Reds beat United to win Charity Shield

12 August 2001

Liverpool took their trophy tally for the year 2001 to four with another victory against arch-rivals Manchester United in Cardiff.

The Reds had begun to make a habit of beating Alex Ferguson's title winners having achieved the double over the Red Devils during the previous campaign and they made it a third straight win with a 2-1 success in the Millennium Stadium.

The ground had become something of a second home for Kopites and was even dubbed 'Anfield South' by supporters who were growing accustomed to the sight of Gerard Houllier's side lifting trophies there.

United went into the match as favourites but were stunned within seconds of the kick-off when Liverpool poured forward and were awarded a penalty when Danny Murphy was upended by Roy Keane.

The ever reliable Gary McAllister stepped up and coolly sent Fabien Barthez the wrong way to give Houllier's men the lead.

It was a sensational start to the season's curtain raiser and before United had had a chance to recover the Reds doubled their advantage courtesy of Michael Owen.

The diminutive striker seized possession following a slip from Jaap Stam before wrong-footing Gary Neville and dispatching the ball beyond Barthez.

With just 15 minutes on the clock the scoreboard read: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0.

Having built their treble winning success on the back of a solid defence the Reds looked well capable of keeping United at bay, although Sander Westerveld had to be at his best to deny Roy Keane's header with an acrobatic save.

Liverpool always looked capable on the counter attack and were unlucky not to make it three when Murphy's lob was hooked off the line by United full-back Denis Irwin.

As the half came to a close Keane gave Liverpool a cameo of what lay ahead in the second-half when he smashed a superb 25-yard drive against the woodwork with Westerveld well beaten.

Houllier will no doubt have warned his side about a fast start from United in the second-half, but if he did they did not take heed of his words, as Ruud van Nistelrooy showed just what kind of threat he would pose the Premier League by collecting a Ryan Giggs and rounding his compatriot Westerveld to make it 2-1 on 50 minutes.

The goal gave the champions a massive lift and Liverpool had to survive a series of second-half scares as they held on to claim another sweet victory in Anfield South.

Despite another significant win against their rivals Reds boss Houllier was reluctant to get too carried away.

"At the moment I am worried because the team which has won the Charity Shield in recent years has not won the title," said Houllier.

"I don't think you can draw conclusions from this match."

It was an opinion similar to that of man of the match Sander Westerveld.

He said: "It doesn't say too much about the season.

"Last year Chelsea beat them 2-0 and had high expectations.

"We played well and it's a good result but it doesn't say anything about the Championship."

Westerveld added: "Some people say this match doesn't matter, but a cup is a cup. It is never a friendly against Manchester United."