Manchester United firmed their prospects of securing the runner-up spot after they beat Liverpool by a 2-1 scoreline at Old Trafford on Sunday. The visitors had come into the game in a good run of scoring form but Jose Mourinho managed to nullify their threat with another tactical masterclass.
Marcus Rashford, who was handed his first Premier League start of the year, was the star of the show with a brace within the opening 24 minutes and the Reds’ sole consolation came in the form of an own goal from Eric Bailly during the second period.
David de Gea: The Spain international had a comfortable afternoon between the sticks with the defenders taking charge of their respective duties. His distribution was impressive on the day with one of his long-range attempts finding Rashford in a goal-scoring position – 7/10
Antonio Valencia: The standing captain was overrun on the right side of the defence with Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane finding sufficient space behind him. He was guilty of failing to intercept Sadio Mane’s pass in the lead-up to the Reds goal – 6/10
Eric Bailly: The Ivorian made his maiden Premier League start of 2018 and he did not disappoint with a commanding performance at the back. The central defender’s only flaw came via the own goal conceded but he retained his focus for the remainder of the game – 7/10
Chris Smalling: A much better performance from the England international who had been shaky during the visit of Selhurst Park. Was solid alongside Bailly at the heart of the backline and barely allowed the opposition a sight of goal – 7/10
Ashley Young: Young was tasked with the job of limiting the threat from Mohamed Salah and he managed to do the job with flying colours. Salah was barely offered room to express himself and this partially won the game for United – 7/10
Nemanja Matic: Matic managed to provide a glowing performance against the Reds where his awareness with key interceptions forced the Reds to adopt a wider route. He has certainly not shown signs of fatigue despite being ever-present for the league duties – 7/10
Scott McTominay: The youngster was brought into the lineup for the crunch game after Paul Pogba sustained a cut on his leg. He was impressive with his tireless workrate and movement in the first half but showed signs of body stress towards the end – 6.5/10
Juan Mata: Mata did not have the best of games in the frontline but he managed to keep things organised with his accurate passing. He came on the cusp of scoring United’s third goal after a sublime cross from Alexis Sanchez – 6/10
Alexis Sanchez: The Chilean was offered a free role in the United attack and he was unfortunate to have not contributed a goal or an assist. Sanchez delivered a delightful cross for Mata, who missed a clear-cut opportunity to score – 7/10
Marcus Rashford: The Englishman’s future had come into question in recent weeks but he managed to answer his critics with a match-winning brace. He had the better of Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold for most of the encounter – 8/10
Romelu Lukaku: Lukaku has grown into an all-round player as the season has progressed and he was once more influential against the Reds. The Belgian provided the headed assist for Rashford’s opening goal of the match after winning the physical tussle with Dejan Lovren – 7/10
Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Matteo Darmian
Image – Getty