Tuesday 12 December 2017

Gerrard welcomes lucky return

Steven Gerrard welcomed his lucky break on his Liverpool return - but felt aggrieved to come away with only a point against rivals Manchester United today.

The fit-again Liverpool skipper's poor free-kick found its way through a United wall weakened by Ryan Giggs deserting his post to give the hosts the lead at Anfield.

But substitute Javier Hernandez headed United level and Liverpool were unable to find a winner. David De Gea made an excellent save from Jordan Henderson and when Martin Skrtel blazed over it was certain that United would remain six points ahead of Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League table.

"I'm sure our fans will feel a little bit hard done by with the chances at the end, we could have nicked it," Gerrard told Sky Sports 2.

"Before the game our aim was to close the gap and get it to three points."

On his goal, the England midfielder added: "The free-kick wasn't the best, the intention was to get it over the wall, but a couple of years ago at Old Trafford the same thing happened, the wall split.

"Maybe it's just the bit of luck I was looking for in my first game back.

"When you're out and sitting watching these games, there's nothing worse. To be out there experiencing the emotions again was fantastic and hopefully I can stay fit for the rest of the season now."

United defender Rio Ferdinand has also been absent with injury for much of this season and concurred: "These are the games you want to play in, the things you love and enjoy."

It was Ferdinand's foul on Charlie Adam which led to the free-kick, with opposite camps feeling either that the Scot made the most of minimal contact or that Ferdinand was fortunate to escape a second yellow card.

"There was the slightest contact, but I don't think it was enough to make a fella of 12 or 13 stone fall on the floor," Ferdinand insisted.

He praised the character of his side, though, adding: "They created a couple of chances towards end but for most of the second half I thought we controlled it and played good football. In the final third, if we'd made those good decisions, we could have had opportunities."

"We showed the resilience you need to come places like this and get a point."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson bemoaned the free-kick decision, but also pointed the finger at Giggs.

"It was very difficult. The referee is under a lot of pressure and I'm not surprised they got the free-kick," he said.

"It's exactly the same as last year. The wide players left the wall and it was bad defensive play.

"I didn't think they were really threatening until they scored the goal but then the game opened up and we took the chance. In the context of today the result is fair."

Rival boss Kenny Dalglish said: "I thought in the first half the two teams almost cancelled each other out, and the second half started much the same.

"We scored the goal then they equalised, then their keeper made two or three good saves. I thought the boy (De Gea) was struggling? He wasn't struggling today, he made two or three great saves."

On Gerrard, he added: "I thought he was everything he's been for the club, and it was fitting he got the goal."

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