Manchester United 2–1 Liverpool: Rashford stars as United hold out for the win

Manchester United

David De Gea – 6

Made a few simple saves early on and his long balls forward to Lukaku played a huge part in them taking the lead – he got a hand to Bailly’s own goal but could only push it into the corner of the net.

Antonio Valencia – 6

A steady performance – he did well to deny Firmino with just 20 minutes gone, using his power and pace, he received a yellow card for a very high challenge on Mane which could have easily been a red.

Eric Bailly – 7

Produced the two standout moments of quality: a fine Zidane turn in the centre-circle and then a Zola-esque back-heel goal … shame it was into his own net – however, he had a very good game, standing resolute in the United backline and making two crucial blocks late-on.

Chris Smalling – 6

Wasn’t troubled much in the first-half but produced one excellent block as Liverpool looked set to unpick the backline – he showed aggression and stoicism to come through a tough test.

Ashley Young – 7

Did well in denying Salah any influence on the match – he limited space and made a number of good blocks and covering runs to deny him the ball.

Scott McTominay – 7

His determined midfield work frustrated the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, although he did fail to keep up with Mane as the Liverpool attacker crossed for their consolation goal.

Nemanja Matic – 7

Was instrumental in ensuring the three points remained at Old Trafford – he was an enforcer and instigator in the midfield and his partnership with McTominay was vital for the victory.

Juan Mata – 6

A quiet performance – didn’t produce much of note, but did put in the hard yards off the ball, covering passing lanes and blocking runs, also attempted a bicycle kick goal before he was subbed off.

Alexis Sanchez – 6

Played in a central position but didn’t have much of an impact – his work rate, as ever, was impressive but he didn’t pose a serious threat to the Liverpool defence.

Marcus Rashford – 8

Craved a start and was worth it – scored both of United’s goals in a 10-minute spell in which he was unplayable, was substituted with 20 minutes left but his work was done.

Romelu Lukaku – 7

Tormented Lovren and, to a lesser extent, van Dijk – his physicality and touch allowed De Gea’s long balls to bypass the Liverpool press and present Rashford with his two goals.

Liverpool

Loris Karius – 6

A performance that was far from poor – although he conceded two goals, which he will be disappointed with but was unable to do much about, he commanded his area when coming for crosses.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4

Ever eager to get forward but he was caught asleep at the back for Rashford’s opener, he then failed to sense the danger when Rashford snatched up the loose ball to score United’s second – was not a good game for such a promising player, and he was substituted with 10 minutes left.

Dejan Lovren – 4

Showed plenty of effort but he was bullied by Lukaku both in the air and on the floor – his clearances were sliced and wayward and produced a number of silly fouls.

Virgil van Dijk – 5

Was not much better than his defensive partner – he struggled to cope with Lukaku and the runners off him, he missed a big chance from a corner when the score was still 1-0.

Andrew Robertson – 5

Not quite at the level of recent performances – in an attacking sense, he was frustrated by McTominay and Valencia, whilst in defence he limited the influence of Mata on the left.

James Milner – 5

Spent much of the afternoon on the floor, either being fouled or fouling others – perhaps it was down to the speed of the match as to why he was so clumsy.

Emre Can – 5

It was a difficult afternoon for the German – he was dominated in the midfield by United’s pairing and spent much of the match playing catch-up.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6

Despite his recurring relenting of possession, he played fairly well – he produced a number of good defence-cutting passes that were asking to be collected and finished by one of the front three.

Mohamed Salah – 5

A performance of minimal impact and little quality – United were the most successful to date at limiting Salah’s influence, he rarely found himself in dangerous positions and spurred one late chance over the crossbar.

Roberto Firmino – 6

In the first-half, he ran and ran but to little effect, after the break, he caused more problems for United but lacked the calmness in the area to play the crucial final ball.

Sadio Mane – 6

Did not have much joy in attack but was probably the most creative of the front three – produced the menacing cross that led to Bailly’s own goal but struggled to manufacture any clear-cut chances.

About the Author

Oliver Miller
FoL's Matchday Correspondent @oliver_miller