Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believed his players answered their critics in Sunday’s victory over Manchester United.
Second-half goals from Fernando Torres and David Ngog allowed Liverpool to end a run of four successive defeats, their worst spell of form since 1987.
“The players showed character and the fans were behind the players, we had 12 men, Benitez told Skysports
”I am very pleased for the club, the players and all the staff. We needed to change our luck with a win, and this was a fantastic win. Beforehand we were talking that this was the perfect game to change our luck, against a good team. We needed to perform in front of our fans, and to show what we were capable of. It was a fantastic performance from our players.
”Small details against such good opposition can be the difference,” he added. “They had some early chances, but we were on top of them from the beginning.
“But when Fernando scored the goal, that made the difference. The team wanted to win, to show what they could do. And with every last one of our fans behind us right to the end, we managed it. Hopefully that win will now kick-start our season. I am sure we have a team good enough to win many games in a row.”
“We cannot be too excited with this win, we have another game on Wednesday.”
Asked what a result like this proved, Benitez added: “For me that the team is better than people think, and it shows the character and quality that we have.
“I was not really angry (about the speculation surrounding his future), I was just trying to be focused on my job. The only way to change things in football is to win games.”
“The mentality was good, everyone was working together, plus the goalkeeper (Jose Reina) to the last fan on The Kop. The players answered a lot of questions, that is the most important thing.”
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thought Liverpool deserved to win, though he claimed that the referee Andre Marriner was influenced by the home crowd.
”It is very difficult atmosphere here,” said Ferguson. “There was a wounded animal aspect to the game and it was something we did not overcome. I think it affected our players and it affected the referee.
“There were so many controversial things that happened we have to feel aggrieved at some of them. The 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 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 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.”
Ferguson was also unhappy that United were not awarded a penaltry for a Carragher challenge on Michael Carrick.
”He has gone right over the top of the ball, ” he said. 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.”