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Ratings: Shaw played well; Fernandes and Rashford in with the chances to find a winner against Liverpool but a draw is where it ended

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday evening. It was a game of few credible chances. Perhaps the best opportunity was from Bruno Fernandes after United won a free-kick in the first half of the match. The ball dipped towards the top far corner, just missing the target and seeing United frustrated. Marcus Rashford had a chance in the second half with Edinson Cavani splitting away from him, Rashford having the ball and the three defensive players and being marked off the ball with Cavani unmarked and in space which could have resulted in the first goal of the game, if he had it.

United started well against Liverpool, having a lot of the ball in the early stages of the match. However, Liverpool then jumped in to start to control the match. Liverpool had 67% of the ball in the first half, having nine shots on goal; one of those on target. United had just one shot which was not on target. United looked to do well with Anthony Martial on the left, Paul Pogba on the right and Marcus Rashford playing in the centre-forward position. United will have been happy at half time with the game still 0-0 and all to play for. Bruno Fernandes had the best chance in the first half with a free-kick, which was just wide of the target.

Nearly eight minutes into the second half, United were pushing to get something from the game with Bruno Fernandes getting forward and trying to create something against the reigning champions, who could be there for the taking in this match. Nothing came of the attack but it was enough to keep Liverpool thinking. The home side then launched an attack with Mohamed Salah chasing the ball but United’s defence doing enough to see David De Gea ending up gathering the ball with the Egyptian frustrated from the attack, which was great to see. Liverpool seem to be lacking the confidence and a goalscoring ability at the moment.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 61st minute of the match with Edinson Cavani replacing Martial. United were pushing to get forward from there with a few chances being created but nothing coming from them. Liverpool then used their might to break forward, United doing what they needed to do defensively to thwart the threat of the reigning Premier League champions. United won a corner in the 71st minute with Paul Pogba getting his head to it but Alisson gathering the ball easily to send Liverpool on the attack once more, an attack which eventually came to nothing with United regaining possession through De Gea.

Both Liverpool and United had a fair few chances in the late stages of the game with United breaking forward through Rashford with Cavani going wide to the left and Rashford on the right, dragging all three defensive players with him leaving Cavani unmarked. Rashford tried to do something but Liverpool played the ball back into United’s half to find something of their own, which never came. Solskjaer made a second substitution in the 89th minute with Mason Greenwood replacing Bruno Fernandes with the score still 0-0 and both teams seeking a goal to win the game. Sadly, a goal was not coming and the teams would share the points.

United will be back in Premier League action on Wednesday evening as they face Fulham at Craven Cottage in a. match that United would need to get back to winning ways to add some pressure to those at the top of the table. There were no winners in this match but Manchester City, who could go top of the league should they beat Crystal Palace, could be the victors from this match, piling more pressure on Liverpool in their bid to retain the Premier League crown this season, which was always going to be hard for them but they did not seem to worry how hard it was to do just that.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Kept a clean sheet, which is one of the positives from the match. Made a few good saves to keep United in the game, not that Liverpool really punished United with the blistering attack that they are known for.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did well defensively and got forward much of the time. Did not play the difference on the attack though, which is something I would like to see a bit more from him.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Recovered from his lower back injury and gave Bailly a rest ahead of United's next game, against Fulham on Wednesday. United will have more strength in depth in the midfield with him back in the swing of things.

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5 Harry Maguire

Played well against Liverpool and in the second half, stopped the attack of Firmino, ensuring the ball came off the Brazilian and that a corner was not awarded, which may have been luck rather than meant to happen. Got far forward in the second half on an attack to keep the ball rolling for United. Will be annoyed only taking a point from this game but thrilled with a clean sheet.

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23 Luke Shaw

I think Shaw did well at left-back, getting forward for much of the game and using his brain to try and help get the better of Liverpool. One of the better players in the match for me.

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39 Scott McTominay

Did what he needed to do in midfield against Liverpool. Never really did much to win the game with Liverpool rising to the challenge despite the injuries in their squad this season. Good to see him play a good game though.

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17 Fred

At times he seemed to be the Fred that was dropped by Mourinho but at others he was the Fred that won his place back in the the team under Solskjaer. In the first half have passed the ball well to get United forward, continuing into the second half with United looking to find a goal. He had the ball dribbled past him a fair few times in this match, something he will need to reflect on, learn from and sort out in the future.

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6 Paul Pogba

The Frenchman scored the only goal against Burnley but he should have done more against Liverpool. He lost the ball a few times and his passing was shocking at times. Pogba should have scored again, his first touch was good but his shot was straight at Alisson, making it an easy save for him.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Had the best chance to put United ahead in the game in the first half from a free-kick, dipping the ball into the top far corner, which just missed the target.

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9 Anthony Martial

After suffering an injury against Burnley, Martial recovered for the clash with Liverpool and played his part in the match. Despite not scoring, or creating much, United needed another option with resulted in the Frenchman being replaced by Cavani in the 61st minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Did well to lead the line for United. He has scored against Liverpool before and was perhaps a good outlet to do that again. His best chance was late in the game, seeing Cavani split off from him with Rashford running to the right and into a cul-de-sac with Cavani unmarked which could have been an assist for Rashford and a goal to win United the match.

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Substitutes

7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Martial 61'. United needed to change the game. Cavani played well and his positioning was good. I think he could have scored has Rashford passed the ball to him, instead of running into a cul-de-sac late in the second half.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Fernandes 89'. Came on late in the game to add more attacking threat.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Pogba, Fernandes (Greenwood 89′), Martial (Cavani 61′); Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek

Bookings: Xherdan Shaqiri 33′, Fabinho 66′; Marcus Rashford 90+4′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba in United’s attack against Liverpool; Cavani on the bench

Manchester United will travel to Anfield this afternoon to take on Liverpool in the Premier League. After beating Burnley earlier in the week, United move to the top of the Premier League table, three points clear of Liverpool ahead of this clash. A victory would see United extend their lead to six points over the current champions with a draw meaning they stay three points clear and a defeat will see United slip back into second-place on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well this season to recover from their poor form at the very start of the season.

