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Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Ferguson questions key decisions

Jamie Carragher (left) and Ryan Giggs remonstrate with the referee
Ferguson felt that referee Marriner was affected by the atmosphere

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes key decisions went against Manchester United as they lost to Liverpool.

Ferguson conceded Liverpool deserved their 2-0 win but felt his team and referee Andre Marriner struggled with the intimidating atmosphere at Anfield.

"All in all Liverpool were the better team but I think it affected our players and the referee," he said.

"There were so many controversial things that happened we have to feel aggrieved at some of them."

Fernando Torres and David Ngog scored second-half goals as Liverpool took the spoils in a match where they created the majority of the chances.

The atmosphere is hard to handle for a referee. Whether he had enough experience, I don't know

Sir Alex Ferguson

But Ferguson, recently charged by the Football Association following remarks about the fitness of referee Alan Wiley, thought that three crucial decisions went against his team.

United had a first-half penalty appeal turned down when Jamie Carragher challenged Michael Carrick and Ferguson added: "He has gone right over the top of the ball.

"If it is outside of the box it is a free-kick and maybe a yellow card but it was inside the box and the referee was only six yards from it. It was another bad decision."

Nemanja Vidic was sent off after picking up two yellow cards, but by then Carragher had avoided instant dismissal when bringing down United substitute Michael Owen.

Performance disappoints Phelan

With Liverpool clinging onto a 1-0 lead and four minutes plus injury time remaining, the former Liverpool striker appeared poised for a clean run at goal - but Carragher was only booked by Marriner.

Ferguson said: "Every decision, the crowd put the referee under pressure all the time.

"The most controversial decision was Carragher bringing down Michael Owen. He was clear through.

"The laws of the game were altered to prevent professional fouls of that nature and if Carragher goes off, he is their best player and their captain. It would have been a different game. They would have been under pressure.

"The referee was only four or five yards from it so he cannot use a covering defender as an excuse. Michael was clean through. With Michael's pace he is going to get away from him.

"The first Vidic booking was the worst decision. It is a foul, fine, but the player has played on, he won the second ball and knocked it for a throw in and got booked. It put Nemanja under pressure.

"The atmosphere is hard to handle for a referee. Whether he had enough experience, I don't know."

Phil McNulty

Ferguson also expressed disappointment with the ability of his own players to come to terms with the noise inside Anfield.

"There was a wounded animal aspect to the game and it was something we did not overcome," commented the Scot.

"It was a disappointing performance by us, in the first half in particular. We did not handle the decisions against us."

United created precious few chances during the match and Ferguson added: "Liverpool created the better chances and I have no complaints. We were not good enough but we will always react to defeat - that is the most important thing about this club."

Liverpool had lost their previous four games, their worst sequence of results since 1987.

Rafael Benitez's team are in danger of failing to qualify from the group stage of the Champions League after their midweek defeat by Lyon and started the day in eighth place in the Premier League.

However, Benitez said: "The players have answered a lot of questions and that's the most important thing. The team is better than people think."

Benitez's future had been the subject of intense speculation but the Spaniard claimed: "I have not read the papers too much.

Benitez delighted with victory

"I was focused on the things we could control - the training sessions and mentality of the players.

"I am really pleased but not just for me - for the players and the fans."

Benitez showed no emotion after Torres put the Reds ahead after 65 minutes when he shrugged off Rio Ferdinand before smashing the ball beyond Edwin van der Sar with a right-foot strike.

Torres, unlike Steven Gerrard, had been passed fit to play and lasted 80 minutes before he was substituted.

"I was enjoying it but on the inside - we were against a good team and I was thinking about how to create chances and control the opposition," revealed Benitez.

"It was a great goal - always he is a threat. Torres was a bit tired and it was difficult for him but he made the difference."

Premier League results

25 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Bolton 3-2 Everton R
Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd R
Man City 2-2 Fulham R
West Ham 2-2 Arsenal R

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 25 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 10 16 24
2 Man Utd 10 10 22
3 Arsenal 9 16 19
4 Tottenham 10 7 19
5 Liverpool 10 11 18
6 Man City 9 7 18
7 Aston Villa 9 5 17
8 Sunderland 10 3 16
9 Stoke 10 -2 15
10 Wigan 10 -5 13
11 Burnley 10 -12 12
12 Bolton 9 -1 11
13 Fulham 9 -2 11
14 Everton 9 -3 11
15 Birmingham 10 -4 10
16 Blackburn 9 -11 10
17 Wolverhampton 10 -7 9
18 Hull 10 -14 8
19 West Ham 9 -4 6
20 Portsmouth 10 -10 4

see also
Benitez hails quality of Torres
26 Oct 09 |  Liverpool
Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Sunday football as it happened
25 Oct 09 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
25 Oct 09 |  Football
Reds fans march in owner protest
25 Oct 09 |  Merseyside
Ferguson hit with FA fine and ban
12 Nov 09 |  Man Utd
Benitez job safe says Reds chief
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League

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