launched himself at Evans and the inevitable outcome was a red card.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who scored twice in Thursday's Europa League victory at Young Boys, departed down the tunnel having exchanged heated words with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Even with a numerical disadvantage Liverpool continued to pressurise United and Suarez drew Lindegaard into a low saw from his free-kick.

The visitors would have been pleased to reach the interval with their goal intact but it took just 50 seconds after the restart for that to change.

Second-half substitute Suso, making his Premier League debut three days after his first-team bow in Switzerland, saw his cross half-cleared to Glen Johnson.

A tackle from Paul Scholes, on for Nani at half-time, succeeded only in diverting the ball towards Gerrard who volleyed home left-footed in front of the Kop.

The Reds captain, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest victim of the Hillsborough disaster, whirled away pointing both arms to the sky in celebration and remembrance.

It was short-lived, however, as within five minutes United were level when Shinji Kagawa laid the ball off for Rafael to brilliantly curl left-footed over Jose Reina and in off the far post.

Rodgers' determination not to just shut up shop and settle for a draw was reflected in the approach of his team who made light of the fact they were a man down with Suso having a shot tipped over by Lindegaard and Suarez continuing to trouble the visitors' defence.

But as the match entered the final 20 minutes United began to take more control, although their winner came from their opponents giving away possession on the halfway line.

Daniel Agger and Johnson collided to allow Antonio Valencia to race 50 yards into the area and although Johnson got back he could only bring down the Ecuador international.

Van Persie drilled home - although Reina went the right way and almost made the stop.

Joseph Victor Mangan - You wouldn't blame Suarez if he wanted to leave the country !!!!  I'd pay his air fare; if only he would contemplate leaving - that would clean up 50% of the cheating in the EPL in fell swoop
24/09/2012 11:00

We still need a mid-fielder that can win the ball and pass without giving it away all the time and we have'nt had one since Roy Keane !!!!!


25/09/2012 14:30
As usual a really soft penalty that conned the ref again

25/09/2012 22:56

"United  2-1 win"   end of! 

move on!

newcastle tomorrow, then spurs. :D  

24/09/2012 22:13
Halsey had a bad game all round but Liverpool should still have won, even with ten men. They failed to capitalise on a lot of good chances and Utd made them pay. It was harsh on Liverpool but they should take heart from a fine performance and concentrate on achieving some consistency.
25/09/2012 10:23
The first five words of this article sum man utd up, 'Robin Van Persies late penalty'!
29/09/2012 14:20

some thick pr1cks on here!  evans didnt get a red, because his feet were on the ground and it was a sliding tackle! if u give a red for that then every tackle has to have one! shelvey two feet off the grond jumped in with studs!  no brainer!

if johnson and suarez didnt spend so much time on the ground u may have won!  diving cheats!  funny how only valencia whom was injured from the tackle gets accused of diving!

23/09/2012 23:07
Complete rubbish to defend the ref in this game he was a complete ****.  He run the whole game on reputations and not as an impartial.  Saurez what ever people think is being treated disgracefully in this country by our pundits and ref's.  If he left this country i would not blame him.  He was brought down it was a foul full stop.  He booked Scholes because his rep went before him and the fact he can't tackle,  but there were far worse tackles in this game and the ref was not up to it.  Sort yourself out F.A.  and get it right.   
26/09/2012 08:15

mr krash

it isn't "end of" if people still want to discuss the game is it? That's what these forums are for mate, for people to discuss football. Well, some people anyway!

24/09/2012 01:21
even in australia the one sided pro liverpool commentaters get on foxtell , the short sighted type that say there was not contact between jonhson and valencia , are they actually whatching the game or reading from a pre prepaired script ???? now we all know ten men can be harder to play against especially if it's loonypool at home they played hard and threatened well , did united dodge a bullet yes but thats the game , to come away from there with three points is great even tho united have not played great yet , 
25/09/2012 18:05
He obviously cannot trust any of his other players to take a penalty very selfish man.

26/09/2012 15:55
Whoopee Do, you silly fellow. Welbeck and Valencia play for ManU.
26/09/2012 10:19
Suarez  should be loaned out to the rags for a season. Going down but no pens! This needs to be more polished Luis. 
24/09/2012 16:26
they talk about Suarez, but they fail to mention Wellbeck and Valencia , both are known divers and although he got a touch yesterday he went down too easily, but when suarez got his foot stood on , we got nothing, the ref was diabolical as Van Persie went in for a two footed tackle and a yellow card only, and Shelvey and Evans did the same, shelvey got a red , evans  got nothing, do you call this fair refereeing, not in my book, the ref wrecked the game  after he gave Shelvey a red, and Evans was just as guilty,  a yellow card each a a warning about these tackles would have been a better decision but the ref was poor all round, well done utd, but a draw was a better and fair score,
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