The ABU’s continue to mock United being at the top of the Premier League table at this moment in time, despite their own team’s failure and those so-called United supporters who do not value Solskjaer seem to suggest that United are only top in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which is incredulous to say the least. United will be seeking to maintain the pressure on Liverpool this season which could become a title race providing that United continue to win their matches. United have not beaten Liverpool since the 10 March 2018 with the club unbeaten at Anfield since 2017.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Pogba, Fernandes, Martial;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Greenwood

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Fabinho, Robertson;

Shaqiri, Thiago, Wijnaldum;

Salah, Firmino, Mane

Substitutes:

Kelleher; R. Williams, Phillips, N. Williams; Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones; Minamino, Origi

United and Liverpool have played 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28 of the meetings, drawing 14 and losing 15. United have scored a total of 77 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 63 goals, winning six penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 17 cleans sheets with Liverpool keeping 14. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 103 yellow cards with nine red cards being shown. Liverpool have been shown 88 yellow cards with seven red cards. This is an important match for United – a win will see them six points clear of the reigning champions.

In this match at Anfield last season, which was played on the 19 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk opening the scoring in the 14 minute of the match, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah sealing the win three minutes into added time, assisted by Alisson. In the fixture at Old Trafford, which was played on the 20 October 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James and Adam Lallana equalising in the 85th minute of the match, assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Greenwood, Fernandes and Rashford fired up to face Liverpool; Pogba and McTominay in midfield?

Manchester United will travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to take on Liverpool in the Premier League. After beating Burnley earlier in the week, United move to the top of the Premier League table, three points clear of Liverpool ahead of this clash. A victory would see United extend their lead to six points over the current champions with a draw meaning they stay three points clear and a defeat will see United slip back into second-place on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well this season to recover from their poor form at the very start of the season.

The ABU’s continue to mock United being at the top of the Premier League table at this moment in time, despite their own team’s failure and those so-called United supporters who do not value Solskjaer seem to suggest that United are only top in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which is incredulous to say the least. United will be seeking to maintain the pressure on Liverpool this season which could become a title race providing that United continue to win their matches. United have not beaten Liverpool since the 10 March 2018 with the club unbeaten at Anfield since 2017.

How United have faired against Liverpool in the Premier League.

United and Liverpool have played 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28 of the meetings, drawing 14 and losing 15. United have scored a total of 77 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 63 goals, winning six penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 17 cleans sheets with Liverpool keeping 14. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 103 yellow cards with nine red cards being shown. Liverpool have been shown 88 yellow cards with seven red cards. This is an important match for United – a win will see them six points clear of the reigning champions.

In this match at Anfield last season, which was played on the 19 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk opening the scoring in the 14 minute of the match, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah sealing the win three minutes into added time, assisted by Alisson. In the fixture at Old Trafford, which was played on the 20 October 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James and Adam Lallana equalising in the 85th minute of the match, assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has made some massive improvements this season and is part of the reason why United are starting to regain pace in the Premier League. Whilst being at the top of the league means nothing right now, it is the first time that United have looked like the team they used to be post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Granted, United have won trophies under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, but in terms of having a plan, Solskjaer is the manager that has started to put United on the road to winning trophies. De Gea is integral to United achieving things and Dean Henderson’s challenge will only aid that.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence seems to have found some form with Victor Lindelof being on the sidelines through injury which has given Eric Bailly a chance to shine and that is what he has been doing of late. It could give Lindelof a tough task to get back into the squad, at least in a starting position with Bailly;s partnership with Harry Maguire looking good so far. This match will be a test of that partnership though. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles should play in the fullback positions against Liverpool with Wan-Bissaka’s defensive attributes being good and Telles’ attacking credentials being of benefit.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

This is a problem area at this time with so much talent and so far positions in the starting XI. Scott McTominay will be up for the challenge of Liverpool this season, doing well in the last few matches including scoring the quickest brace in the Premier League when United demolished Leeds United before Christmas. Paul Pogba should partner McTominay in midfield as his performance against Burley earlier in the week developed into the second half of the match, which resulted in United scoring the only goal of the game. Both Pogba and McTominay have scored in recent matches now – something both will be seeking to do this weekend.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

This formation has been Solskjaer’s go to formation this season, but there is a chance he might switch things a little to face Liverpool, which in the past has both worked and failed in big matches. Personally, I feel sticking to the same formation would be beneficial, switching it in play if needed. Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have scored a total of 32 goals and 20 assists between them so far this season, which is a good haul of goals and assists, continuing the form of the trio last season. I am sure that all three of them will be seeking to score or assist against Liverpool to keep United at the top of the league.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani, I believe is the best striker at the club at the present time. Granted, he has only scored four goals and two assists this season – six goal contributions but in terms of the positioning on the pitch, he can find spaces that Anthony Martial has not been able to find, helping the Frenchman for the future. Cavani was banned for three matches this season and started against Burnley earlier in the week. Martial was injured and is currently a doubt for the Liverpool match, so based on that I have suggested that Cavani will start. United would do well with his experience and I am sure he will savour the pressure in this big match.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Anthony Martial, Odion Ighalo

United will continue to be able to name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League, using just three of them. In the FA Cup, they are able to use five, which will be the same in the UEFA Europa League when it starts next month, although the remainder of the squad named in the competition will be named on the bench. Against Liverpool, Dean Henderson will be back on the bench, this being a big match so he will be there if needed. In defence, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe could provide something if needed. In midfield, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic’s experience, Daniel James’ pace and Donny van de Beek’s ability in and outside the box could come into play. In attack, Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo could provide something, if they are needed to change the outcome of the game.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Liverpool -v- Manchester United – Premier League – A top of the table clash shows drive, determination and improvement for United

Liverpool -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Anfield, Liverpool

Sunday 17 January 2021, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Paul Tierney  Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Manchester United will travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to take on Liverpool in the Premier League. After beating Burnley earlier in the week, United move to the top of the Premier League table, three points clear of Liverpool ahead of this clash. A victory would see United extend their lead to six points over the current champions with a draw meaning they stay three points clear and a defeat will see United slip back into second-place on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well this season to recover from their poor form at the very start of the season.

