Date: 19th February 2006 at 10:50am
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Sadly, Alan Smith was booed off by a section of the Kop after breaking his leg. But there were more contentious issues apart from the Smith injury.

United skipper Gary Neville managed to survive a similar ordeal on his 31st birthday, although he picked up a yellow card. He put in a highly professional performance in the face of persistent abuse from the Anfield fans, following his wild celebrations of United’s winner at Old Trafford last month.

Neville had objects – including a half-eaten hamburger – thrown at him during the second half and referee Howard Webb clearly pointed that out to fourth official Mark Halsey.

Stewards had to calm down the United fans who were abusing Gerrard at a corner, and there was a flurry of incidents after the final whistle in the corner of the ground where United’s 6,200 followers were separated from Liverpool’s gloating throng.

Fourth official Halsey also had to force Liverpool coach Pako Ayesteran off the pitch after he had unwisely ventured over the touchline to remonstrate with referee Webb, so the official’s report promises to be packed.

But it is the passion that makes this such a great fixture.

United are in the Carling Cup final next Sunday, and that is 90 minutes to put this to bed. But we’ve got a week of gloating to face until Neville picks up that cup.