Manchester United beat old foe Liverpool in EPL thriller

Dutch coach Erik ten Hag picked up his first win as Manchester United manager as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Monday.

MANCHESTER – Erik ten Hag picked up his first win as Manchester United manager as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Monday.

United had started bottom of the Premier League at the weekend but rose above Liverpool on a powerful night for their new Dutch manager.

Liverpool’s long-awaited title challenge is fading fast as Jurgen Klopp’s men have three more games to win in the new season.

United fans started the evening with a protest march through Old Trafford to protest a decade of decline overseen by the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

A social media move urging fans to boycott the game after an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Brentford last weekend has failed to materialise.

But even amid celebrations of a first league win over Liverpool since 2018, the chants of “We want Glazers out” continued throughout the 90 minutes.

Ten Hag responded to conceding four goals in 35 minutes at Brentford by dropping Cristiano Ronaldo and captain Harry Maguire with four substitutions.

After becoming the first United manager in over a century to lose their first two games, the former Ajax manager got the response he wanted in an explosive first half hour which Liverpool fought back.

“We can talk about tactics, but it’s all about attitude,” Ten Hag said.

Anthony Elanga should have opened the scoring when he came from the base of the post to leave Liverpool wide open after two assists from Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes.

Defensive disorganization was a repeated failure of Liverpool’s winless start to the season and they failed to learn the lesson of the 16th-minute opener.

A clean one-two between Elanga and Christian Eriksen opened up the Liverpool defense again and when the ball was brought back to Sancho it left James Milner on the ground before a cool drive home.

LIVERPOOL LACKING MIDFIELD OPTIONS

Milner bounced back to face Virgil Van Dijk for his role in goal when the Dutch defender sent off Sancho.

“The start of the game was exactly what everyone expected, what the United fans expected, they were after us,” Klopp said.

“They started a bit more aggressively than us. After the goal they were able to play more of the game they wanted.”

Liverpool’s reluctance to update Klopp’s midfield options is under closer scrutiny in the closing days of the transfer window.

With Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita out injured, Milner, 36, was showing his age and Klopp had few options to rely on on the bench as new €75m striker Darwin Nunez served his first suspension of three games for being sent off at home early.

Liverpool’s lack of energy in midfield was revealed for United’s second goal as Jordan Henderson’s poor contact gave possession to Anthony Martial and his perfect through ball released Rashford to score his first goal since January.

Restoring Rashford’s confidence is one of the many tasks ahead of Ten Hag.

But the England striker looked more like himself and only a good save from Alisson to his left deprived Rashford of his second and United’s third.

“For me, it’s about mentality,” Rashford said. “If I’m happy and feel happy, I’m going to play well, score goals and help the team.”

United goalkeeper David de Gea’s error opened the floodgates at Brentford, but the Spaniard also played his part in a night of redemption by saving Luis Diaz from close range.

Mohamed Salah’s header secured a goal from the stands with 10 minutes to go, but United called on steel rarely seen in recent seasons to sail through the closing stages and secure a much-needed boost for their new boss.

  • AFP
RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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