The ABU’s continue to mock United being at the top of the Premier League table at this moment in time, despite their own team’s failure and those so-called United supporters who do not value Solskjaer seem to suggest that United are only top in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which is incredulous to say the least. United will be seeking to maintain the pressure on Liverpool this season which could become a title race providing that United continue to win their matches. United have not beaten Liverpool since the 10 March 2018 with the club unbeaten at Anfield since 2017.

Manchester United: WWLWWD

Burnley 1-0 W, Watford 1-0 W, Manchester City 2-0 L, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Leicester City 2-2 D

Liverpool: WLDDWW

Aston Villa 4-1 W, Southampton 1-0 L, Newcastle United 0-0 D, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 7-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W

Top Scorers: Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals this season for Liverpool with Bruno Fernandes scoring 15 goals for United this season.

Manchester United Goals: 15 – Bruno Fernandes, 14 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Edinson Cavani, Scott McTominay, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Daniel James, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United have shown some improvement over the last few months, despite starting the month poorly (September, October, November and December) they have ended in fine form. January started well for United as they beat Aston Villa, then were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City, then beating Watford in the Emirates FA Cup and getting a victory over Burnley to top the Premier League ahead of the clash with Liverpool. United will face Fulham after this match, then Liverpool again in the FA Cup before facing Sheffield United and Arsenal to end another busy month for the club.

Liverpool Goals: 17 – Mohamed Salah, 9 – Diogo Jota, Sadio Mané, 5 – Roberto Firmino, 4 – Takumi Minamino, 3 – Curtis Jones, 2 – Georginio Wijnaldum, 1 – Marko Grujic, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Divock Origi, Andrew Robertson, Xherdan Shaqiri, Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have not done as well as they did last season. Injuries have cost them this season, but it is something that can be looked back for any club, especially United over the past ten years or so. There has always been a costly injury at United from Sir Alex Ferguson to David Moyes, to Louis van Gaal, onto Jose Mourinho and now with Solskjaer. However, United seemed to have turned a corner with a solid plan and decent young players coming to the club in order to succeed. Liverpool are hungry to achieve things this season, retaining the Premier League will be an achievement but United and other clubs look hungry too.

Team News: United has four players ruled out with Liverpool having five ruled out. One player is a doubt for Liverpool with United having three doubts.

Phil Jones (knee), Brandon Williams (knock), Facundo Pellistri (coronavirus) and Marcos Rojo (calf) have all been ruled out of the visit to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. Nemanja Matic (groin), Anthony Martial (thigh) and Victor Lindelof (lower back) all have 50% chances of recovering in time to face Liverpool in the top of the table clash in the Premier League. United do have strength in depth this season and will still be able to field a side capable of beating Liverpool is each of the three players with a chance of making the squad are left out of the clash.

Virgil van Dijk (knee), Joe Gomez (knee), Naby Keita (other), Diogo Jota (knee) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (knee) have all been ruled out of the top of the table clash with United on Sunday. Joel Matip (groin/hip/pelvis) has a 50% chance of being available for the clash but will be the subject of a late fitness test. Jurgen Klopp may not have a full squad to take on United, but his side will be determined to continue their form against United and fight their way back to the top of the Premier League once again this season. Injuries have ben costly to Liverpool this season, but every other club has seen them ride their luck for a while now.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood to take on Liverpool and push for glory?

Solskjaer will need to have good tactics against Liverpool as despite their lack of strength at the back at this current time, they are an attacking team and will commit players forward when they can. United will need to be at the best to tackle the problems that Liverpool will look to pile on them. Bruno Fernandes will need to be at the best of his game to take on the reigning champions of the Premier League. Edinson Cavani should lead the line with Anthony Martial coming off the bench if he is indeed passed fit for the match. Cavani should be flanked with Marcus Rashford on the left and Mason Greenwood on the right with Fernandes in behind him. A midfield two of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay could work with a back four of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles ahead of David De Gea in goal.

Match Prediction: 57 matches between United and Liverpool in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawing 14 and losing 15 of them.

United and Liverpool have played 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28 of the meetings, drawing 14 and losing 15. United have scored a total of 77 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 63 goals, winning six penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 17 cleans sheets with Liverpool keeping 14. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 103 yellow cards with nine red cards being shown. Liverpool have been shown 88 yellow cards with seven red cards. This is an important match for United – a win will see them six points clear of the reigning champions.

In this match at Anfield last season, which was played on the 19 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk opening the scoring in the 14 minute of the match, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah sealing the win three minutes into added time, assisted by Alisson. In the fixture at Old Trafford, which was played on the 20 October 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James and Adam Lallana equalising in the 85th minute of the match, assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Review & Ratings: Fred, and Williams did well in Liverpool defeat; United need investment with Rashford injured…

Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the match with Roberto Firmino scoring a second in the 25th minute of the match which was ruled out by VAR. United did has a chance to get back in the game, putting pressure on Liverpool late in the game but the speed of Mohamed Salah was too much for United as his doubled the lead at the death of the game.

