11 days on from when this game was postponed and just 48 hours since Leicester City visited Old Trafford, Manchester United and Liverpool were finally ready to play after a day that wouldn’t look out of place in a James Bond film. Prison walls, hundreds of police officers across the city, a police helicopter and heavy security was needed but the game went ahead as planned.
On a side-note before we get into the ratings, I have a feeling that this is far from over and Manchester United fans will – and should – continue to make their voices heard.
In a game that meant little for United, but a lot for Liverpool in the context of the Premier League, it was a relatively shaky start, with sloppy passing from Shaw and Allison in particular that led to chances for both sides. It was United who capitalised first when Bruno Fernandes gave Manchester United the lead in the 10th minute via a huge deflection from Nat Phillips. Around the half hour mark, Liverpool started to turn the screw and equalised through Diogo Jota after United failed to deal with *another* corner. Another set-piece that United would struggle to deal with saw Roberto Firmino lose Paul Pogba at the backpost on the stroke of half time to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead.
Liverpool extended their lead just after the break after Henderson fumbled a shot into the path of Roberto Firmino. Marcus Rashford got United back in to the game with a neat finish but the last half an hour or so was a lot of bark and no bite bar one golden chance for Mason Greenwood which was blocked on the line. United pushed for an equaliser but Liverpool hit on the break through Mohamed Salah after Nemanja Matic was dispossesed to make it 4-2 and that was that.
That’s now back to back losses for United and Liverpool’s first win at Old Trafford in 7 years, but I’m sure the squad will look forward to a rare 5 days rest before Fulham on the road next Tuesday.
Dean Henderson – 4.5/10
Did well to deny Jota twice in the first half but it was third time lucky for the Liverpool forward. He maybe could have done better on the first goal but had no chance for the second as Firmino headed in from point blank range. Just after the break Henderson fumbled a shot from Alexander-Arnold which led to Liverpool’s third after Firmino put in the rebound. Lucky to get away with fumbling another shot from Alexander-Arnold around the hour mark and was helpless when Salah made it 4 to kill the game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6/10
Involved in the first goal after great movement followed by a clever turn and pass to give Fernandes the chance to shoot. Poor defensively, leaving gaps and losing the ball in poor areas, although he wasn’t the only one.
Eric Bailly – 4.5/10
A rash challenge on Phillips in the first half saw Anthony Taylor give the penalty and ultimately reverse the decision. It was 50/50 on whether the right call was made, depending on who you support, but challenges like these aren’t uncommon from Bailly. Looked unsettled all night.
Victor Lindelof – 5/10
Didn’t do anything to settle a shaky defensive line. Liverpool’s frontline toyed with the United defence all night and as a unit, Lindelof & Co. will be thankful it was *only* 4. To pick out a positive, he played out some good passes from the back.
Luke Shaw – 4.5/10
Unusually sloppy on the ball. A couple of good runs forward but very little output. Lost the ball in the build-up to Liverpool’s third goal after running into a dead end. A rare poor performance from Shaw given his form since the turn of the year.
Scott McTominay – 4.5/10
Just nothing, really. Not the worst on the pitch (although debatable) and certainly not the best. Lucky to escape a red card.
Fred – 4/10
Gave the ball away in the lead up to Liverpool’s third goal just after half-time. He wasn’t the only culprit but if fans were in the ground, they’d cheer if he completed a pass to a red shirt. Subbed off for Greenwood just after the hour mark to a standing ovation from me… in my living room.
Bruno Fernandes – 6/10
Captain on the night. Gave Manchester United an early lead through his deflected effort. He was bright in the first half an hour but cut a frustrated figure for the rest of the game bar a couple of moments.
Marcus Rashford – 6.5/10
A good ball to Wan-Bissaka in the build up to the first goal. Not quite at the races overall but it was a tidy finish to get United back into the game at 3-2. Looked much more comfortable when switched to the left.
Edinson Cavani – 6/10
Can’t fault Cavani’s work-rate but he never really got into the game, although to be fair, United didn’t create too much for him to feed off. Fantastic through ball to Rashford pull it back to 3-2. United’s press certainly looks better when Cavani is starting but it was a quiet night for the Uruguayan bar the assist.
Paul Pogba – 5/10
Played a part in the first goal with a beautiful switch. A silly foul at the end of the first half led to a free-kick for Liverpool’s second goal where Firmino lost Pogba himself at the back post. Double whammy. Helped Shaw a few times defensively and his work rate can’t be faulted but Solskjaer was right when he said we should keep Pogba far away from our own box. Quiet second half.
Mason Greenwood – 7/10
Thrown on after an hour to try to make an impact. The introduction of Greenwood changed the dynamic and United immediately looked the better team after a Liverpool onslaught. He was unlucky not to make it 3-3 after his effort was cleared off the line. One of few positives tonight.
Nemanja Matic – N/A
Matic did not do enough or have enough time in the game to make any significant impact.