Considering United’s current form versus that of their opponents, you would expect a draw to be something worth celebrating, however, Solskjær’s men can legitimately feel hard done by as overall they were the better team on the day. The eleventh hour injury to Tuanzebe proved to be United’s undoing, as replacement Rojo was caught napping in the dying minutes.
The story of the first half was one of passion, pace and intensity from a Manchester United side that looked nothing like the abject bunch of misfits who’ve been stinking out the Premier League in recent weeks. Every player looked focused and confident, shifting the ball forwards at every opportunity and taking the game to a Liverpool side who have looked shaky recently, despite their impressive string of results. Rashford and James were particularly effective, pulling the Liverpool defenders into positions they’d rather not be in and putting doubt in the full-backs minds every time they pushed up in support of the attacking play. Pereira and Fred shrugged off their sometimes justified criticism, rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in as if they’d finally ‘got’ what it means to play for Manchester United. Battles were being won by the men in red up and down the pitch and it was no surprise when Rashford got on the end of Dan James delightful, teasing cross to put United in front. Mané thought he’d pulled one back shortly afterwards until a correct VAR decision chalked it off for handball, much to the chagrin of the animated Klopp on the sideline.
The pace was noticeably slower in the second half, in part due to energy expenditure, but also because United had the lead so could afford to adopt a more risk-averse approach. Liverpool looked rudderless for much of the second period until the fresh legs of substitutes Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lallana reinforced their attacking play, forcing United to defend deeply which ultimately led to the equaliser. I don’t want to be too critical of Rojo because he wasn’t expecting to start today and he had an otherwise pretty good game. Unfortunately, his lack of positional awareness allowed Lallana to stroll unmarked into the six yard box and snatch a point that Liverpool really didn’t deserve.
No sign of the injury scare which caused him to be subbed off for Spain the other night. Coped well with what little Liverpool threw at him and could do nothing about the goal.
Victor Lindelof: 6
Still not fulfilling his potential and was at fault for Mané’s disallowed goal. He needs to get better soon, or Tuanzebe will be ahead of him in the pecking order.
Harry Maguire: 8
Solid and composed as always from the big man. His transfer fee looks more like a bargain with every passing week.
Marcos Rojo: 6
Overall he did well but let himself down for the goal. That propensity for making game-changing errors is what will prevent him from ever being first choice.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7
Defensively very strong but still has a lot to learn from an attritional perspective.
Ashley Young: 7
Played as well today as he has for a number of years. Visibly flagged towards the end and could have done more to prevent Liverpool’s goal.
Not a polished performance by any means from the Brazilian midfielder but he did enough to suggest that we shouldn’t write off his prospects of a fruitful United career just yet.
Andreas Pereira: 6
Nothing if not tenacious. His constant closing-down prevented Liverpool from building any kind of passing rhythm.
Scott McTominay: 8
My man of the match. McTominay controlled the centre of the park and set the tempo for United’s attacking players.
Daniel James: 7
His pace and movement tormented the Liverpool defence from start to finish. Another great assist for a player who was considered a gamble in June when United secured his signature.
Marcus Rashford: 8
Criticised (harshly in my opinion) recently for a string of flat performances, he reminded us today why we first got excited about him. Took his goal well and didn’t let Liverpool’s defenders catch their breath for a single minute.
Anthony Martial: 5
Came on at the end as Liverpool were throwing the kitchen sink at it so never really got the chance to shine.
Brandon Williams: 5
Barely on the pitch for a minute, but will have gained some valuable big-game experience in that short time.