Liverpool took the lead in the eighth minute of the match after United gave away a corner. Trent Alexander-Arnold took the corner and a virtually unmarked Virgil van Dijk jumped to meet the ball, sending it straight towards to goal beating David De Gea for the home side to take the lead in the game. In the 25th minute, Liverpool doubles their lead through Roberto Firmino but the goal was ruled out by VAR because of a foul. De Gea was booked for descent before the goal was ruled out.

United came close in the second half with Anthony Martial having the best chance of the game, shooting from an angle and missing the target completely. However, Liverpool were putting United inter severe pressure, hitting the woodwork and just missing the target with De Gea making a good save to deny them from doubling their lead in this game. United might have ben 1-0 down but there was some fight in the game to keep it that way. An equaliser would see a fair result in the game.

Late in the game, United were piling the pressure on Liverpool but not actually pressing for an equaliser. In the dying seconds of the game, Alisson kicked the ball out of the box and Mohamed Salah used his pace to collect it with Daniel James trying to catch him, matching his pace but not able to stop him from scoring the second goal of the game for the Anfield club, winning the game and putting them 30 points clear of United. It is not the end of the world, United will be back – eventually.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unfortunate to concede a goal in the opening eight minutes of the match but he was not going to stop van Dijk from scoring. The second goal was ruled out by VAR but resulted in De Gea being booked for descent. He conceded a second at the death through Salah.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back did well at times and lacks a final ball when playing it into the box. He looks like he needs a rest, which could come this week against Burnley.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The swede seemed to be the liability at times, but at others, he was doing his job. Bailly should be given a chance to form a partnership with Maguire this week.

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5 Harry Maguire

The England defender should have perhaps been marking van Dijk in the opening stages of the game but wasn't. He led United well at times and did the best he could. This team is lacking strength and now that Rashford is out, investment is needed more than ever.

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23 Luke Shaw

Some say he did well, other will say he didn't. He looked rusty, having come back from an illness and was definitely lacking match fitness. He struggled late in the game and was replaced by Dalot.

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17 Fred

The midfielder was probably the best player on the pitch for United. He was everywhere as certain points in the game. Those who continue to criticise him either have too high expectations or they don't actually watch him. It is good United have him right now otherwise they would be further up the creek with no sign of a paddle.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The veteran is a good player to have at this stage of the season with United lacking everything in midfield. If the hierarchy fail to get something down this month, United will be screwed this season.

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21 Daniel James

The Welsh winger seems tired and in need of a rest. Many are speaking out against him on social media as his delivery of crosses/passes has not been great - they talk like they are/have been professional footballers themselves but have only played FIFA.

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Andreas Pereira

I don't think this lad is good enough for United, not as a regular starter anyway. His technical ability is not good enough - he has the fitness but a professional footballer needs more. His passing is not thorough enough and he wastes any time he has to play a positive pass.

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33 Brandon Williams

The defender played well against Liverpool and did what he needed to do, keeping his head held high. He could not stop van Dijk from scoring in the eighth minute of the match but he should not have been marking him. Head held high.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman had the best chance to level in the game, sending his effort off target. He seemed to be aware but had little creativity behind him. Something needs to give with United screaming out for investment. There is a player out there that would be a good signing but United are messing about with penny-pinching tactics that result mainly in failure.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Pereira 74'. Came on late in the game and tried to give something the team was missing. However, it did not work all that well with United conceding at the death of the game.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Williams 74'. The youngster was involved in the game since his introduction and pressured the Liverpool defence, beating van Dijk to a header, however, failing to get a chance on goal with it.

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Diogo Dalot

Replaced Shaw 87'. Came on three minutes from time. Not enough time for him to get all that involved in the game.

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Goals: Virgil van Dijk 14′, Mohamed Salah 90+3′

Assists: Trent Alexander-Arnold 14′, Alisson 90+3′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Dalot 87′); Matic, Fred; James, Pereira (Mata 74′), Williams (Greenwood 74′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Jones; Lingard

Bookings: Mohamed Salah 90+4′; Nemanja Matic 8′, David De Gea 25′, Luke Shaw 72′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial leads the line against Liverpool; Rashford misses out; Bailly on the bench

Manchester United will face Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League this afternoon; the second match between the two teams this season. Back in October, despite scoring first, United ended up drawing 1-1 with Liverpool, being the only team in the Premier League to take points off the club this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to carry United’s recent good form into the match, leaving Merseyside with all three points, however unlikely it may seem at the minute.

Liverpool have gone a full year without a defeat in the Premier League; the last being the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on the 3 January 2019. In the 38 matches played since that match, Liverpool have won 33 and drawn five times. The Merseyside club has drawn one match this season; against United at Old Trafford in October. There are positives to take from that game and possibly take to Anfield aiming for victory.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Fred;

James, Pereira, Williams;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Jones, Dalot; Mata, Lingard; Greenwood

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson;

Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum;

Salah, Firmino, Mane

Substitutes:

Adrian; Matip; Fabinho, Minamino, Lallana, Jones; Origi

United and Liverpool have played a total of 231 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1894. United have won 88 times, drawn 67 times and lost 76 times. The last defeat to Liverpool came in the Premier League back in December 2018, a 3-1 defeat at the Anfield with Sadio Mané opening the scoring, Jesse Lingard equalising with followed with a brace from Xherdan Shaqiri to win the game. Former manager Jose Mourinho was sacked after this defeat.

Liverpool are the team to beat this season – literally no team in the Premier League has beaten them and the only team to take points from that this season was United on the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October. The last time United beat Liverpool was in March 2018 a 2-1 victory in the Premier League with Rashford scoring a brace in the opening 24 minutes of the match and Bailly scoring a 33rd minute own goal to put Liverpool back into the game.

