Manchester United Player Ratings vs Liverpool (January 17, 2021)

Posted By Uttiyo Sarkar on January 17, 2021

Manchester United play their biggest game of the Premier League season, as they look to break a near 4-year unbeaten streak of a menacing Liverpool side at Anfield. The first half saw Liverpool dominate all the possession but unable to create anything, while United struggled to finish off their counter-attacks properly. 

The second half was much better, with United getting some big scoring chances but unable to get one past Alisson. Defensively, that was United’s best performance of the season. They should be proud for shutting down Liverpool like that at Anfield.

But on the attack, they’re still lacking that something special which title winners usually do. Of course, they could feel unlucky that their chances were saved by a top keeper, but there’s major room for improvement. Top of the table for now, but United need to start winning games on the trot again to stay there for the long-term. 

Here are Manchester United player ratings vs Liverpool matchday 18

Manchester United Player Ratings vs Liverpool

Manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0) –  

Interesting decision from Solskjaer to drop Bailly and play Lindelof today. To his credit, Solskjaer’s game plan was really good and was executed superbly. He set up his side perfectly to frustrate Liverpool, close down spaces for the players and basically liquidating from creating anything definitive. But he needs to improve his players’ decision-making in the final third, especially that of Rashford.

Even his subs were well-timed, as Cavani gave United more thrust in the attack and helped create better chances. In the end, Ole deserves praise for earning a well-deserved point today, which could’ve been more had his players been more clinical in taking their chances. 

Goalkeeper

David de Gea (6.5) –  

De Gea knows he will face a barrage of shots today and needs to be at his very best. Called into action properly for the first time in the 78th, when he palmed away Thiago’s thunderous shot out.  That was the only significant effort he had to save. Gets his second successive clean sheet on the road. 

Defenders

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.5) –

AWB looks a bit clumsy on the ball early on today. But he got better as the game progressed, not allowing Mane to create any definitive chances and making some great recovery challenges. Carried the ball forward braver than most on the day and even created a great chance for Pogba late on. Like his fellow defenders, AWB was impenetrable at the back. 

Harry Maguire (8.0) –  

The Englishman’s been a bit callous while distributing the ball early on but looked decent defensively in the first half-hour. Makes a clutch block to deny Firmino a goal in the 60th. Kept a great defensive line all game long, keeping things sharp at the back and frustrating LFC. Predictably won everything in the air, made 6 clearances and 3 interceptions in a rock-solid performance! 

Victor Lindelof (7.5) –  

Big game for Lindelof, who comes in for an in-form Eric Bailly today. Lost his footing a little bit to send Salah through in the 34th, but lucky to see it result to nothing. But improved his defensive work after that and makes a great interception to deny a goal-scoring chance in the 82nd. Looked in perfect synch with Maguire and kept things tight at the back, making 10 (!) clearances and being a sharp figure at the back.

Luke Shaw (9.0) –  

The in-form left-back faces a daunting task against Mo Salah. Definitely United’s best player on the day, winning key duels, keeping Salah quiet and moving the ball forward well. Make a brilliant forward run and supplies Bruno superbly for his big chance in the 75th. He pocketed Salah, kept Alexander-Arnold relatively quiet and was an absolute beast on his side all game long. 

Midfielders

Scott McTominay (7.5) –

McTominay’s trying to be a bulldozer in midfield breaking up LFC’s attacks. Did just that superbly, winning 11 duels and protecting his backline superbly. A real livewire in the middle, winning back the ball, making clutch challenges and distributing things pretty well too. Dealt against Liverpool’s feisty midfielders impressively. 

Fred (7.0) –

Fred comes up against the very-tricky Thiago today. Makes a stunning through pass to send Rashford on goal in the 17th. He was just everywhere and looked to be putting in more effort to regain the ball more than the others. Refused to be bullied by the LFC midfielders and went toe-to-toe with them, winning some key challenges and making some good defensive contribution. 

Paul Pogba (7.0) –

The very-versatile Pogba starts in a weird right-wing role today. Looks up for it again today, covering a lot of ground and fulfilling his defensive work well. His hold-up play has been great and even delivered some promising forward passe sin the first-half. Got a big chance to score int he 83rd, but his powerful shot from inside the area was saved well. 

Pogba tirelessly moved forward and backwards in the game, kick-starting some counter-attacks with his fancy passes as well. Another compelling performance in a unique role from the Frenchman today. 

Bruno Fernandes (6.5) –

Bruno faces his first game against LFC as a United player and is aiming to end his barren run in big games. Almost scores a worldie free-kick in the 33rd, only to see it braze agonizingly wide. Then plays a brilliant pass to send Rashford clear two minutes later. Getting more active in the second half and squandered a few chances early on. 

Tests Alisson with an ambitious effort in the 65th, which is actually United’s first shot on target of the game. Then forces a brilliant save from Alisson with a clever flick from close in the 75th, which was United’s best chance of the game.

Surprisingly taken off towards the end, but this was probably his best performance in a big PL game this season. In a game where the quality attackers were all shut down, he was involved in the biggest chances but will probably be kicking himself for not scoring. 

Forwards

Anthony Martial (6.0) –

Martial’s playing through his natural left-wing role today again. Moving around well with the ball and even nutmegged Alexander-Arnold in the first-half! Starts the second-half much better, playing Fernandes through for a chance in the 52nd. Despite a pretty decent performance, he was taken off for Cavani. 

Marcus Rashford (4.0) –

Rashford’s playing as a very lonely centre-forward today. Went through on goal in the 17th but couldn’t make best use of Fred’s pass. Again sent through in the 35th, but fluffed his lines in the final third. Fortunately, an offside call helped him. Caught offside a billion times in the first-half itself! 

Marcus got into some great areas today with his clever movement, but his decision-making was horrible. If he wants to be a truly world-class player, he needs to improve that massively. Could’ve set up or scored few goals today had he been more innovative in the final third. 

Substitutions

Edinson Cavani (6.0) –

El Matador comes in with 30 minutes to play and goals needed in the game. His work rate was admirable and even got into some promising areas, but nobody found him in space. Could’ve done better had he started the game. 

Mason Greenwood (N/R) –

Greenwood was sent into the game too late and couldn’t do anything at all really. 

MAN OF THE MATCH

Luke Shaw was United’s best player today. He kept Salah quiet, looked extremely sharp and did not crumble under pressure. He gets the MOTM for today. 

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Uttiyo Sarkar

An unbiased Manchester United die-hard. Lover of the beautiful game. Addicted to the Premier League and beyond. Hopeful writer in the search for the greater good.

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