Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 as a display full of fight, grit and quality stunned Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Erik ten Hag era has officially started at Manchester United.
Jadon Sancho scored a classy goal to set United on their way to a first win under Erik ten Hag, while Marcus Rashford punished more slack Liverpool defending with a fine finish on the counter. Liverpool did pull a goal back late on through Mohamed Salah, but it was too little too late.
Erik ten Hag left Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire out of the starting lineup and new signings Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia, plus Scott McTominay, Raphael Varane and Diogo Dalot, totally justified those huge calls.
In truth, every single United player ran themselves into the ground for the cause and this was a hugely positive reaction to their disappointing defeats against Brighton and Brentford to open the season.
With the win United have three points, climbing above Liverpool who have two points from their opening three games. This was Liverpool’s first defeat in 22 Premier League games, as Klopp will point to huge injury issues but his side simply didn’t turn up for most of one of their biggest games of the season.
Leaving out Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire was a huge call by Erik ten Hag and boy did he get it right. Malacia, Varane, McTominay and Elanga all come into the starting lineup and they all added grit and passion, while Lisandro Martinez played like a man possessed as his early challenge on Mohamed Salah (who he squared up to after) set the tone. United bullied Liverpool. That doesn’t happen often, if ever, to Liverpool. Erik ten Hag wanted a reaction and he certainly got it.
Manchester United’s 4-2-3-1 system worked really well as Rashford could get in-behind centrally, plus Elanga and Sancho pinned back Liverpool’s full backs. It was a brave move from Erik ten Hag but it was aided by totally dominating midfield. McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Eriksen all ran themselves into the ground and aside from a 15 minute period at the end of the first half, Liverpool were never allowed to dictate the tempo of the game. United then had quality in the final third to make all of their hard work count.
Stars of the show
Scott McTominay: Fantastic industry in midfield and helped get United on the front foot so often. Never stopped running.
Lisandro Martinez: Launched himself into tackles time and time again and looked so much better being asked to play on the front foot. Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot and Tyrell Malacia all fed off Martinez’s energy.
Mohamed Salah: Got his goal and the one Liverpool player who oozed class whenever he got on the ball. He has 10 goals against Man United, more than any other Liverpool player in history.
Source: Yahoo Sports