How Manchester United could look against unbeaten Liverpool; Rashford, Martial, James, and Mata to lead the attack; Williams keeps his place?

Manchester United will travel to Anfield to take on Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. It will be the second match in the league between the two teams this season. Back in October at Old Trafford, United earned a 1-1 draw and still to this day are the only team in the league to take points off Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side are unbeaten in the league in their last 38 matches, winning 33 and drawing just five.

United should be motivated for this match. Granted, with injuries, they will not have their best team on the pitch but the best one they can field at this time. Winning the last two matches will be good motivation for the squad but playing at Anfield should motivate them more, especially after the 3-1 defeat in their last match there. Also, the fact that Liverpool could win the league should set something off in their guts, driving them to get a result at any cost on Sunday. This is the United that I want to see emerge from the Anfield tunnel.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one kept a clean sheet in his last game which will give him confidence ahead of the biggest match of 2020. United being the only team to take points off Liverpool in the Premier League will also be a boost for this match. United will need to be on top of their game in order to get a result at Anfield but if they look back to their last visit, which ended in a 3-1 defeat losing Jose Mourinho his job, they should find enough to motivate them for this match. The fact they are leading in the league by as many points as they are should be motivation alone.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

The defence this season is the best defence, statistically, in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era with them conceding just ten shots on goal, on average per match. Harry Maguire, the new club captain is part of this with his assured presence in the centre of defence being a defining factor. If you compare his individual stats to those of Virgil van Dijk, you will also see just how much for former Sheffield United and Leicester City defender has done. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place as what he has offered this season has been great, considering the dire times endured and Brandon Williams will play on the other flank. Victor Lindelof may start this game but the return of Eric Bailly could happen in this match.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic

The midfield is at barebones still with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay on the sidelines through injury. Fred has raised his game this season which has come with an extended period in the starting XI due to injuries. Some will criticise him, others will praise him – he just cannot win. He might not be of the ilk of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane of Bryan Robson but he’s what United have right now and have to accept. Nemanja Matic has been a regular starter in the past six matches, starting five of them. He did well against Wolves on Wednesday evening and may have to be on top form to keep Liverpool at bay. United have nobody else to rely on right now, although Tim Fosu-Mensah could be close to a return.

Attacking Midfielders: Daniel James, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford came off the bench against Wolves on Wednesday evening and had to come off 16 minutes later through injury. It looked like a bad one and despite Solskjaer suggesting that he does not know if he will play, I reckon he will start in this game and probably sit out for a period of time through injury, which will be problematic for the club. Daniel James will probably start on the right despite his poor stats in recent matches with his crosses going astray and his miss against Wolves. Juan Mata may be trusted in the middle of the three behind the striker based on his last two performances where he scored one goal and assist two – definitely a better fit than Jesse Lingard in this position.

Striker: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman will lead the line against Liverpool, the team he came back from injury again back in October. He had an off game against Wolves this week and will need to be on top form to offer anything for his club against the Premier League leaders. 11 goals and three assists for him this season is a good rate of goals and assists but he needs to be doing so much better. In the summer, if not in January, he may face a battle for this position as United will be seeking to bring in another striker to set the pace in the team. Martial should put the work in early and show that he’s the man to build around.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Tim Fosu-Mensah; Mason Greenwood

United will need something on the bench to keep their fight against Liverpool going. Sergio Romero will return to the bench after keeping a clean sheet against Wolves. I think Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot will be the defensive options from the bench with Tim Fosu-Mensah, who play as a defensive midfielder for the U23s last week being another option in both areas. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could be the midfield options with Mason Greenwood the attacking option from the bench, perhaps using his pace and ability late in the game, if he comes on early enough to get up to speed with the game.

Preview: United seeking to become the first Premier League team to beat Liverpool ending their unbeaten record?

Liverpool -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Anfield, Liverpool

Sunday 19 January 2020, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Richard West; Scott Ledger Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss 

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

Manchester United will face Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon; the second match between the two teams this season. Back in October, despite scoring first, United ended up drawing 1-1 with Liverpool, being the only team in the Premier League to take points off the club this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to carry United’s recent good form into the match, leaving Merseyside with all three points, however unlikely it may seem at the minute.

Liverpool have gone a full year without a defeat in the Premier League; the last being the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on the 3 January 2019. In the 38 matches played since that match, Liverpool have won 33 and drawn five times. The Merseyside club has drawn one match this season; against United at Old Trafford in October. There are positives to take from that game and possibly take to Anfield aiming for victory.

Form: Liverpool are the team to beat this season as in the league, no team has beaten them. United are the only team to take points off them in the league this season.

Manchester United: WWLDLW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-0 W, Manchester City 3-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Arsenal 2-0 L, Burnley 2-0 W

Liverpool: WWWWWW

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Everton 1-0 W, Sheffield United 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Leicester City 4-0 W, Flamengo 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Marcus Rashford is the top scorer for United, scoring five more goals (in all competitions) than Mohamed Salah.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 9 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United’s forward three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood have outscored Liverpool’s forward three this season which takes the club in the right direction. However, lacking creativity in midfield and leaking goals against better teams sees United in a problematic position. The recent boost of winning their last two matches will give them belief heading to Anfield to take on the Premier League leaders but this team will need to dig deep to get a result.

Liverpool Goals: 14 – Mohamed Salah, 13 – Sadio Mané, 9 – Roberto Firmino, 5 – Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 4 – James Milner, 3 – Naby Keita, Virgil van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, 2 – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Andrew Robertson, 1 – Jordan Henderson, Ki-Jana Hoever, Curtis Jones, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho

Liverpool are literally the team to beat this season. In the Premier League they have won every match other than one; the match against United at Old Trafford in October. The only other matches they have lost this season is the FA Community Shield, 5-4 on penalties to Manchester City, the first group stage match in the UEFA Champions League, a 2-0 defeat to Napoli and a 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, fielding a youth team with the first team playing in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Team News: United could be boosted with the return of Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah but Marcus Rashford is a doubt for this game; Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay still on the sidelines through injury.

