No thriller but fans of Liverpool and United still thrilled by legends
Fans still happy to watch their heroes play at half of their previous abilities
LIVERPOOL MASTERS 2
(Luis Garcia 16, Dietmar Hamann 71)
MAN UTD MASTERS 0
The 27,000-strong crowd held their breath as Jan Kromkamp's tantalising right-wing cross fizzed across the six-yard box.
The sea of red at the National Stadium would have bet their last dollar on Robbie Fowler to thump it in at the back post and seal victory for the Liverpool Masters against the Manchester United Masters in the Castlewood Group Battle of the Reds last night.
Alas, "God" showed he was mere mortal as he took an extra touch before sending his 58th-minute shot into the side netting.
Oh, how the Liverpool faithful groaned but, even if the football on display was ordinary, the fans still cheered on their respective legends.
While the half-time penalty contest yielded three times as many goals as Liverpool's 2-0 win, the players did come with plenty of pedigree.
The Reds had Champions League heroes - goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek and midfielder Dietmar Hamann (who sealed the win with a 71st-minute thunderbolt) - while Fowler and Ian Rush were a strike partnership who scored 529 goals for Liverpool.
DEVILS YOU KNOW
The Red Devils also had their own crop of players crowned kings of Europe, with Ronny Johnsen and Louis Saha in their starting line-up, as fan favourites Lee Sharpe and Andrei Kanchelskis also featured.
While other exhibition matches may be more casual, the two sets of players gave no quarter to each other and showed just how big the Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry is, even as former professionals.
In September, Fowler had kicked out at Bojan Djordjic as United won 4-2 in Stockholm and, last night, things threatened to spill over too as Jesper Blomqvist squared up to Bjorn Tore Kvarme, while Quinton Fortune was also involved in a running feud with Luis Garcia.
The on-pitch drama bore a striking resemblance to the current state of affairs at Anfield and Old Trafford.
After a minute of silence as a mark of respect to those affected by the attacks in Paris, Liverpool were full of running and displayed more intelligent off-the-ball movement and combinational play, as if new Reds manager Juergen Klopp had drilled them before the match.
United were more like the additional security officers at the stadium, patiently patrolling but pretty boring, much like how Louis van Gaal's team have been criticised of late.
Man United fan Abhay Verma, 11, said: "They are just passing it around, not doing much in attack.
"I don't know many of the players but I know Saha, I watched his goals on YouTube and I'm still happy to watch Manchester United play here even though they lost."
There were flashes of brilliance and excitement, such as Sharpe's nutmegs, Saha's mazy runs, Dudek's wonder save from Keith Gillespie, who also had a strong penalty claimed waved away by referee Farhan Mohd in the 58th minute that could have made it 1-1.
But ultimately, there was a lack of penetration. Not that the fans minded, though.
Man United fan Azam Jibani, 41, said: "It was great to be here, great to see all these players even at their current age. Obviously, they are not as fast as they once were, but their touches are still there."
Liverpool fan Stephen Tan, 36, agreed, and said: "It's a friendly match and so the slower tempo is expected.
"I've been following the Masters event since 2013, my favourite players are (Patrik) Berger, Fowler and Rush, so it's great that they are playing tonight so I get to watch them all."
United and Pool players unite for Paris tragedy
PRAY FOR PARIS: The Masters teams of Man U (above) and Liverpool (right) observing a minute of silence for the victims of the Paris attacks.
It is still widely regarded as the biggest rivalry in the English Premiership.
But unity, rather than enmity, was the theme of the night as Liverpool and Manchester United came together in the wake of the horror attacks in Paris on Friday.
Ahead of kick-off in yesterday evening's Castlewood Battle of the Reds at the National Stadium, players from both Masters teams gathered together to observe a minute of silence.
There was still the matter of a football match to be played and both teams did their best to give the estimated 27,000 crowd something to cheer about, with the Merseyside outfit winning 2-0, thanks to goals from Luis Garcia and Dietmar Hamann.
Still, there was a bit of a subdued feel to the game, especially considering their last meeting had ended in a thrilling 4-2 win to United in Stockholm, Sweden.
Midfielder Quinton Fortune, who had been one of United's better performers last night, admitted the tragic news had affected the complexion of match.
"Of course, we feel sad to lose but, when we heard the news, everything automatically changed," said the South African.
"I would just like to take this opportunity to say our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.
"A thing like this just changes everything and it makes you appreciate everything more."
Also expressing his sympathy, Hamann, who sealed Liverpool's win with a trademark 25-metre piledriver in the 71st minute, insisted that football would do whatever it could to help with the healing process.
The 42-year-old said: "Whenever tragedies happen, you can see the football community always comes together regardless of that big rivalry between the clubs and countries when you play.
"Obviously, there's very little football can do but it's important to carry on and football is something that brings people together and unites them."
Legendary Wales striker Ian Rush, who was the manager of the Liverpool Masters side, praised the fanatical support they had again received from their Singapore fans.
"Every time we come to these parts of the world, the fans are incredible, both Liverpool and Man United," Rush added.
"It was fantastic just seeing the supporters who turned up and that never changes.
"It helps that there's such a history to the rivalry between the two clubs and both sides always want to win for their fans when we play each other."
Although there was little for the United fans to shout about in the end, manager Paul Parker said it was still a positive experience for the United players.
The ex-United and England right back said: "Living in Singapore, I was aware of it (the passionate supporters) and I just tried to convince the others guys how great the crowd would be and how much it means to the Singapore fans.
"This year, it's been as big of an event as I've ever known.
"This one really grabbed everybody's attention and I think everyone who came along enjoyed himself and got something about it, and would definitely turn up if it happened again."