Manchester United won 2-1 against one of their biggest rivals on Saturday afternoon, beating Liverpool after Marcus Rashford scored a brace in first half. Eric Bailly was unlucky enough to score the own goal, but Liverpool were never quite close to winning the point at Old Trafford and Man United now have a five-point lead ahead of them.
Marcus Rashford Loves A Big Occasion
The Englishman was without a doubt the most important player of the match. When you score twice in a 2-1 win, that is not something you can avoid, but Rashford also showed that he is ready to help his team whenever he is needed. He was not part of United’s starting XI since 26 January and the match against Yeovil in FA Cup. However, this Saturday he showed he likes big matches.
Rashford’s previous Premier League goal was the equalizer against Manchester City back in December, when United lost 2-1. This time again, he similarly made the most out of rival’s mistakes. Before the first goal, Rashford was wise enough to read Lukaku’s intention with his header, before he beautifully dispatched Trent Alexander Arnold and made a precise finish into the far corner of the Liverpool goal.
Manchester United Very Well Organised
Man United’s organization was probably a bit improved with an unfortunate injury from Paul Pogba. That meant that Jose Mourinho could choose his favourite 4-2-3-1 where Pogba tends to have more problems fitting in. This way, Mourinho had Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay ahead of the back line, while Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young played as full-backs.
The four of them did not offer much to United’s game attacking-wise, but that was not a problem. That was what was asked of them and that was something that helped United win the game. Mourinho’s team did not attack in numbers, they would rather attack with long balls towards Lukaku, stretching Liverpool as much as possible, while staying defensively sound. It clearly worked.
Dejan Lovren Again
Once again, Jurgen Klopp stuck with Dejan Lovren starting in his central defence in a big Premier League match and once again it backfired at him. Not that Manchester United fans will have anything against that, but Klopp was quite naive to repeat his mistake from previous seasons. Lovren was the one that was nowhere near Lukaku in aerial duels, which the Belgian both won. After both those aerial duels, the Croatian was already far away from the backline, leaving space for both Rashford and Mata to run away with the ball.
On both occasions, Manchester United made their only shots on target throughout the match. Rashford converted both of those shots.
Mohamed Salah Was Non-Existent
The Egyptian was so good this season that he was expected to continue doing that on Saturday. Yet, Manchester United had a great plan how to suffocate him and not let him have his day. That is what happened, as Salah made just one shot and that one went off target. He did not complete a single dribble, he made just one key pass and lost the ball on eight occasions. That is not good, but is also a testament to United’s firm defending.