United will be without Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo, Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw for the visit to Anfield. Solskjaer also confirmed that Marcus Rashford will be a doubt after the injury he suffered in the victory over Wolves in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening. Both Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah-Mensah are both lacking match fitness but could be in line to return for the first team this weekend.

Liverpool look set to be without James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, and Naby Keita, whereas Fabio Tavares, Dejan Lovren, and Joel Matip could be doubts for the game. Jurgen Klopp will be happy to see Fabinho back in training this week, although he will not feature against United this weekend. It is set to be a good game and one which could see United become the first team to beat Liverpool in the league this season, if they have it in them.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford to start against Liverpool? Greenwood on the bench to add something late in the game? Matic and Fred to continue in midfield?

Solskjaer may not be able to make too many changes in this game, the most important match of 2020 so far. I think Rashford will start on the left with Anthony Martial as the lead striker. Daniel James on the right with Juan Mata in the middle. The midfield will consist of Fred and Nemanja Matic, although Tim Fosu-Mensah could be close to returning. The back four could consist of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Harry Maguire, and Brandon Williams with David De Gea back in goal.

Match Prediction: Liverpool are the team to beat this season having a 38 match unbeaten run in the Premier League so there is a lot for them to lose if United decide to use the rivalry between the two sides to get a win on the road.

United and Liverpool have played a total of 231 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1894. United have won 88 times, drawn 67 times and lost 76 times. The last defeat to Liverpool came in the Premier League back in December 2018, a 3-1 defeat at the Anfield with Sadio Mané opening the scoring, Jesse Lingard equalising with followed with a brace from Xherdan Shaqiri to win the game. Former manager Jose Mourinho was sacked after this defeat.

Liverpool are the team to beat this season – literally no team in the Premier League has beaten them and the only team to take points from that this season was United on the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October. The last time United beat Liverpool was in March 2018 a 2-1 victory in the Premier League with Rashford scoring a brace in the opening 24 minutes of the match and Bailly scoring a 33rd minute own goal to put Liverpool back into the game.

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

Ratings: When you face a rival, being a coward is not the reaction that was needed! Time for a change…

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 24th minute but nine minutes later, Jesse Lingard fired an equaliser after Alisson made a mistake on the ball. In the second half, two goals from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri won the game for the home side, who had not beaten United at Anfield since March 2016 in the Europa League, September 2013 in the Premier League.

What a cowardly performance from United. It was great that Jesse Lingard scored that equaliser but looking at the lack of desire, ambition and ability after that, it seemed like it was just a fluke rather than something United had the desire to do. United have spent hundreds of millions in redeveloping this club after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. It seems like money has been wasted at every opportunity. United may need to go back to basics now.

I don’t know how things can improve from that showing against a team that is in so much of a better position than United in terms of development. When you look at the money Liverpool have spent recently, you also see the quality that has been added to their team. When you look at the money United have spent, you confuse yourself a lot more looking for the quality. Spending money does not guarantee quality. Roy Keane said these United players have given everything, some of them clearly have nothing to offer.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made eight saves during the entire match against Liverpool. Conceded three goals. Had no chance to save Shaqiri's goals or Mane's goal. Sold out by his defence at times. If De Gea leaves United, they will be lost without him and will never find a capable replacement the longer the club falls into the doldrums.

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Matteo Darmian

Started in a back three, finished as the right-back in a back four. United conceded more goals with four defenders at the back. Got involved with tackles and interceptions but it was clearly not enough for United to weather the threat of Liverpool.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Great to see him make himself available after returning from injury. There were a few moments of nervousness, possible due to a lack of match fitness after a period on the sidelines. Was settled at times in the game. It is a poor result for this team.

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3 Eric Bailly

Came in after an injury to Smalling in the warm up. Helped Liverpool go 3-1 up from a deflection because he tried to get himself between Shaqiri and the ball. It happens. Needs to play more in this team so the defence can settle. It seems obvious that new additions may not be forthcoming.

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Diogo Dalot

The Portuguese defender is a breath of fresh air but is largely inexperienced. Hooked at half-time. He was injured ahead of this game, missing the Valencia match during the week. With more experience, his position in the team will be sealed.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Struggled to regain possession when Liverpool had the ball. Put himself in the way for many Liverpool attempts. One of the trusted players by Mourinho this season.

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21 Ander Herrera

Worked hard during the game. However, defensively, he was poor at times. United not building on possession gave Liverpool control for the majority of the game.

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18 Ashley Young

Cleared the ball off the line which stopped Liverpool from getting out of sight early in the game. Mane had the better of him a few times. Liverpool's second goal came as a deflection off Young. Not his fault, just one of those things.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Scored the equaliser for United after a mistake form Alisson. Put in a great cross in the second half but it was too high for Lukaku to do anything with. Was missing in the second half as Liverpool turned on the charm to get the win.

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Romelu Lukaku

Put the cross into the box which Alisson made a mistake trying to gather. Had little supply and tried to get the better of the wrong defender for the majority of the time. United created little and did not supply much to Lukaku, which has been the case since he arrived.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Worked hard throughout the match. Even got involved in the defensive aspect of the game, which was pretty much for the majority of the game. Looked sharp and ready to get stuck in for United but at times, he was outnumbered.

