Manchester United Vs Liverpool: Player Ratings

ESSENTIALS
HARSHVARDHAN GHADGE AND MANISH SHARMA |21st October 2019

Jurgen Klopp’s robust reds arrived at the gates of old foes, Manchester United with a Premier League record in sight. A win for the Merseysiders would’ve equalled the English top flight record of 18 straight wins in the domestic league, previously held by the defending champions, Manchester City. But the age-old rivals of Liverpool from the North West had a trick or two up their sleeve.

With Man United just heads above the relegation zone, they had no right to make things difficult for their ‘unbearable’ adversaries. Solksjær and his men came with a plan, stuck to it and almost got unanticipated victory before Adam Lallana equalised, breaking Mancunian hearts.

The game had implications on both sides of the table, where now Liverpool have their lead shortened to 6 points with City at their tails, but United failing to get out of the bottom half of the table for yet another weekend.

Ole’s men were set up in a 3-4-3 on paper, which later changed to a 3-4-1-2 with Andreas Pereira as the No. 10. This was also the United gaffer’s first experiment with three centre halves at the back. With absolutely no results arriving with the traditional 4-3-3, the Norwegian had to shuffle things in hopes of a positive result.

The greatest and grandest rivalry of English football never fails to entertain and this was yet another chapter for the history books of this enmity. Clashes, VAR and an animated Jurgen Klopp on the touchline were the highlights from the North West derby. With United keeping the record of not losing a single game at home after scoring first, which stands from 1984, fans can expect a turn of fates from this point. But this still leaves Jurgen Klopp without a triumph at Old Trafford in his last 5 visits.

Manchester United

David De Gea6.5/10

After the Utd No. 1 was taken off in the recent international fixture against Sweden, his availability for this illustrious contest was doubted. David De Gea was quite unruffled in the first-half, except for picking up the ball from back of the net from a Mané goal that was later disallowed. Composed on the ball with his quick short passes to defenders around him had the Spaniard constantly involved.

De Gea saved 3 shots, out of which 2 of them were hit from inside the box. Considering their usual frightening form, Liverpool’s front 3 did not test him as they could have if they were on their day. But with Liverpool dominating the ball in second-half, a goal was but a matter of time. Another Premier League gameweek without a clean sheet extends the long wait to 4 matches for De Gea.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka- 7/10

The English right-back was handed a new role by Solksjær as a right-wingback, instead of his typically deeper traditional position. The 21 year old is renowned for his defensive side of the game, but not quite rated when going forward. Immediately getting hold of the new role, ‘AWB’ started popping up in spaces vacated by runs from Daniel James and Marcus Rashford. Within the starting minutes of the game, the No. 29 launched in a swirling cross towards Rashford that was cleared by the omnipresent Van Dijk and necessarily so.

The second-half saw the Red Devils sit deep and compact to absorb Liverpool’s constant attacks, Wan-Bissaka was also stationed deep into the box which gave Andrew Robertson plenty of time to put a low cross which was promptly steered into the net by Lallana.

Victor Lindelöf- 6.5/10

Stationed as a right centre-half in the 3-man backline, the Swede had to fend off a tenacious Divock Origi in the opening minutes of the tie. But his highlight came in the 35th minute as he won the ball (not quite cleanly) from the Belgian that sprung the counter attack which resulted in the goal for United. Winning 4 of his 5 duels and not conceding a single foul, Lindelöf was one his better days this season.

Harry Maguire-7/10

In the first 45 minutes, Harry Maguire with his defensive capabilities and strong presence in the box yet again proved his worth in gold for United. With 10 headed clearances and bossing his way out of 3 duels, the England international was a formidable presence in the rejuvenated United backline.

Marcos Rojo- 6/10

The Argentinian had a seat reserved on the bench before the first-choice centre-back Axel Tuanzebe had an injury and had to be taken off the squad list. This was his first start to a Premier League fixture this season and the rustiness was quite evident. A battle with Roberto Firmino in the second-half was the highlight of Rojo’s game. With a passing accuracy of just 59% and none of his 2 crosses finding a united shirt, this was quite a dismal performance to say the least.

