This week we saw the return of those games that succumbed to the ‘big freeze’ back in December with Manchester United tipping off against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road and on Wednesday night, Liverpool played host to a struggling Fulham side.
Blackpool 2 – 3 Manchester United
It was a game eagerly anticipated by Blackpool icon Charlie Adam who had been in the limelight following a proposed move to Liverpool. Nevertheless Ian Holloway started the Scot and he proved to be a key figure when Blackpool took the lead.
The deadlock was broken in the 15th minute courtesy of a Charlie Adam corner. The in-swinging corner was missed by Wayne Rooney, and former United defender Craig Cathcart connected with the cross, meeting it at the back post. United were rocked and in the 43rd minute things got even worse for the league leaders. United were again outdone by a Charlie Adam corner and this time DJ Campbell got on the score sheet, almost replicating Cathcart’s effort earlier.
United had a lot of explaining to do at half time and Sir Alex once again proved why he’s one of the best in the business. The introduction of Javier Hernandez for Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs for Darren Gibson saw United arise form their slumber.
In the 72nd minute Manchester United were handed a lifeline. Darren Fletcher had been put through on goal and he crossed for the Bulgarian sensation Dimitar Berbatov, who basically passed it into an open net. United could count themselves lucky having just about avoided a penalty just two minutes earlier, when Rafael seemed to have fouled Luke Varney in the area but the referee waved play on, much to Ian Holloway’s dismay. It proved pivotal in United’s revival and just two minutes after Berbatov had given United hope, Hernandez slotted past Richard Kingston to level the scores. Blackpool had succumbed to United’s determination and the tie was far from finished. The Red Devils took control and were rewarded for their persistence when Berbatov scored his 20th goal of the season. A fantastic pass from United veteran Paul Scholes had the Bulgarian through on goal and he calmly poked the ball past Kingston to complete a remarkable Manchester United comeback.
Liverpool 1 – 0 Fulham
After Liverpool had secured their first win under King Kenny on Saturday, more or less was expected of him to attain a result from Wednesday night’s fixture. Liverpool had the better of the earlier exchanges and Fulham keeper David Stockdale produced a magnificent save to keep Fulham in the tie early on. It was all Liverpool from then on as Fulham struggled to get going and Liverpool’s dominance was starting to tell.
The second half came and Liverpool continued where they left off from the first half, majoring the London side in ever aspect of the game. A slice of luck played its part in the Liverpool goal but it was deserved none the less. Fernando Torres was gifted the ball by the Fulham defence on the edge of the box and ran in, looking to beat Stockdale. His shot was deflected beyond Stockdale, came off the post, and babbled off John Pantsil 3-4 times, before he eventually, rather embarrassingly, bobbled the ball into his own net. Fulham, who would have been delighted to take anything away from the game were dealt a serious blow and started to chase the game the moment the goal occurred. Fulham sustained a late surge on the Liverpool defence but Kenny Dalglish’s men held out for a gritty 1-0 win.