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Anfield (ATT 45,065) 15th October 2011 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: A Marriner

Liverpool Liverpool vs Manchester United Man Utd

Liverpool 1

S Gerrard (68)

ft

Man Utd 1

J Hernandez (81)

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United refuse to surrender

Controversial free-kick cancelled out by Hernandez equaliser

Last Updated: 15/10/11 6:16pm

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Steven Gerrard scored on his return to Liverpool's first XI but Manchester United did not admit surrender in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Man of the match: Steven Gerrard returned to Liverpool's first XI with a full 90 minutes and scored with a clever free-kick. Goal of the match: Javier Hernandez epitomised his poaching instinct and movement with a back-post equaliser from Danny Welbeck's intelligent flick-on. Save of the match: David de Gea did well to stop Jordan Henderson's ingenious, lobbed volley in the closing stages. Miss of the match: Henderson was guilty of a wretched header in injury-time, when he managed to find space in the box but nodded over the bar. Controversy of the match: United believed Charlie Adam dived to win the free-kick from which Gerrard scored. He made the most of Ferdinand's challenge, but there was contact. Should Ferdinand have been booked or was Adam guilty of play-acting? Talking point: Who will be the team to beat United this season? Was Sir Alex Ferguson correct to start Wayne Rooney as a substitute?

Kenny Dalglish restored his captain to the starting line-up for the first time in seven months and he was rewarded with a 68th minute opener from a free-kick in front of the Kop.

United, who started with Wayne Rooney as a substitute, were furious Charlie Adam had made the most of a challenge from Rio Ferdinand to win the set-piece.

But Sir Alex Ferguson's unbeaten team avoided a fourth successive defeat on the red half of Merseyside, as Javier Hernandez poached an equaliser with nine minutes left to play.

It may not have lived up to Ferguson's billing as the greatest match-up in English football but the draw was typically not without incident.

It also denied Liverpool a happier anniversary than the one they were enjoying after marking the 12 months to the day since they were bought by Fenway Sports Group.

Rooney's demotion to the bench summed up his miserable week after his England sending-off and subsequent three-match ban for Euro 2012, which was the talking point before kick-off.

Torrid

The first half was essentially about trying to establish a grip on the game and although Liverpool had the better of that scrap early on United had done enough to restore the balance by the interval.

Both sides had chances to open the scoring with Phil Jones, playing in midfield, heading Patrice Evra's deep left-wing cross into the side-netting when he should have done better.

A similar accusation could have been levelled at Luis Suarez, who looked like he would give Ferdinand a torrid time after their opening exchanges but found the United defender a worthy opponent as the half drew on.

The Uruguay international found himself with only David de Gea to beat when Adam's 34th minute shot kindly rebounded off Jonny Evans but the striker shot straight at the goalkeeper who parried the ball to safety.

Gerrard found the midfield a little too crowded for his liking and rarely got the space or opportunity to have much impact.

Early in the second half Ashley Young's 25-yard free-kick briefly had Jose Reina scrambling to claim at the second attempt but the tide was gradually turning in favour of the hosts.

Blaze

They felt they should have had a penalty when Dirk Kuyt's header struck the arm of Evans.

And when Ferdinand, who had been booked for an earlier foul on Suarez, tripped a charging Adam with the slightest of touches as he threatened to break into the penalty area, the Liverpool fans were convinced he should have been sent off.

Gerrard, however, exacted a greater punishment when he curled home a low shot from the resulting 25-yard free-kick after Ryan Giggs left a space in the wall.

Rooney and Nani were immediately sent on, with the latter blazing a shot well over, before fellow substitute Hernandez was introduced for the final 15 minutes.

And he made his mark within six minutes of coming on as Danny Welbeck flicked on a left-wing cross and the youngster headed home unmarked at the far post.

But United were indebted to De Gea, who has come in for a fair amount of criticism in his maiden season, as the Spaniard threw himself to his left to deny Dirk Kuyt.

He was in action again in injury-time when he acrobatically tipped over a shot from Henderson, with the Liverpool midfielder also having a chance to win it even later only for his header from Stewart Downing's cross to drop onto the roof of the net.

LiverpoolTeam StatisticsManchester United
1Goals1
01st Half Goals0
5Shots on Target2
6Shots off Target7
4Blocked Shots2
8Corners3
10Fouls11
3Offsides1
1Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
78.6Passing Success72.7
27Tackles24
63Tackles Success83.3
55.9Possession44.1
48.7Territorial Advantage51.3
421Total Passes341

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 35 80
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 35 70
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 63
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 35 49
9 Newcastle United 35 46
10 Stoke City 35 44
11 Crystal Palace 35 43
12 West Ham United 35 37
13 Swansea City 35 36
14 Hull City 34 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 35 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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