Was this why Manchester United defender Rafael was so poor in the defeat to Liverpool?

The Brazilian has an understandable excuse for below-par display at Old Trafford

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The Independent Football

Manchester United's performance against Liverpool on Sunday has been widely condemned.

The side gave away three penalties, deserved to concede more, saw Nemanja Vidic sent off and looked generally clueless against their bitter rivals.

Among the worst performers was right-back Rafael, who himself was lucky to stay on the pitch after escaping a second-booking from referee Mark Clattenberg.

In The Independent's player-ratings (below), the Brazilian was given a score of five-out-of-10, along with the write-up: "Lucky to remain on the pitch for the second period after an ugly tackle on Gerrard and then handball for the first penalty. Offered little in attack, too."


Yet in Rafael's defence, it has emerged that he only had a few hours sleep prior to the 3-0 defeat as the 23-year-old had been attending the birth of his latest child.

It's reported that Rafael only managed to get to bed at 5am prior to Sunday's lunchtime kick-off.

The right-back is understood to have had David Moyes' blessing to attend the birth.