Manchester United reigned supreme as the crucial fixture at Old Trafford ended 2-1. Two goals from Marcus Rashford were marred only by an awry own goal for Eric Bailly’s own. The game was electric, and the Red Devils now sit firmly in the second place.
Here’s how both teams fared during the encounter:
De Gea- 6.2
Resolute as ever, the Spaniard didn’t get an occasion to showcase his erstwhile photogenic saves. Regardless, the manner in which he blocked corner after corner in the second half is in itself a match-saving performance.
Nothing all too spectacular from Valencia, who often found himself underused, particularly in the first half, where the efforts of Young and Rashford arguably won United the game.
While he shall hold an unfortunate own goal to his name, the return from injury saw a firm headed defender constantly troubled by the Merseyside attack. Hopefully, the slight knock he sustained isn’t something bigger.
Dauntingly horrible in the first half, he made his redemption in the rest of the game wherein his stance ensured Liverpool weren’t able to get all that many shots on target despite resolute efforts.
The veteran Englishman did little wrong in grabbing United three points. Easily an architect of much of United’s runs forward, and the manner in which he was able to contain Salah made all the difference in the game.
Not relegated to marking and pocketing duty this time around, the youngster was actually able to prove his worth and put up a fairly decent show in face of an intimidating opposition.
Pure skill from Matic, particularly in defending the corners and covering up for Smalling’s numerous mistakes in the first half. Although bereft of Pogba, he wasn’t able to put up his full display of creativity.
A mixed performance from the Spaniard, and one does wonder whether or not Jesse Lingard would have fared much better in his place if given the start.
Unable to prove himself as the X-factor in the absence of Pogba. The attacker didn’t do much wrong either, but could have certainly put up more of an offensive threat. Zero shots in a match this big is not becoming from the highest-paid player on the field.
United’s man of the match at all costs. Great power was displayed by him in both the goals, and he certainly showed Mourinho precisely why he ought to be given the start more often. The final direction changing touch prior to his first goal is bound to remain in supporters’ memories for quite a while.
A simple flick of the head from De Gea’s long ball and United had their first goal. While it was the effort of Rashford that stole the show, Lukaku’s persistent threat throughout the game deserves praise too. Although, a sole shot is not enough for a clinical striker in a United shirt.
Finally, a return from injury, and the Belgian held well for the dying moments of the match.
Brought on too late to make a tangible difference.
Bad showing from the keeper, who could have put in more effort from saving what was eventually the winner from going through.
The tiny contact he made with the flying ball ensured Rashford’s second goal went through, and it was rightly his only big impact on the game.
Despite being unable to settle down in his play, the defender was still the aptest one in Liverpool’s backline.
Van Dijk- 6.3
Header after header went in vain as the new signing tried his best to get Liverpool an equalizer. His defensive contributions were as expected.
With a passing success of 92%, he was a brilliant conduit in seeing the ball through to the front.
He will have felt he could have done much, much more in the game, particularly in the opening minutes of the second half, where Liverpool were painstakingly close to getting a goal.
Emre Can- 7.0
A below par performance, but one that was largely a result of United defending quite well.
Another player who will feel gutted by the final result, particularly since his 14 crosses and 2 key long balls were in vain.
Expected to be Liverpool’s danger man, the prolific scorer was rendered toothless by a clever United side that employed Young and Matic in ensuring that minimum damage was done by him.
The Brazilian, with his 3 resolute attempts, was the sole respite for a side that while managing to be offensive, didn’t have the clinical ability.
While being the most visible Liverpool player, he failed to provide the creative spurt that Klopp would have otherwise expected of him.
Brought on with the intention of providing a real clinical effort for Liverpool, his substitution might have inadvertently done more harm than good, as Oxlade-Chamberlain was really beginning to look like a threat.
Despite being on for just a few minutes, he managed to maintain a 100% passing record, and even attempted a shot, which was blocked.
The attacker was unable to do what was required of him, and the late attacking spurt from Klopp’s efforts, while managing to raise the tension, proved futile.