It was the return of King Kenny but Liverpool ultimately succumbed to their counterparts as Manchester United won, quite controversially, 1-0. Liverpool fans were still reeling from the sacking of Roy Hodgson yesterday afternoon but Dalglish was thought to make things seem a whole lot better when he was appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season. United, still unbeaten in the Premier League, fielded a strong side and with Rooney and Vidic ruled out, it was a chance for Javier Hernandez and Jonny Evans to show what they had to offer. It was United who prevailed, and Liverpool paid the price as a clumsy two footed lunge saw skipper Steven Gerrard sent for an early bath and Liverpool never really looked like coming back.
When this tie was announced back in December, this was most definitely the most eye catching tie of the round. Form out the window, these two clubs always adapt a do or die approach to these fixtures and it was again visible today. Funnily enough, Liverpool left the sacking of Roy Hodgson unforeseeable until yesterday afternoon/late Friday and the untimely sacking couldn’t have boasted more panic for the Merseyside club but alas, King Kenny Dalglish was on hand to haul them back from the dead. Dalglish had been Liverpool manager back in the late 80’s/early 90’s and he still is to this day one of their most prized managers to ever set foot at Anfield. He was returning to battle with old nemesis Sir Alex Ferguson, who he had met at Old Trafford many a times before this encounter. Dalglish returned but it was Sir Alex who took control after a rather controversial 2nd minute penalty saw United home and dry.
Things couldn’t have got any worse for Liverpool from the off as they had conceded a penalty within the first minute. Berbatov just inside the box, decided to head for the byline and was tapped by Martin Skrtel, and then the Bulgarian dived rather emphatically, winning United a penalty. Controversy will surround Howard Webb’s decision to award the penalty itself and he will be targeted by Liverpool fans and pundits alike. It was an undeserving scoreline for the hosts but it gave them the slimmest of leads heading towards half time.
Liverpool’s challenge for an equaliser suffered a massive blow when captain Steven Gerrard was given his marching orders for a two footed lunge on United midfielder Michael Carrick. Howard Webb was once again surrounded by a pool of Liverpool players but he remained adamant and the Reds’ inspirational skipper was gone. Liverpool looked to others for inspiration but n body stepped up to the plate and as a result King Kenny filed his first match as a loss, returning to football for the first time for almost 10 years.