On a bright Sunday morning in New York, Liverpool FC supporters congregated as they always do at the 11th Street Pub to unite in spirit on the most important of all Premiership occasions, Manchester United’s annual visit to Anfield. For two and a half hours a mosaic of fans from every part of the world now living in New York rejoiced, suffered and sang, emotionally vested in every tackle, every pass, every game situation. A few avenues away, Manchester United supporters were experiencing the same tension at Nevada Smiths.
The sweetest three points were deservedly won by a home side lifted and willed by supporters into a solid, though not spectacular, collective performance. Liverpool played with great desire and benefited from great efforts by Fernando Torres and man-of-the-match Yossi Benayoun, who was simply magisterial in the second half. They combined on the goal and repeatedly caused havoc for United. In a great display, Nemanja Vidic and Torres battled bravely throughout the match.
The goal came with 25 minutes left setting up a dramatic and frenetic end. Man United rarely controlled the game and still nearly snatched a last minute point, but for the post. In the end, it was Liverpool’s day, though continuity will be tricky for Liverpool as the midfield remains an area of inconsistency. With a starting midfield that include Fabio Aurelio and Lucas, truth be told, Liverpool’s prospects are modest. But if and when Torres, Mascherano, Gerrard, Aquilani and Benayoun are fit and in good form, Liverpool can legitimately compete for the Premiership.
Prior to the match, thousands of Liverpool supporters gathered on Lower Breck Road and marched to the Albert pub outside the Kop in protest against club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, urging them to sell the club. The next hours turned out to be much more joyous. The club regained its center of gravity, for now, as only a victory over Man United can deliver.