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Manchester United vs Liverpool: Red Devils battle to huge win against bitter rivals

Manchester United earned their first result of the season in statement fashion, sinking archrivals Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford.

MANCHESTER -- 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.

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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.

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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.


What we learned from Manchester United vs Liverpool

Liverpool’s midfield overrun: Starting James Milner and Harvey Elliott ahead of Fabinho didn’t quite work and Liverpool’s midfield was so easy to play through in the first half. Missing Thiago and Naby Keita is a blow but Jordan Henderson couldn’t hold things down on his own and Fabinho was missed badly as Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez was left ruthlessly exposed. When Fabinho came on in the second half they improved, but it wasn’t enough. This game exposed Liverpool’s lack of signings in midfield and Klopp may well go to his board and ask for a midfield addition before the window shuts. Liverpool’s worst start to a PL season in 10 years underlines their struggles, but this set in at the end of last season and they can’t keep fighting back in games.

Fired up United back up Erik ten Hag’s big calls: 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. And then some. When Old Trafford is rocking like it was against Liverpool, few stadiums can match it.

Fans put aside protests to create cauldron of noise to inspire side: There were protests against United’s owners outside the ground before the game and in the ground during it, but the fans also totally backed their players. They can be angry with their players for bad displays but United’s fans are incredible loyal and they created a cauldron of noise to inspire their players. As soon as a few players rattled into challenges, United’s fans got even louder and they never stopped. The anti-Glazer chants continued throughout but the real noise was reserved for the battling display on the pitch from Manchester United’s players.

Tactical focus

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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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.

What’s next?

Manchester United travel to Southampton for the early kick off on Saturday, Aug. 27, while Liverpool host Bournemouth on the same day.

How to watch Manchester United vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ETTV Channel: PeacockOnline: Stream via Peacock Premium
Analysis: Joe Prince-Wright on-site at Old Trafford for minute-by-minute coverage

Manchester United vs Liverpool live analysis! - By Joe Prince-Wright at Old Trafford

FULL TIME: A huge roar engulfs Old Trafford, as Manchester United hold on for a massive, statement win for Erik ten Hag. Gutsy display from every single United player. The Erik ten Hag era is off and running!

GOALLL! Mohamed Salah makes it 2-1. He heads home after David de Gea initially saved. Tension is building here now. Game on!

Brilliant save from De Gea to deny Martinez’s clearance, which going in.

United almost get a third as Rashford lashes over. They look so dangerous on the counter attack now. Liverpool throwing players forward trying to get one back.

SAVE! Alisson tips away a shot from Rashford after Varane decided to juggle the ball on his own for a while. Just insanity here at Old Trafford.

GOALLLLL! This place has gone bonkers. Marcus Rashford is played in by Anthony Martial and slots home. After a lengthy VAR check for offside, the goal stands. Wow. Manchester United 2-0 Liverpool.

We are back underway for the second half here. Anthony Martial on for Anthony Elanga. The Swedish winger had Alexaner-Arnold on toast, so surely there had to be an injury for him?

HALF TIME: Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool. Wow. What a 45 minutes from the Red Devils. Who saw that coming!?

Liverpool getting their act together now. They’re seeing lots more of the ball and building attacks. This is more like it from Jurgen Klopp’s side. United need to get to half time 1-0 up. They should be further ahead.

How lucky was that!? Bruno Fernandes tries to smash the ball clear but hits it straight at Lisandro Martinez, who was on the line. How did that not hit his outstretched arm!?

As we get out breath back a little after an absolutely wild game here at Old Trafford, a reminder that you can join me at Old Trafford as Nick Mendola, Andy Edwards and I answer your questions. This should be a lot of fun.

GOALLLL! Old Trafford goes absolutely wild as Jadon Sancho controls and slots home brilliantly. What a moment. What a goal. Wow. That is totally deserved! United have been excellent in these first 15 minutes. Erik ten Hag is loving it.

POST! Anthony Elanga hits the post after being one-on-one with Alisson. Lovely ball from McTominay and then from Bruno Fernandes to set him up. Elanga had to score there. What a chance for United. Everyone here at Old Trafford thought that was in!

