Well, no surprises today as Manchester United fell to their fifth defeat in the Premier League this season. Another abject United performance that saw them outclassed and beaten 3-1 by their fiercest rivals Liverpool.
Manager Jose Mourinho made eight changes for their midweek defeat to Valencia CF in the UEFA Champions league in order to protect some of his key players ahead of today’s game. United fans would have probably forgiven the woeful team performance on Wednesday night in Spain and swallowed the bitter pill of defeat if they could of guaranteed that they would see a performance befitting of Manchester United today and take the three points.
The first 20 minutes of the game saw United start in their usual sluggish and nervy way, unable to string three passes together or complete simple five yard balls to a teammate. Not one United midfield player was capable of showing any composure or class on the ball.
Liverpool were on top from the outset and in typical fashion, all over this poor United team who looked once again well out of their depth. Thankfully for United, most of the shots that Liverpool had in the opening quarter of the game were coming from long range. The most notable of these, a shot from Roberto Firmino 20 yards from goal that had David De Gea at full stretch to keep it out.
In the 24th minute of the game, Liverpool got the goal their start deserved. Fabinho picked out Sadio Mane in between the United defence, before the forward took advantage of some poor marking by Ashley Young by bringing the ball down unopposed and tucking it under De Gea.
Nine minutes later United were gifted an undeserved lifeline by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, as he spilt Romelu Lukaku’s simple cross from the left, allowing Jesse Lingard to turn the ball home from close range and change the mood at Anfield.
At halftime Mourinho brought on Marouane Fellaini for Diogo Dalot and this saw United move from playing three at the back to their usual 4-3-3 formation. This did not change the pattern of the game though. Liverpool continued to dominate especially down their left side where United constantly allowed Andy Robertson and his teammates to have all the space they could wish for, causing havoc in United’s defence.
It was Liverpool substitute Xherdan Shaqiri that was to win the game for Liverpool though. Shaqiri is the type of squad player that can come off the bench and win games. He’s the type of player they maybe didn’t have last season to change draws in to wins for them late on in games. Shaqiri only on the pitch for three minutes, restored Liverpool’s lead as his shot from 12 yards deflected off Ashley Young and went in off the crossbar in the 73rd minute. The Swiss player then scored again just seven minutes later with another deflected effort from 20 yards. This condemned United to their first defeat in five years against Liverpool, who go back to the top of the league tonight a whole 19 points in front of The Red Devils who still have a look of a club well and truly in turmoil.
Below are my player ratings from the today’s game:
De Gea 6:
Was not able to get forward and show any quality in the final third. Conceded a couple of needless free kicks.
Positioning was good, cut out some attacks but looked nervous and no quality in possession.
Gave the ball away in key areas and looked low on confidence just returning from injury.
Brought in at short notice after injury to Smalling in the warm up. Brave but lacked quality and composure.
Switched off for the first goal and his half hearted block led to the deflection for their second goal.
Too slow in possession, wanting too much time on the ball
Typically, plenty of effort but poor quality and composure on the ball and unable to start any attacks for the team.
Scored the goal, following in well but little threat during the game, sloppy in possession and was not helping defensively down United’s right side.
Best player in a United shirt, looked the most likely with plenty of effort and endeavour but not helped by poor players around him.
His cross led to the goal but a cross that should of been dealt with. Doesn’t protect the ball well enough and his touch was woeful on too many occasions again.
Broke up a lot of the oppositions attacks when he came on at half time, but lost possession way too often.
A late substitution
A late substitution