VIDA

Remembering all the times Nemanja Vidic went to pieces against Fernando Torres and Liverpool

The big Serbian often had a torrid time against the Reds back in the day

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 usually offer up an entertaining but rowdy affair with goals, drama and plenty of bookings.

One name who’s synonymous with the North West Derby is United legend Nemanja Vidic, who played plenty of times against the Reds between 2007 and 2014.

And it’s fair to say 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 in his chastening afternoon against Fernando Torres when Liverpool ram out 4-1 winners at Old Trafford in 2009.

AFP
Vidic seemingly hated playing against Torres

But let’s delve a little deeper into all of the occasions Vidic faced the Reds and kinda went to pieces… especially when facing Torres.

The early years

AP:Associated Press
These two were alright, weren’t they?

Most of the time, Vidic was pretty good (we know; that’s a massive understatement).

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 – when the Red Devils lifted the Champions League, clinched the Premier League title by two points and had two rather successful outings against their bitter foes Liverpool.

The Serbian had a quiet time in both encounters, 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.

PA:Press Association
The Serbian enjoyed a good start to life against the Reds

But it was in the following season that 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 that season 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

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The usually-reliable Serb seemed to go to pieces against Liverpool

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.

PA:Press Association
Hauling down Kuyt earned him his third red card in the fixture

Later that year, Liverpool enjoyed a 2-0 run out that saw Vidic’s long-time centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand get turned over by Torres.

Vidic even managed to complete his hat-trick of red cards in the fixture with a late foul on Dirk Kuyt.

Rivalry intensifies 

Bradley Ormesher - The Times
Rivals

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 above him inside five minutes to head home the opener.

Vidic would later get a yellow card for pulling the 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 around in United’s favour.

PA:Empics Sport
By this stage, Vidic was captain of United

There was another big scoreline in September 2010, when Berbatov inspired United with a stunning overhead kick to secure a 3-2 win.

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

EPA
There was something not quite right with Torres in his last season at Liverpool

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 Ryan 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.

Getty Images - Getty
Vida always struggled with discipline against the big sides

That wasn’t it for Vidic though, returning from injury in August 2012 before another campaign in-and-out of the starting line-up.

And in January 2013 he faced Liverpool yet again – this time against Brendan Rodgers – and the Serbian notched a rare goal for United.

Talk about highs and lows.

AP:Associated Press
No player has picked up more red cards against a single opponent than Vidic has against the Reds

But a year later, he would suffer his fourth and final red card against Liverpool 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.

Vidic – in typical style – took out Daniel Sturridge late in the second-half to complete 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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