United going long, early and often, and they have Liverpool on the back foot. Manchester United’s fans are loving this approach. Where was this against Brighton and at Brentford?

Free kick to Manchester United right on the edge of the box. Trent Alexander-Arnold catches Marcus Rashford.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a tackle cause that much noise, as United fly into several challenges in their own half one after another. Manchester United’s fans very happy with the commitment of their team early on.

KICK OFF: We are off and Lisandro Martinez clatters into Mohamed Salah and then fronts him up. Fair to say Martinez is fired up. Lovely start to this clash.

The teams are coming out, the atmosphere is crackling here. Let’s go.

My thoughts ahead of this huge clash.

Our crew break down the big team news...

BREAKING: Manchester United drop captain Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Fred and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting lineup, as Varane, McTominay, Malacia and Elanga come in. It looks like a 4-2-3-1 for United with Eriksen and McTominay in the holding midfield roles. Liverpool have a very weak bench due to their injury issues, while Harvey Elliott starts over Fabinho in midfield. That is a huge call from Jurgen Klopp. Naby Keita is absent through injury for Liverpool, as reports about his future at Anfield continue to circle.

Hello and welcome to a muggy Manchester evening for what should be an enthralling clash between these bitter rivals! The two most successful teams in English soccer history are struggling to start this season with United hoping to not lose the first three games of a season for the first-ever time in the PL era, while Liverpool have drawn both of their opening games which hardly matches their title aspirations.

Thrown into the mix that Erik ten Hag is struggling to win over United’s fans (and perhaps his players) just a few months into his tenure, plus Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool hit by injuries but always eager to flex their title credentials, and this should be a beauty. Let’s take a look at the sights around Old Trafford as kick off approaches...

Key storylines

United are still reeling from their shocking 4-0 defeat at Brentford, as Erik ten Hag’s side were 4-0 down after 35 minutes and caused so many of their own problems with huge mistakes and naive play in defense. Off the back of losing at home to Brighton, there is serious discontent growing among the fanbase, while Cristiano Ronaldo continues to stir the pot as he said he will make an announcement in two weeks regarding speculation about his future at the club. Even though United have agreed to sign Brazilian midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid (a huge upgrade on their current options) there is still a dark cloud hanging over Old Trafford. Only a shock win against Liverpool would lift it and that would only be momentarily as Erik ten Hag has to usher in a new style of player with a group of players seriously lacking in confidence.

As for Liverpool, they have hardly had a good start to the new season. Klopp’s side have looked vulnerable defensively and Darwin Nunez was sent off for headbutting Joachim Andersen as he flipped at Anfield against Crystal Palace. Injuries have been mounting up too as Klopp has few options in defense and midfield early in the season. That said, Liverpool still look very dangerous in attack and the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz will be licking their chops at the prospect of facing this beleaguered Manchester United defense. Liverpool have never won three-straight league games away at Manchester United, while Salah has scored eight goals in his last four games against United in all competitions.

In-form players to keep an eye on

For United, there are no players in form. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have tried their best to get United going in attack but have spent most of the first two games of the season defending. Christian Eriksen really struggled in a deeper midfield role at Brentford but perhaps the arrival of Casemiro (he won’t be available for this game) will give United extra defensive solidity and Eriksen will thrive alongside him. At the back, Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez both continue to struggle, while David de Gea had a nightmare at Brentford last time out.

Liverpool’s Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah have both looked sharp early in the season but Virgil van Dijk and Alisson have looked a little shaky amid some defensive struggles. Nat Phillips was badly caught out against Crystal Palace and it is likely Joe Gomez will come in at center back.

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup

Victor Lindelof and Facuno Pellistri are both out, while Anthony Martial is back in training and could play some part. Martial being back is a big boost for United as he was flying in preseason in a fluid front three. It will be intriguing to see if Raphael Varane, Tyrell Malacia and Scott McTominay all start after coming on at half time at Brentford.

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup

Liverpool have a lengthy injury list as Diogo Jota, Ibrahima Konate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Caoimhin Kelleher and Calvin Ramsay are all out. Klopp starts Firmino, Diaz and Salah in attack, as the former has just returned from a muscle injury. In midfield he has gone with Jordan Henderson, Harvey Elliott and James Milner, with Fabinho not starting.

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