Ashley Young- 5.5/10

Having been on the wrong end of the United supporters for almost 2 full seasons, the new formation had some hope for the old Young to bring out his natural winger from the left-hand side. With Luke Shaw being absent due to injury, Young got another 90 mins in a United shirt with only 63% of his passes finding the desired target. Apart from a few courageous runs at the beginning of the game, this was just another of those performances no one from the red side of Manchester would be proud of.

Fred- 6/10

Going off just the statistic of a pass completion of 92% might just be enough for someone who’s not watched the game pan out to declare a solid 90 minutes of work from the Brazilian. But the story was as far from the truth as possible. Out of his 22 passes that found a man, most of them were passed back to the defender. With a full season with the club under his belt, Fred still hasn’t found his footing at Old Trafford which is a worrying sign.

Scott McTominay-7.5/10

Even if the season isn’t going to Solskjær’s plan, one shining light is the good run of games for Scott McTominay, who has emerged as a central figure within this side. The Scotsman was the last player to score for United through what was a thumping strike against Arsenal. His rich vein of form continued against Liverpool and was heavily involved in the offensive and the defensive side of the game for the Red Devils

Completing 3 clearances, registering a shot on target and making robust aerial challenges, McTominay was especially useful in the first 45 minutes of the game.

Andreas Pereira- 8/10 (Man of The Match)

The United midfielder was handed the number 10 role due to reshuffling of the formation and Pereira showed resolve as he was up for the challenge. The Brazilian started his game with getting into pockets of space on the right-wing and feeding enticing passes to runners in front of him. With his only attempted shot swirling away from the frame, both of his long balls were delivered unerringly. In an attacking sense, Pereira was the best player on the pitch for United.

Daniel James. 7.5/10

The 21-year old registered his first assist when he chipped in with a delightful cross for Rashford to poke it in and hand United the lead. With the Old Trafford faithful already heavily impressed with the young lad, Dan James was full of spirit in his first taste of the epic rivalry.

His debut in English football’s feistiest battle had more to it however as his inexperience meant that defence rocks like Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk had an easy time outmuscling and overpowering the Welsh international. James had the least touches (39) of any outfield player to play 90 minutes.

Marcus Rashford-7.5

Marcus Rashford and his ability to step up for his boyhood club at the grandest of stages is still a mystery for most pundits and fans alike. Coming into this iconic fixture with a goal drought of 6 games, not many backed the 21-year-old to put his name on the scoresheet. With a simple cross that surpassed Matip, Rashford just had to apply the clinical touch, which he did and handed the hosts the lead.

When VAR intervened, Old Trafford held its collective breath before referee Michael Oliver pointed to the centre circle. The England international completed the most dribbles (4) and was brilliant on the night. The link-up between the youthful frontline looked solid at times, and Rashford was at the heart of it. All in all, this was a good 84 minutes of work from one of the favourite sons of Old Trafford.

Substitutes

Anthony Martial- 5/10

Returning from injury, ‘Tony’ Martial was a direct replacement for goalscorer Rashford. In his short cameo that lasted a little more than 6 minutes, the French forward had only 3 touches of the football. He also failed to track back and do the dirty work for his side on more than 1 occasion. It’s safe to say that Martial is a long way from the shoulder-dropping, tricky winger we all know and love him for.

Brandon Williams – N/A

Brandon Williams is the newest graduate from the renowned Manchester United academy to don the colors of red devils. However, he did not have enough time on the pitch to be rated.

Liverpool

Alisson Becker – 6/10

His first game back from injury and the stage couldn’t have been bigger for the Brazilian. Alisson looked a little bit rusty during the early stages but went on to improve in terms of distribution as the game progressed. He couldn’t have done much about the goal with the shot, however.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6/10

Alexander-Arnold tried to create chances down the right but didn’t have much luck with his crossing in the match. The Scouser did well at times in terms of tracking back at counter attacks, however he could have possibly tried to stay with Rashford on the counter to prevent the first goal. The right- back almost scored in the dying embers with a shot from outside the box.