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Substitutes

27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Dalot 46'. Mourinho changed the entire formation during the half time break. Fellaini replaced Dalot. The Belgian won some headers and tackles but did nothing to avert the danger or make United threaten Liverpool. Seems out of his depth at the moment, despite being a player that can change a game, at times anyway.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Herrera 79'. Probably not fit enough to start. United were 2-1 down on his introduction. The Frenchman did not test Liverpool's defence or the goalkeeper.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Lingard 85'. The Spanish midfielder barely saw the ball. The damage was done before he was brought onto the pitch.

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Goals: Sadio Mane 24′, Xherdan Shaqiri 73′, 80′; Jesse Lingard 33′

Assists: Fabinho 24′, Mohamed Salah 80′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof; Dalot (Fellaini 46′), Matic, Herrera (Martial 79′), Young; Lingard (Mata85′), Lukaku, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones, Valencia; Pogba

Bookings: Diogo Dalot 26′, Romelu Lukaku 40′

Report: Manchester United lacked desire, ambition and ability after 3-1 defeat at Anfield – things must change now…

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 24th minute but nine minutes later, Jesse Lingard fired an equaliser after Alisson made a mistake on the ball. In the second half, two goals from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri won the game for the home side, who had not beaten United at Anfield since March 2016 in the Europa League, September 2013 in the Premier League.

United started well against their North West rivals, breaking up the Liverpool play in midfield, aiming to release both Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku. Liverpool managed to withstand the early attack, breaking forward with an attack of their own. Mohamed Salah drove forward with the ball and released Roberto Firmino, whose shot was blocked, winning the home side a corner, which came to nothing after Lukaku headed the ball clear of the danger.

United found the back of the net in the fourth minute after an Ashley Young free-kick sailed into the back of the net. Lukaku was offside and although he did not touch the ball, he attempted to hit it into the back of the net, with the flag being raised. United conceded a corner in the fifth minute after poor communication led to Nemanja Matic giving away the set-piece. The ball was whipped into the area onto the head of Salah but his shot final was well off target.

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United made a save on the seventh minute after Firmino darted forward, unleashing a daisy-cutter shot which forced David De Gea into making the save at full stretch. Salah reacted quickest to gather the rebound but Victor Lindelof stood in his way, making a crucial challenge to avert the danger. Two minutes later, Lindelof was caught in possession by Salah in United’s half with Liverpool throwing numbers forward. Liverpool ended up winning a corner, rather than breaking the deadlock.

Sadio Mane picked up the ball in midfield in the 14th minute, drove at the United defence and played a one-two with Naby Keita in a bid to get behind the defence but United managed to cut the ball out and clear the danger. If was a quick opening 15 minutes in this derby which has seen many good chances for both teams, no opening goal though, which could be coming at any moment. Things then started to settle with United starting to see more of the ball.

United tried to play out from the back in the 18th minute under intense press by the Liverpool team. United were then forced to lump a long-ball forward with Lindelof putting his foot through the ball. Fabinho floated a lovely long-ball over the United defence in the 20th minute of the match with Salah showing his pace to keep it in play. Liverpool ended up winning another corner but they took it poorly with Rashford clearing at the near post.

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Diogo Dalot isolated Andrew Robertson on the right in the 22nd minute but the Liverpool left-back was strong and quick enough to prevent the Portuguese right-back from getting the ball past him. Two minutes later, Liverpool took the lead in the match through Sadio Mane. A lofted pass from Fabinho caught Young out and Mane ran in behind, brought the ball down on his chest and volleyed through the legs of De Gea to open the scoring. United need to do so much better.

After Liverpool’s goal, Gary Neville stated “For the quality of their play in the opening 25 minutes, Liverpool now have their goal. Liverpool have been better, far better in the opening 25 minutes. Ashley Young had just done that very good piece of defending but he gets caught. It’s a wonderful, wonderful pass from Fabinho and it’s a difficult run to mark. Mane produces a wonderful finish.” Showing United that they had a lot to do in the game to match the way Liverpool play the game.

Liverpool had a second chance on goal in the 27th minute after smelling blood in the United half of the pitch. Firmino controlled a corner in the United area which led to Dejan Lovren lashing his shot over the crossbar. It was a close one for United, who at various times this season have conceded two quick goals, leaving them to chase the game even more then they needed to. In the 31st minute, Ander Herrera slipped a ball into Lukaku but the Belgian cut the ball back for Rashford which was cut out by Virgil van Dijk.

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United found the equaliser in the 33rd minute through Jesse Lingard, scoring a day after his 26th birthday. Lukaku darted in behind the Liverpool defence, trying to square the ball into Dalot at the far post. Alisson dived forward to cut out the pass but he did not gather the ball, leading to Lingard running through, collecting the ball and firing United level in the game. Jurgen Klopp would have paid double for Alisson during the week but that seems well over the odds for that mistake.

Gary Neville gave his rendition of United’s equaliser, which must have seen his celebrate passionately, saying: “The rain has started to come down and has that had an impact on Alisson. It slips out of his hands and from nowhere Manchester United are level. It should be a simple one for the goalkeeper, who has had the plaudits all week with suggestions he’s the best in the league, better than De Gea. Maybe that’s put him under a bit of pressure because he’s made a right mess of that one.”

United had a second player booked after Lukaku was adjudged to have fouled Keita. The Liverpool fans were calling for a red card for a two-footed challenge. On the replay, it did not look as bad as Van Dijk’s in midweek, which was given a yellow card. It just shows the Liverpool ‘it’s never their fault’ mentality. Imagine calling for a red card when the foul was nothing like Van Dijk’s against Napoli. Logic and intelligence seem to have skipped an entire fanbase. Ashamed of nothing, offended by everything.

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Fabinho lined up a shot from 25-yards which took a big deflection on its way behind for a corner. Robertson then whipped the ball into the United area but it was a poor delivery with Lingard heading away the danger at the first man. Two minutes were added at the end of the half. In the first minute of added time, Mane was played behind the United defence, trying to round De Gea but the Spanish number one stuck out his leg to clear the danger but the offside flag was raised against Mane. The half ended and it was all level.

