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Ratings: Fernandes and Rashford both score for United in Liverpool defeat; gulf in class and plenty to work on in the summer

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Manchester United were beaten 4-2 by Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match, assisted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, although the goal was initially credited as an own goal by Nathaniel Phillips. Diogo Jota, assisted by Phillips levelled the score in the 34th minute with Roberto Firmino scoring a brace either side of the break to put Liverpool further ahead. Marcus Rashford, assisted by Edinson Cavani, got United back into the match in the 68th minute but it was not enough for United. Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s fourth in the 90th minute.

It was an even start to the match with Liverpool wanting a penalty in the second minute after Roberto Firmino’s cross hit the hand of Eric Bailly, who was in a natural position trying to block the cross. Nothing was given by the referee, as should be the case. United had a great chance in the early stages after Alisson passed the ball out to Edinson Cavani and the Uruguayan was wide of the target, which was a massive let off for Liverpool. United took the lead in the tenth minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes firing towards goal, which seemed to be off target and Nathaniel Phillips stuck his leg out with the ball hitting the back of the net.

It was starting to look like a good performance by United as they were really getting at the Liverpool players, which is something their fan base will never admit because of injuries and probably the fact that United had better players and it not being fair. I won’t make them cry too much though. Liverpool wanted a penalty after Bailly made what seemed like a last-ditch clearance which also took out Phillips. The referee gave the penalty but VAR did not award it. United could have scored minutes later through Paul Pogba but his header on goal needed another touch before it could have become a problem for Alisson.

United eventually conceded in the 34th minute of the match after being under pressure form a corner and former Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Diogo Jota finding the back of the net, minutes after he tested Dean Henderson, assisted by Phillips. Liverpool then had a period of the match on top, getting the better of United in their own area, which then resulted in United regaining possession and having a shot on goal through Pogba, beating Alisson but was off target, hitting the side netting. Three minutes were added at the end of the first half with United on the attack through Pogba, passing to Fernandes who saw his shot blocked.

Liverpool ended up sneaking a goal just before the end of the half with Roberto Firmino beating Henderson to lead 2-1 with the assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold. It would have been a blow for United, who now need to work much harder against Liverpool to get something from this match. United’s goal was awarded to Fernandes, so was not an own goal for Phillips and therefore Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s assist will stand, which was his fifth of the season. Fernandes is on 28 goals so far this season, at this point in the match but United will need to have a positive second half to get level then fight for a victory.

Liverpool scored a third goal in the 47th minute of the match after a combination of errors between Bailly and Fred. Firmino scored his second goal of the game, either side of the half. Liverpool then had more chances as United looked to weather the storm. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Mason Greenwood replacing Fred. In the 68th minute of the match, United got a second goal of the match after a good attacking run saw Edinson Cavani play the ball into Marcus Rashford, scoring his 21st goal of the season with Cavani getting his fifth assist of the season. United had a period of progress after that goal.

Solskjaer brought on Nemanja Matic in the 86th minute of the match with Bailly coming off, looking uncomfortable as he walked up the steps into the stand. Liverpool then took full advantage from the match, scoring their fourth goal of the evening with Mohamed Salah one-on-one with Henderson, getting the advantage and securing what would be a disastrous defeat for United at Old Trafford. It will be an evening that all the Ole Out brigade will be in full force putting their agendas on the table, not taking into account the fact that Harry Maguire is clearly the player in the defence that keeps United ticking over.

That is two defeats in a row for United in the Premier League, both at Old Trafford, meaning they have lost six matches this season, which will be boiling point for those fan cam wannabes who shout in a room on their own and spit at their phone. Granted, it is bad for United to be losing these matches but it is not the end of the world. United have two more matches in the league this season and they are already guaranteed a top four finish but would like to be the runner’s up to Manchester City, who were crowned Premier League champions after United’s defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday evening.

United face Fulham at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening which is the final home match of the season. Supporters will also be back in the stadium, in some kind of capacity so that will be interesting to see as not one supporter has been at a match at Old Trafford since March 2020. United will then face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday 23 May 2021 and United will be expected to secure their second-placed finish in the league – not that it matters as the same things is provided for second, third and fourth place. The UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal then beckons.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Made two saves to thwart Jota before he scored in the 34th minute. He made an error for Firmino's error. He's a competent goalkeeper and will need this result to become better but people will write him off now as they have no patience.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Assisted for Fernandes in the tenth minute. His fifth assist of the season. He was one of the better performers of the evening.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Looked lost without Maguire next to him. Hopefully he starts to shown signs of recovery for the Europa League final.

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3 Eric Bailly

Seemed to concede a penalty but VAR did not give it. That was lucky for him. His new contract looks embarrassing after this performance. He was rash, reckless and did not look competent at all.

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23 Luke Shaw

He's had a great season so far but in this match, he would love to forget it all. Was not his attacking self and played a part in Firmino's second goal of the evening.

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39 Scott McTominay

The McFred duo did not work against Liverpool. Both were inept at times. Neither was better than the other. McTominay persevered but there was no real output in this match.

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17 Fred

A much as he has been playing this season, he should be better than this. Helped Liverpool get their third goal, which was not great. Was replaced by Greenwood in the 63rd minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Greenwood could have started in his place. He did get his 21st goal of the season but his form needs to improve drastically. United need to be on top of their game for the Europa League final.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored his 28th goal of the season, despite it looking like a Phillips own goal. Could have helped get United to grab the game by the throat but he seems tired, which is not a good sign.

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6 Paul Pogba

Seemed to play better when he was brought back deeper against Liverpool. Firmino got the better of him at times.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Perhaps should have scored when Alisson gifted him, but he gifted Alisson back with a miss. Seemed absent at times but got his fifth assist of the season for Rashford's 21st goal of the season.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Fred 63'. Helped to change the game a little with Rashford scoring within five minutes of him coming on but it was not enough for United.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Bailly 86'. Came on to help limit the damage but gave away the ball for Salah to score Liverpool's fourth of the evening.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 10′, Marcus Rashford 68′; Diogo Jota 34′, Roberto Firmino 45+3′, 47′, Mohamed Salah 90′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 10′, Edinson Cavani 68′; Nathaniel Phillips 34′, Trent Alexander-Arnold 45 +3′, Curtis Jones 90′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly (Matic 86′), Shaw; McTominay, Fred (Greenwood 63′); Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Diallo, Van de Beek

Bookings: Eric Bailly 48′, Scott McTominay 79′

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW