Liverpool against Man United is undoubtedly one of the biggest games in English football.
Often fighting it out near the top of table, the two Premier League giants regularly play out an entertaining but rowdy contest, with goals, drama and plenty of bookings.
One name who seems synonymous with the North West Derby is United legend Nemanja Vidic, who played in plenty of games against the Reds between 2007 and 2014.
The former skipper was often the hero or villain in many of those matches and famously picked up four red cards in the fixture, including one chastening afternoon against Fernando Torres during Liverpool’s 4-1 win at Old Trafford in 2009.
So, ahead of United’s clash against Liverpool on Saturday – a game that could go a long way in deciding who finishes right behind Man City in the Premier League table this season – we’ll take a look at all the occasions Vidic kinda went to pieces against the Reds and especially Torres.
The early years
Most of the time, Vidic was pretty good.
In fact, after just a year at the club, he’d firmly established himself as a regular in United’s first-team during their successful 2007-08 season. The Red Devils lifted the Champions League, clinched the Premier League title by two points and had two rather successful outings against Liverpool.
The Serbian had a quiet time in both games, keeping low-key clean sheets in their 1-0 win at Anfield in December before treating their home support to a 3-0 thumping in March.
The following season, Vidic began his run of red card’s against the Reds as Rafa Benitez earned his first Premier League win over Alex Ferguson.
Both Steven Gerrard and Torres were on the bench for the big game, while Dimitar Berbatov made his United debut and assisted Carlos Tevez for the opener, before Wes Brown netted an own-goal and Ryan Babel struck a late winner.
The day got worse for United as Vidic was sent off for using his elbow against Xabi Alonso on the 90th minute. That was his first.
Red, red, red
The following March produced one of the most famous United/Liverpool scorelines in recent times, as the Reds trounced their bitter rivals 4-1 at Old Trafford.
Torres and Gerrard were on target in that game, as Vidic suffered a harrowing afternoon at the hands of the duo, eventually culminating in a straight red card as he shamefully hauled Gerrard down as he was through on goal.
Later that year, Liverpool enjoyed a 2-0 run out over United that saw Vidic’s long-time centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand get turned over by Torres, who was perhaps at his very best at this stage.
Vidic still managed to complete his hat-trick of red cards in the fixture with a late foul on Dirk Kuyt.
By 2010, the rivalry between Vidic and Torres was one of the most talked about in the Premier League and Vidic was the subject of plenty of jokes in the stands of Anfield.
And at the return fixture at Old Trafford later that season, Torres once again got the better of the Serb, towering about him inside five minutes to head home the opener.
Vidic would later get a yellow card for pulling Spaniard’s shirt, but he managed to keep his cool throughout the 90 minutes to stay on the pitch and watch Wayne Rooney and Park Ji-sung turn the game in United’s favour.
There was another big scoreline in September 2010, when Berbatov inspired United with a stunning overhead kick to secure a 3-2 win at Old Trafford.
Gerrard scored twice in six minutes midway through the second half, from the penalty spot and a 20-yard free-kick, both awarded for fouls on Torres, although Vidic wasn’t to blame for either, surprisingly.
Change of guard
The great Kenny Dalglish returned to the Liverpool dugout in early 2011 and took the reigns straight away in their FA Cup fourth round clash at Old Trafford.
And he got off to an awful start as Daniel Agger took out Berbatov inside 30 seconds, allowing Giggs to slot home from the penalty spot.
Torres started the match but was bizarrely out of sorts and would later join Chelsea in a stunning £50million move on transfer deadline day. Truly an end of an era, as the Reds snapped up Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll as his replacements.
That wasn’t it for Vidic though, but he suffered a season-ending injury in late 2011, returning in August 2012 before another campaign in-and-out of the starting line-up.
But in January 2013, Vidic faced Liverpool yet again – this time against a Brendan Rodgers charged Liverpool – and the Serbian notched a rare goal for United.
But a year later, he would suffer his fourth and final red card against the Reds in a dreadful 3-0 loss at Old Trafford.
Gerrard and Suarez were on target for the title-challengers as United continually struggled under David Moyes (he, of course, got sacked a month later).
Vidic took out Daniel Sturridge late in the second-half, completing his red card tally against the Reds that still stands as the most any player has received against a single opponent in the history of the Premier League.
Something about those Reds, eh?
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