During half-time, Roy Keane, who was in the Sky Sports studio spoke about Alisson’s error, saying: “It’s a decent ball in but Alisson should be catching it with his eyes shut. Lingard followed his pass in and he got his reward. All great goalkeepers having made a big mistake in a big game, it’s all about what they do next. United needed a little bit of luck and now they’ve got a foothold in the game.”

At the start of the second half, Jose Mourinho made a substitution with Marouane Fellaini replacing Dalot. In the 47th minute, Rashford ran to the byline and cut a great ball back into the area but Liverpool then broke on the counter as Salah darted in behind the United defence to receive a through ball from Mane. The ball was then worked out to Nathaniel Clyne on the right by a tackle from Young deflected the ball for a goal kick.

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Mane got away from Young down the left in the 49th minute and floated a teasing ball into the back post where Matteo Darmian headed clear before the ball reached a Liverpool player. A minute later, Herrera lunged in on Salah on the left flank, getting none of the ball with Liverpool winning a free-kick in a dangerous position. Liverpool had another chance on goal in the 52nd minute with Firmino poking a low shot which De Gea tips away. Eric Bailly seemed to get a knock, which was worrying.

Clyne tried his luck from range in the 57th minute of the match which was deflected for a corner with De Gea trying to get the ball to deny the set-piece. Fellaini was in the mix to clear the danger from the corner but a wayward Liverpool shot on goal put the ball out of play for a goal kick. The match started with a fast-paced style of play from both teams, with United under the cosh at times. Now it has slowed with both teams poor in effort. Substitutions could change this game, and they need to.

Just before the hour mark, Lovren lined up a shot from 30-yards which sailed high into the Kop. Jamie Carragher, on the Sky Sports gantry, said: “What is that. We’ve just seen two stupid ones from Clyne. He was fortunate on the first one when he got a corner. There’s so long to go just keep playing your game. It’s a sign of desperation shooting from stupid areas, especially from players you know can’t do it.”

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Liverpool had United camped deep in their area and it made me think the home side had started to panic. There were shot of desperation from distance which was letting United off the hook time and time again. Surely if this Liverpool side had the ambition to win the Premier League for the first time, they would know how to finish teams like United off? United have not been a good team all season, so it should be much easier for them.

United had the chance to put themselves ahead for the first time in the match. Young whipped in a great ball to the back post where Fellaini looked set to head into the back of the net. A crucial last-gasp intervention from Robertson thwarted United’s effort to take the lead, deflecting the ball out for a throw-in. United then took charge of a good spell in the game. Rashford had an opportunity to get something from the game just before Firmino sliced the ball out of play.

Gary Neville, speaking about the chance United could have had, seemingly frustrated that United did not take the chance, said: “As Firmino came in with his foot flailing in the air Rashford should have just moved forward and tried to head it. He could have won a penalty. If he goes with his head there he wins a penalty.” Klopp made his first substitution in the 70th minute with Xherdan Shaqiri replaced Keita.

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United had an opportunity with Lingard on the right, crossing the ball into Lukaku at the far post but his cross to too high for the Belgian to get something from the play. It was a poor effort from Lingard. Liverpool then regained possession and played the counter on United which resulted in Liverpool taking the lead again through Shaqiri, who had been on the pitch a matter of minutes. United were left needing to do a lot more once again.

Neville, for Sky Sports, speaking after Liverpool regained the lead, stated: “Can Shaqiri squeeze it in? It’s a deflection off Ashley Young that gives him the goal. It’s an instant impact from Shaqiri and the goalkeeper had no chance.” It really makes me wonder if United have any players capable of winning a game from the bench. Fellaini has done it this season, but this match does not feel like it could be one with any other eventuality than Liverpool taking all three points.

Mourinho made his second substitution in the 79th minute with Anthony Martial replacing Herrera. Liverpool scored their third goal, a second for Shaqiri just after the substitution. The Swiss international had the ball played by Salah, firing a deflected shot on goal, beating De Gea for the second time in the game. United have reverted back to a lack of desire, urgency and ability to win anything. The equaliser in the first half seems nothing but a fluke right now.

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Liverpool made a second change with Jordan Henderson replacing Mane in the 84th minute of the match. Mourinho then made his third substitution with Juan Mata replacing Lingard in the 85th minute with United needing a miracle to get a result in this game. In the last minute of the match, Henderson, Salah and Firmino looked to rub salt in United’s wounds by combining in United’s area but Henderson, who had the shot, went for someone in the Kop, not the goal.

Three minutes of time were added on at the end of the half, which could not come quick enough for United. The game ended with United needing something short of a miracle to get back into the top four this season. Arsenal lost earlier in the day, meaning United could have clawed the difference between them to five points, however, it is still eight, with United being 19 points behind Liverpool in the top spot, the same distance they were behind Manchester City at the end of last season.

United will be back in action next Saturday when they visit Cardiff City, a team they have not faced for nearly five years. United last lost at Cardiff in 1960 but surely that is not something anyone is going to rule out knowing how far behind this team is right now. Something has to give sooner, rather than later or this season is going to end in capitulation and failure, which is something that has been coming for a long time.

Goals: Sadio Mane 24′, Xherdan Shaqiri 73′, 80′; Jesse Lingard 33′

Assists: Fabinho 24′, Mohamed Salah 80′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof; Dalot (Fellaini 46′), Matic, Herrera (Martial 79′), Young; Lingard (Mata85′), Lukaku, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones, Valencia; Pogba

Bookings: Diogo Dalot 26′, Romelu Lukaku 40′

copyright: JW