Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool: Chicharito settles a tight but open game

Michael Regan

Javier Hernandez knocked Liverpool out of the league cup as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory for Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Manchester United are through to the fourth round of the League Cup after a Javier Hernandez goal was enough to earn a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford and knock out Liverpool.

David Moyes rang the changes after Sunday's embarrassment, and Shinji Kagawa and Nani both started on the flanks, with Javier Hernandez partnering Wayne Rooney and a bizarre Phil Jones-Ryan Giggs combination in midfield.

In the first half, it failed badly, with United's midfield sitting too deep and failing to press, worryingly reminiscent of the game against Manchester City. A torrent of attacks from the visitors was the result, as Liverpool's 3-4-1-2 overwhelmed United in the centre. Luis Suarez was in the thick of things, earning three chances early on in the first half, but making none of them count.

As the half wore on, the attacks faded but United struggled to get a foot in the game, and the whistle blew at 0-0. The second half, however, had a very different complexion, largely thanks to the events in the opening minute.

Wayne Rooney's corner appeared to be heading straight for a mass of Liverpool defenders, but Javier Hernandez darted away from his marker to find himself in plenty of space to smartly divert the ball into the net and give United a barely-deserved 1-0 lead.

Liverpool's previous calm play turned to jumpiness, and while Jordan Henderson soon found a fine opportunity shortly afterwards, his side-footed finish was poor and wide of the mark. It almost got worse for the former Sunderland man as he appeared to fell Nani in the area shortly afterwards, but despite claims for a penalty from United, the referee waved play on.

A fine United counter-attack then went through Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa, yet as the Liverpool defence appeared to be undone, the latter's pass was behind Nani, who could only collect, turn, and blaze miles over. It was much better from United, and they went closer not long afterwards when a long-range effort from Shinji Kagawa struck the bar on its way over.

Yet Liverpool continued to attack with determination, and David de Gea was called into action to deny Victor Moses after some fine build-up led to him planting a header on goal. Immediately afterwards, Suarez struck the bar with a free-kick, before Michael Carrick and Adnan Januzaj entered the fray at the expense of Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa.

That appeared to kill the game off somewhat, and United comfortably survived the rest of the time until the final whistle. Not an outstanding performance, but a good one in the second half. There were a lot of changes made to the team, against a full-straight Liverpool side, and Moyes' men emerged victorious. Hopefully, having learned more of his fringe players, Moyes may begin to look at alternative options in the squad.

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