Manchester United came back from two defeats to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Monday night. Jadon Sancho opened the scoring with Marcus Rashford doubling the lead before Mohamed Salah got Liverpool back in the game. It was not enough for them though.
United started in fine fettle against their bitter rivals, whose fans thought this would be an easy three points. Marcus Rashford almost opened the scoring in the fourth minute after being found by Bruno Fernandes but his shot was blocked.
Christian Eriksen saw an attempt on goal blocked in the eighth minute from outside of the box. IN the tenth minute of the match Anthony Elanga almost scored, hitting the post after Fernandes found him with the ball. That was the chance of the half so far.
After a period of good play, United found their first goal of the season (at least scored by them) in the 16th minute of the match with Jadon Sancho having bags of time as he dummied James Milner and made Virgil van Dijk look like an amateur. What a great finish for his first goal of the season.
Luis Díaz missed the goal in the 19th minute with Liverpool looking for a quick response. However, Rashford then saw his attempt blocked a minute later. Trent Alexander-Arnold was booked in the 24th minute. Raphaël Varane was then booked three minutes later.
Jordan Henderson then saw his effort on goal miss the target as Liverpool continues to fluff their lines at the Theatre of Dreams. The next shot for Liverpool came from Harvey Elliott in the 35th minute, but it was blocked. Liverpool need improvement in this match. Go figure.
Mohamed Salah saw his shot blocked in the 40th minute of the match with Liverpool the second-best team on the pitch in this match. Milner missed a shot a minute later with Elliott also missing a shot on goal. Liverpool just cannot get anything in this half.
Diogo Dalot was booked in the 45th minute of the match just before the end of the half. United have two bookings to Liverpool’s one so far, so will need to watch themselves with defenders on a yellow. It was a good half to United as they went into the break 1-0 up.
At the start of the second half, Ten Hag made one change with Anthony Martial replacing Elanga, which was deemed as a tactical change. Milner saw an attempt blocked in the opening minute of the second half. Liverpool also won a corner, which came to nothing.
Salah then missed another chance in the 49th minute. It should be this Liverpool team getting the bad press coverage this summer, not United. This team is terrible. But it won’t be their fault. Tyrell Malacia played a through ball into Varane in the 52nd minute bit he was offside.
In the next minute, Rashford put United 2-0 up, beating the last man with Martial playing the ball into him. VAR looked at the goal and it was given. Liverpool needed a miracle to come back from this. But there was still time. This United team needed to show up a fortnight ago.
Díaz and Rashford both had attempts saved in the 55th and 56th minutes of the match and Elliott missed the target in the 57th minute. Fabinho replaced Henderson in the 59th minute of the match. Dalot saw a shot blocked in the 61st minute of the match.
Fernandes saw his shot miss the target in the 61st minute too as United looked to increase the damage against Liverpool. Fabinho saw David De Gea saved his effort in the 67th minute. Fred replaced Sancho in the 71st minute before Fábio Carvalho replaced Milner.
Fernandes was booked in the 74th minute for simulation. Rashford tried a through ball in the 74th minute but Martial was offside. Alexander-Arnold did the same for Salah and he was offside in the same minute. Rashford missed the target in the 76th minute.
Carvalho saw his attempt blocked in the 77th minute. Roberto Firmino saw De Gea save his effort to try and get Liverpool back into the match. De Gea then saved Carvalho’s effort on goal. However, Salah found the back of the net in the 81st minute.
Eriksen had a shot on goal in the 83rd minute, aiming to restore United’s two-goal cushion, but he missed the target. Alexander-Arnold also saw his shot miss the target in the 85th minute. Kostas Tsimikas replaces Andrew Robertson in the 85th minute.
Ten Hag then made a triple substitution in the 86th minute with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Donny van de Beek replacing Dalot, Rashford and Eriksen. Ronaldo missed a shot on goal in the first of five minutes of added time.
This United side did what they needed to do against Liverpool, get the victory. They will now go to St Mary’s face Southampton on Saturday knowing that they can get the performances right and get the points that they need.
Ten Hag will be impressed with his players and their performances. Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford inspired this victory.
