[QODLink]
Football
'Biggest club game' fails to deliver
The game Alex Ferguson rates as biggest in club football ends in a whimper after honours shared between United and Reds.
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2011 15:09
Steven Gerrard of Liverpool (R) wheels off in celebration as he returns to side with a bang [GALLO/GETTY] 

Alex Ferguson might have hyped the game up to be the biggest club match in the world but on this occasion there was little to justify his claims. 

The match failed to ignite with Man United and Liverpool ending up with a point apiece after an uneventful 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

Ferguson had said on Friday that the fixture was bigger than Barcelona versus Real Madrid, but the football on offer rarely reached the heights of their Spanish rivals.  

However, the spotlight did fall on Steven Gerrard, who returned to action scoring a powerful free-kick to give the Reds the lead.      

It was the Liverpool stalwart's first start for seven months and it looked like he was going to give his side a memorable win over the league leaders, until Javier Hernandez headed in a late equaliser.

Lucky free-kick

Gerrard, returning for Liverpool after a complicated groin injury, struck with a 68th-minute free kick that went through the defensive wall after Rio Ferdinand had tripped Charlie Adam just outside the penalty area.

Hernandez, who came on as a 76th-minute substitute for Phil Jones, then nodded the ball into an empty net from point-blank range with nine minutes to go after Danny Welbeck had flicked on a corner.

United stayed top of the table with 20 points from eight matches, at least until Manchester City host Aston Villa later on Saturday. Liverpool remained fifth with 14 points.

"It wasn't the best free kick... tried to get it over the wall but I got a bit of luck"

Steven Gerrard

"It wasn't the best free kick," Gerrard told Sky Sports.

"I tried to get it over the wall but I got a bit of luck.

"To come back and play my first full 90 minutes today... growing up these are the games you dream of playing in and when you are sitting in the stands there is nothing worse, to be out there experiencing the emotions again was fantastic."

United defender Ferdinand, who has also had a spell out injured, said: "It was great to be back and after losing here for the last three visits I'm pleased we've left with a point."

The visitors started without Wayne Rooney, Hernandez or Nani up front. They played five men in midfield and made little impact on the Liverpool defence, failing to have a worthwhile shot on target until the closing stages.

Liverpool, buoyed by the return of Gerrard who had made three previous substitute appearances this season, had more possession and looked more dangerous as the match wore on and went close to a winner several times in the final minutes.

Rooney, who was handed a three-match ban for Euro 2012 by UEFA on Thursday following his England sending-off against Montenegro last week, came on for the last 20 minutes but made little impact.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.