United flattened

By David Meek of "The Manchester Evening News"

It wasn't so much the gas attack as the cavalry charge that flattened Manchester United at Liverpool. An idiot sprayed an irritant into the faces of the United players as they walked from their coach into the Anfield ground.


But defender Kevin Moran made it clear today: "We were coughing and spluttering and our eyes were running. But I am sure it had no effect on our performance. We had an hour to recover and everyone was OK by the kick-off."


Indeed they were. The Reds started superbly against a Liverpool team forced to concentrate on defence. And when Colin Gibson gave the visitors a 14th minute lead it looked as if they were bound for the top of the table again.


Injury to Paul Walsh seemed likely to seal Liverpool's fate. But the 30th-minute blow simply spurred Liverpool into action. Full-back Jim Beglin started to run through from left-back and the game turned dramatically.


Gary Gillespie missed a sitter and then five minutes before the interval substitute John Wark forced home the equaliser for a 1-1 draw after Sammy Lee had hit the post.


Liverpool dominated the second half with cavalry charges that saw United fortunate to hang on for a point. As Moran summed up: "We needed a lot of defending. You always expect Liverpool to have a spell on top. You hope to contain them and then get back yourselves, but we never really managed to do that this time."


In a word they panicked. They started belting high balls for mini Terry Gibson and hardly surprisingly found the ball coming straight back. The gamble of playing newcomer John Sivebaek in preference to Clayton Blackmore failed. The Dane simply found the game going round him.


In the end United were indebted to their defenders for keeping them in joint lead with Everton, especially Chris Turner. The goalkeeper - brought in for Gary Bailey who has a calf strain - saved superbly from Ian Rush. But that was just one of a string of sound saves and confident handling. Paul McGrath was outstanding as well, but at the end of the day United have got to be grateful for a point.


Copyright - The Manchester Evening News

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