It just goes to show that United should never be written off, even if they do lose their first two Premier League matches of the season. United lost their first two in the 1992/93 inaugural Premier League season, and they lifted the trophy. I doubt that could happen this season though.
David De Gea: Made som good saves as he looked to turn his back on that Brentford performance. Conceded a late goal from Salah but was largely solid when Liverpool attacked. His distribution was better and from some long balls. ★★★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: Put in a good defensive performance against Liverpool. He even did well to cut Diaz out of the match for long periods. He and his manager will be pleased with this performance, which was needed for him. Replaced by Wan-Bissaka. ★★★★★★★★
Raphael Varane: He’s a leader at the back and will help to solidify the United defence with Casemiro playing in front of the defence. Maguire could be set for a period on the bench, like Shaw if these performances continue. He was booked, but that is a given for a defender like him. ★★★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: The Butcher is Amsterdam is not the Butcher of Manchester. After seeing himself taken off at half time last weekend, he put in a performance that Ten Hag would have known he was capable of against Liverpool. What a player he could be for United. ★★★★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: Luke Shaw looks set for a long stay on the bench if the Dutchman can keep up these performances. He just seems to do everything in that position, which is why Ten Hag has signed him. Obviously, it may not work all the time, but it did tonight. ★★★★★★★★
Scott McTominay: He improved after his performance against Brighton and Hove Albion. He brought fight to the midfield, which will be needed with Casemiro’s signing announced before this match. He put himself to good use and helped to maintain possession at times. ★★★★★★★
Christian Eriksen: Did what he needed to do in the midfield and had a few attempts on goal. He’s a class player and does it all silently, not seeking attention. He will be an important player for United this season. Replaced by van de Beek. ★★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: He put in a good performance against Liverpool and used his pace to trouble the Liverpool defence. He got the assist for Sancho’s opener in the 16th minute of the match and continued to attack with pace and good positioning. Replaced by Martial. ★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: Led the press for United well against Liverpool and looked determined to help change the direction United were heading in. He should perhaps have had an assist for the ball he played into Elanga. Had a mare in defensive duties but it worked out well for United. ★★★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: Had a brilliant game against Liverpool. Seemed to play his part in pushing Liverpool before he found the back of the net, having lots of time and space before he dummied Milner inside the box and what a finish. It was a confidence boost for him. ★★★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Finally looked like the player he did after project restart just after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Did everything he needed to do and broke forward with that run, scoring his first goal of the season, assisted by Martial. Replaced by Ronaldo. ★★★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: Replaced Elanga 46′. Played a great ball into Rashford, who was on the run for him to double United’s lead. It showed why he is so important to this United team. He will get lots of matches this season as long as he stays fit, which is the biggest worry. ★★★★★★★★
Fred: Replaced Sancho 71′. He looks happy to see his Brazil teammate sign for the club and cannot wait to play alongside him. He brought a lot of energy to the midfield and used it well. He will be a big game player for United with his compatriot. ★★★★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Replaced Dalot 86′. He was brought on to give fresh legs in the defence and he did what was needed. Maybe not enough to win his place back, if he does not leave the club this summer, which is rumoured right now. We shall see. ★★★★★
Cristiano Ronaldo: Replaced Rashford 86′. Had a chance on goal minutes after coming on but it did no damage to Liverpool. Won’t have been happy to start on the bench, or play a cameo role. But could this have been his last at Old Trafford? ★★★★★★
Donny van de Beek: Replaced Eriksen 86′. Helped United to keep hold of the ball in the midfield. He will want to play more in matches, which will come this season as soon as the Europa League and the Carabao Cup have commenced for United. ★★★★★★
Goals: Jadon Sancho 16′, Marcus Rashford 53′; Mohamed Salah 81′
Assists: Anthony Elanga 16′, Anthony Martial 53′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 86′), Varane, Martinez, Malacia; McTominay, Eriksen (van de Beek 86′); Elanga (Martial 46′), Fernandes, Sancho (Fred 71′); Rashford (Ronaldo 86′)
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Maguire, Shaw; Garnacho
Bookings: Raphael Varane 27′, Diogo Dalot 45′, Bruno Fernandes 74′; Trent Alexander-Arnold 24′
Written by John Walker