Steven Gerrard scored two penalties as Liverpool FC beat Manchester United 3-0, which got the Reds to the second spot
Liverpool came out on top against arch-rivals Manchester United, in a game marred with penalty incidents, and won it convincingly enough with a 3-0 win.
Steven Gerrard scored twice from the spot but missed the third time, after Sturridge simulated to win that particular penalty that also saw Namanja Vidic sent off for incorrectly for what Mark Clattenberg saw as a reckless challenge.
Luis Suarez, however, put the game to bed in the 84th minute, after scoring the third goal and gave the Reds a decisive three points, which put them four points behind league leaders Chelsea, with a game in hand.
Steven Gerrard, who scored two goals in the match admitted to Liverpool being in the title race:
“It’s a fantastic day personally but we came here to win the game. We’ll enjoy tonight but we need to move on quickly. We’ve shown today we’re genuine contenders and we’ll fight to the end.
“We played a diamond today and totally bossed the midfield and controlled the game. The Manchester United defence will not have had a harder game than against our strikers today.
“We believe that we can win the league. But the easiest thing in football is to talk the talk. We have to treat Cardiff and Sunderland the same as Manchester United”.
The Liverpool captain claimed that he got ‘cocky’ with the last penalty, but scored the ones which his club needed the most:
“I maybe got a bit cocky with the last penalty but scored the two that mattered most.”
The Liverpool manager, on the other hand, played down his side’s title talks and said:
“It’s exactly the same. I think we’re a developing side. We’re probably a year ahead of where we’ve been but that’s testament to the players and how quickly they’re adapting to the methods”, said Brendan Rodgers
“I think we’re a developing side. We’re probably a year ahead of where we’ve been but that’s testament to the players and how quickly they’re adapting to the methods. The biggest difference is that we’re believing all the time. You come here, you win 3-0 playing like we did today and it’s another statement in terms of where the team is going.”
.”I repeat (what I said) before, we could win the next nine games and still not win it but certainly our focus now will be to get ready.
“We’ve got a tough game against Cardiff next week away and it’s five games on the spin now. Terrific results against tough opponents and we’ve just got to keep it going.
“I think that we’re coming into a real strong stage of the season. We did the same last year and we’re doing the same this year.
“I think as the players work together, the personalities connect, they understand how we want to work. They’re improving all the time. The beauty of this team is we have a lot of young players that are improving. We remain humble as a team and as a group and we’ll manage the expectations.
“The only expectation is to win the next game and that’s what we’ll look to do. Everyone’s got tough games.
Rodgers was certainly full of praise for his side’s display:
“I thought we were outstanding, the dominance in the game was very apparent from the beginning right the way through
“We obviously created lots of chances, we scored three goals, missed a penalty unfortunately, but we could have had three or four more, so I think we were clearly the dominant team.
“I think as a team, first and foremost, we controlled the ball. I thought in particular in the second half we were better with the ball, combined greater and obviously we’re a very aggressive team going forward.
“We set up to defend well and obviously we attack in numbers as well and I think that aggression and confidence in our game is clear to see.
“To come here and to get a result like that and a performance like that is very good. I thought our focus and composure today was very good. We’ve had a terrific season and for 14 or 15 months we’ve been excellent so to come here, I remember coming here last season and playing okay but Man United were the better team.
“But I think the development in our side was clear today and you could see the players’ confidence.”
The manager responded to Daniel Sturridge’s apparent dive by saying:
“I think he’s anticipating the contact. I think it’s one where he’s gone over expecting it but he certainly hasn’t dived.”