FIFA 15: Liverpool vs Manchester United
EA Sports, the company you buy FIFA 15 Coins from usually, will hold a football match on FIFA 15, this Sunday afternoon, Manchester United will travel to Anfield to face arch rivals Liverpool in a game that could define the race for the top four.
United are two points ahead of Liverpool knowing that a defeat would see them drop out of the top four with games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all still come in the run-in. We couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen in the match so we decided to play FIFA 15 Liverpool vs Manchester United to try and predict to discover what’s in store on for us…
The first concern we had was team news with both sides facing big selection dilemmas ahead of the game. For Liverpool we decided that Brendan Rodgers would avoid sentimentalism and keep captain Steven Gerrard on the bench preferring to go with the partnership of Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson instead.
We thought Louis van Gaal would make a change, bringing in Angel Di Maria for Juan Mata due to the Spaniard’s tendency to play better at Old Trafford rather than away from it.
The game started tentatively, with both sides more than aware of the importance of the match in the race for the top four. Like against Tottenham Hotspur the week before, captain Wayne Rooney was the main focal point for the United attacks, making a number of intelligent runs early on. For Liverpool the team looked rusty as they did against Swansea and Daniel Sturridge missed two brilliant chances in the opening exchanges.
The teams exchanged blows for the opening twenty minutes before the away side found the break through. Ashley Young, who was hugely impressive throughout, was released on the left hand side with Raheem Sterling caught horribly out of position. His through ball was hilariously attempted to be cut out by Martin Skrtel and Rooney was on hand to fire past Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool tried to respond with Sturridge missing yet another great chance but his afternoon was just about to get a whole lot worse. Following a robust challenge the England striker was left writhing on the ground and he had to be taken off injured. Rodgers reacted by moving the ineffective Sterling up front and bringing on Lazar Markovic at right midfield.
The second goal came about in comical circumstances and will surely haunt Rodgers for some time to come. Marouane Fellaini acted as the deep-lying playmaker (yeah, we weren’t sure either) and sent a brilliant ball through to Di Maria. The Argentine’s shot was deflected by Mignolet before Rooney’s follow-up was blocked by Skrtel and came back off the bar. Unfortunately for the Reds the ball rebounded to Young, who calmly pounced and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
One of the interesting caveats of the game was the sheer number of yellow cards that United picked up, with Van Gaal clearly instructing his team to try and disrupt Liverpool’s play. No fewer than six players were booked across the course of the game with a number of those players lucky not to receive their marching orders, demonstrating the need for a strong hand when it comes to refereeing this particular fixture.
After half-time Liverpool clearly came out with renewed purpose but, unfortunately for them, they were about to make a crucial mistake. In order to prevent Rooney from dancing through the defence, the defenders sat off the United captain. He immediately punished them as, just two minutes into the second half, he curled in a beautiful effort from the edge of the box.
Given the good chances that Liverpool had already wasted in the game there was nothing but sheer bewilderment around Anfield as they scored their first goal. Sterling played through Adam Lallana and the midfielder pushed forward through into the box. Antonio Valencia was the man tracking Lallana yet for some reason he seemed reluctant to clear the ball. This led to a comical own goal as the ball bounced off Valencia and David De Gea into the net.
The Spaniard, who up until that point had just been a spectator, was clearly furious with the way his team conceded and rightly berated Valencia for his role in the own goal. United were rocked by the goal and with Anfield at full throat they clearly sensed the possibility of a sensational comeback albeit unlikely.
They started to push forward and as Gerrard made his entrance to try and change the game United responded by sending on Mata and Adnan Januzaj.
However, in the end it was left to the captain to have the final stamp on the game. After another clumsy challenge Rooney was left with the opportunity to finish the game from a free-kick. He responded superbly to the challenge, curling the ball into the top corner from 29 yards out.
This was an emphatic statement from United as they bid to return to the Champions League at the first time of asking. It will be interesting to see whether or not Van Gaal adopts this attacking style on Sunday or if he prefers to play more defensively in order to protect his team’s points lead.