I hate it when refereeing decides a match, especially 'judgement' calls. This match was clearly Liverpool's to win, they out-played and out-classed Man U, while Rafa's tactics made Fergie look average. The only things that Man U did better were out-thug and out-whine to the refs, which I'm not sure why they did the latter, because it was clear who's favor the black shirts were in. Note to Rafa, use some of that new money in the off-season to donate to the linesmen retirement fund, it's pretty clear who was buttering their bread prior to this affair.
The Bellamy goal was a judgement call. Was he clearly offside? No. Here's the problem, Riise's shot, which was clearly a shot, was intentionally deflected off of Sissoko's head, which should also be considered a shot. Therefore, no one was passing to Bellamy and he should not have been called offside because it was irrelevant to the play. Furthermore, Bellamy was not moving forward, the defense was though (from their perspective, of course). It was a judgement call that went in Man U's favor. Big surprise.
Then you have the free kick that wound up being the difference in the match. Was Finnan holding Giggs? Clearly, but Giggs was also holding Finnan, impeding him from taking possession of the ball. Furthermore, there were what? Three other Liverpool players in the vicinity of the ball? And where's all the complaining about Giggs looking towards the ref after he stopped grabbing Finnan? It was a judgement call that went in Man U's favor. Where do you send the money for the linesmen retirement fund again? Don't worry, I'll just ask Sir Alex.
Other instances occurred as well. I already mentioned the Xabi card, that's now three out of the four matches Martin Atkinson has called against us where Xabi's gotten a card. Shocking. Bellamy was dragged and prodded on almost every occassion that he was down near Man U's goal and not a single time was a foul called. Can someone please explain to me how Neville's vicious open-field assault on Pennant was not a red card? Let's see, Pennant had clearly beaten thugboy, which would have left a wide-open field with Kuyt, a Man U defender, Van Der Sar, and the goal. You tell me how many times Neville is going to beat Pennant in a foot race? Never. Not once, he knew he was outclassed and he did the classless thing. No surprise.
What sucks is how well we played, almost every player made a tremendous effort and left it all out on the field. Gonzo looked brilliant, Momo was awesome, Bellamy was great, Gerrard was his usual class self, Kuyt was phenomenal, Carra made some outstanding plays, and Pennant looked unstoppable, like a Mini-Momo with a touch of Gerrard. I'm not sure who deserves Man of the Match the most, any of the above mentioned players deserve it, and I did not mean to leave out the rest of the squad because nobody played the Achilles heel today. Our defense is the best in the league, if not the world. If Ronaldo is the best player in the Premiership, then the Premiership is garbage.
On the other side of the ball, Van der Sar was easily Man U's Man of the Match. He made a brilliant save on a Crouch put-back and did not make a mistake the whole game. The only other players who deserve kudos are Ferdinand, Giggs, and Rooney. Neville needs to split this week's earnings and give them to Van der Sar and Ferdinand because he didn't do his job and they covered his pathetic ass. Giggs and Rooney seemed to be the only threats on the ball.
So the story of Liverpool's 2006-2007 'cursed' season and overall Premiership 'saga of the forsaken' continues. I do think we're just one great player away from overturning all this bad luck, but unfortunately we'll have to wait until next season to try. I just hope we can still salvage a Champion's League spot for then as well because no great player is going to come here unless we do.