Manchester United attempted to do the impossible- getting away a point from Anfield- when they visited Merseyside to play Liverpool. Despite trying their hardest, they were unable to do so, falling to a 0-2 loss.
After a decent start, United fell behind in the 14th minute when Virgil Van Dijk scored an emphatic header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner.
The Reds hammered the Red Devils with constant attacks after that and only David De Gea’s super reflexes saved any more goals before the hour-mark. After that, United showed a lot of intent bombing forward and caused a lot of nerves at Anfield, but Mo Salah scored in the dying minutes to seal the win for his side.
The limitations of United came back to haunt them in the end, with Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba & Scott McTominay’s presence’s being badly missed. Not the worst result, but they fail to capitalize on Chelsea’s loss at the weekend to close in on that Champions League spot.
Here are the Manchester United Player Ratings vs Liverpool.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (5.0) –
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just used the same tactics he did in the reverse fixture and it worked for most of the game, keeping the dangerous front-three and wingbacks from running riot. But playing Andreas Pereira instead of an in-form Juan Mata again shows why he needs to let go of his blind faith.
He also needs to work on improving United’s set-piece defending, as that Achilles heel was constantly pressed upon by Liverpool. His substitutions were ineffective again. He’s unlucky not having many players, but just couldn’t figure out how to break his opposition today.
David de Gea (6.5) –
De Gea couldn’t really have done anything to stop Van Dijk’s powerful header. He was fouled for that disallowed Firmino goal, but really should be stronger holding those long-balls. Denies Mane strongly with a clean save towards the end of the first half.
Makes another brilliant finger-tip save off Henderson’s shot in the 49th minute. Nutmegged for Salah’s goal, ending a promising night in dismal fashion.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (5.5)-
Wan-Bissaka looks more eager contributing on both sides, but still lacking that special touch in attack. Crept behind Liverpool’s defence out of nowhere in the 41st minute to lay a goal on a plate for Pereira, only to see him miss.
He was hassled by Mane & Robertson’s combination but didn’t make any grave mistakes. Unable to prove any impact with his dismal crossing.
Harry Maguire (5.0) –
Maguire’s first game as permanent captain of United was disappointing. Doesn’t do his reputation any good by getting ousted aerially by Van Dijk for his goal. Wrongly committing himself on too many occasions, allowing Liverpool players to dribble past him with ease.
He did make some crucial challenges to deny Liverpool but unable to assert authority in set-pieces or inspire his side to a positive result.
Victor Lindelof (5.0) –
Lindelof shielded Wan-Bissaka by helping him with Mane. His poor pass almost allowed Firmino’s goal around the 25th minute, but VAR thankfully saved his blushes. Again caught off-guard for Wijnaldum’s disallowed effort. Lost sight of Mane’s presence for his 45th-minute chance as well.
The Iceman lost his cool on Fred being unable to cover for him, but that shouldn’t be required anyhow. Bamboozled by Liverpool’s pace and wasn’t able to distribute the ball clinically as he does either.
Brandon Williams (5.5)–
Big job for Williams to keep track of Alexander-Arnold today. Bit unfairly given responsibility to mark the towering Van-Dijk, allowing him to scour past him for the opener. Bit unnerved by the volatile atmosphere and flurried pace, but showcased his never-say-die attitude to keep Alexander-Arnold relatively quiet.
Luke Shaw (6.5) –
Shaw’s operating as a makeshift centre-back to keep Salah at bay. Was pretty good early on with some decisive challenges. Makes a brilliant goal-saving tackle on Mane in the 24th minute.
He was probably the least error-prone defender on the day and actually managed to keep Salah quiet. Made a few crucial challenges to dispossess the opposition and handled the pressure admirably.
Fred (6.5) –
Fred’s trying his best to be the link between the defence and attack. Sloppily gave away the ball in the 24th, almost conceding a cheap goal. Trying to drive United forward, but unable to create anything definitive. Burst forward in the 57th in a swift-break, but his shot went well wide. Tested Alisson again in the 67th with a whipped effort.
Despite not creating anything, being poor with his set-pieces, Fred’s spirit inspired United towards the end. He troubled Liverpool with his tireless attitude, won back possession and marshalled his side forward in confidence. Showcased how much he’s grown over the last year by holding his own in a formidable place.
Andreas Pereira (4.0)-
Pereira’s been tasked with orchestrating the swift-breaks but has been unable to find any incisive pass. All his attempted through-balls are being intercepted. Couldn’t divert a tap-in in the 41st minute. Powered a shot straight at Alisson in the 44th. Botched nearly every swift-break opportunity and frustrated with his error-prone nature.
Nemanja Matic (5.5) –
Matic looks more threatening with his forward passes today. Booked early on for a reckless challenge on Wijnaldum. Crumbling to Liverpool’s high press, giving away possession sloppily on many occasions. But he did use his experience well to win back the ball many times and derail Liverpool’s movement on occasions. Bit lucky not to get sent off even after persisting with fouls.
Daniel James (4.0) –
James is troubling with his pace early on. Made a good run in the 4th minute but lacked the delivery. Lost his fuse after a sparky start and barely involved in the game. Didn’t provide much defensively either, making things harder for Wan-Bissaka. Couldn’t use his pace to dispossess Salah for his goal either.
Anthony Martial (6.0) –
Martial needs to be at his best to break Liverpool’s backline. Had one clear attempt at goal in the 40th minute, but his whipped effort skimmed wide. Gets a huge chance to equalize in the 59th, but blasted his effort over.
He was probably United’s biggest attacking threat, moving into promising areas and linking together better attacks. But his best movement coming through the left-flank proves he’s still more a winger than a proper #9 which United need so badly.
Juan Mata (5.5) –
Mata was brought on to break Liverpool’s line, but was unable to do anything and couldn’t reach the ball late on, allowing Alisson to assist Salah’s goal.
Mason Greenwood (5.0) –
Greenwood did get one big chance to score after coming on, but couldn’t meet a promising cross. Dwarfed down facing up against Van Dijk.
Diogo Dalot (N/R) –
Dalot was the best attacking option United had at the late stages. That sums up their situation. Added a bit more pace/trickery on the left, but unable to influence anything.
MAN OF THE MATCH
I think Fred would be United’s MOTM today. He showed a lot of composure and was brave with his work. Overally, I’d give it to Van Dijk.