Joel Matip – 6/10

Another player coming back from injury, Matip showed no signs of slowing down in the first-half. The Cameroon international played a classy through ball for Mane’s disallowed goal. However, he could have done better for tracking the movement of Rashford for United’s opener. Not his worst, but certainly far from his brilliant best.

Virgil Van Dijk – 6.5/10

The Dutchman was calm and composed throughout the entire match, which is generally expected of the ice-cool Van Dijk. There was one moment in the first-half where he stumbled while being involved in a foot race with Rashford. Apart from that, the centre-half could have done better in terms of distribution with many of his long balls not finding the target today.

Andy Robertson – 7.5/10

Just like his fellow full-back, the Scot didn’t have much luck with his delivery. However, he did well to pick out Adam Lallana at the far-post for Liverpool’s equalizer. The left-back made a crucial interception in the first half from a United free-kick to stop Rashford having a shot on goal.

Fabinho – 6.5/10

Probably the first pick in the midfield these days for Jurgen Klopp, the Brazilian did well to break many of Manchester United’s attack. He could have done a little better in terms of distribution in the second half when the opposition was camped inside their own half. Got the only yellow card of the match in the second half for a foul on Daniel James who was threatening to break on the counter.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6/10

Fresh from his scoring streak for his national side in the last week, the Dutchman looked really threatening in the first-half. He did well to get away from a couple of United midfielders to get the first shot on target for Liverpool. However, that was his only major contribution from Gini before he was replaced in the second half by Naby Keïta.

Jordan Henderson – 5.5/10

In a game of this magnitude, the Liverpool skipper tried his best to produce moments of quality which the game was lacking in the entire match. However, he wasn’t really at his energetic best today. Also, it didn’t really help his case when he was made to play out of position as a right-sided winger in the second-half. The ex-Sunderland man was then substituted by Adam Lallana with just 20 minutes left.

Divock Origi – 5.5/10

With Salah still not match fit, the chance was their for-cult hero Divock Origi to make a huge impression. The Belgian did well in terms of tracking back when required. However, he couldn’t show much of his quality in the final third with the end product often letting him down.

Sadio Mané – 6.5/10

Mané’s disallowed goal was a gamechanger in the contest

Even in a game of such low quality, Mané did well enough to show glimpses of his magic on certain occasions. He was a real menace for the back 3 all afternoon with his constant movement. He has been devastating this campaign, rescuing Liverpool on several occasions and the Senegalese wideman’s chance to become a hero was lost when his goal was ruled out by VAR.

Roberto Firmino – 5/10

Every Liverpool fan, including Roberto Firmino would admit that this was not one of his best days at the office. The No.9 barely made any impact in the entire match. He had a good chance in the first-half when he was allowed to take a shot from inside the box but his tame effort was easily gathered by De Gea. Liverpool fans would be hoping that he comes back to his usual best for the upcoming matches.

Substitutes

Adam Lallana – 7/10

Lallana came off the bench to Liverpool’s rescue (Fussboll)

Adam Lallana was electrifying coming off the bench and was at his usual energetic best. The former Southampton creator was at the right place and at the right time to tap in a late equalizer in the 85th minute which helped Liverpool secure a draw and maintain their unbeaten start of the season.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – 5.5/10

Oxlade-Chamberlain is starting to get his confidence back with each and every passing match. The former Arsenal midfielder did well to take a couple of shots from long-range and also in retaining possession. The ‘Ox’ almost scored the winner from outside the box and could have stolen the show for the Scousers.

Naby Keïta – 5/10

Keïta made his first appearance for Liverpool in the Premier league this season and while he didn’t really made any major impact after coming on, he did well to control possession in the midfield.

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