Manchester United maintained their grasp on the second position in the Premier League after they outclassed Liverpool by a 2-1 scoreline at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford netted a brilliant first-half brace on his first league start of 2018, and this proved sufficient enough for the United win, despite Eric Bailly scoring an own-goal which brought Liverpool back into the game.
Three Things we learned:
Jose Mourinho’s tactical brilliance: The Special One may have received criticism for his way of handling the big games this term, but he got his tactics perfectly right versus the Reds. The Portuguese tactician nullified the Reds high-pressing game with the long-ball tactic from the goalkeeper, and this caught their opponents at the back during Marcus Rashford’s opener. Mourinho ultimately returned to a defensive approach at the end, with the involvement of Marouane Fellaini off the bench negating any late threat from the Reds.
Marcus Rashford’s performance: The young forward had become somewhat of a forlorn figure at Old Trafford after becoming a regular on the bench. Rashford impressed with his intensity during the second half of United’s comeback win over Crystal Palace, and he continued in the same vein versus Liverpool. The club graduate won the initial battle on the left with Trent Alexander-Arnold, and this enabled him to score a quick brace, which decided the game. Surely the debate over Rashford’s England future is now over after Gareth Southgate watched the brilliant showing from the stands.
Ashley Young vs Mohamed Salah: Mohamed Salah’s battle with Ashley Young was always expected to be key towards the game’s outcome. The Egypt international was closely tracked by Young over the course of the 90 minutes, and this nullified the forward’s movement towards the United backline. Salah found himself ahead of Young on one situation during the game, but the latter used his physical strength to restrict attacker’s movement towards goal. Young’s attempt triggered thoughts over a potential penalty, but the referee was not interested.