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10th Mar 2018

Player ratings as Manchester United get the better of Liverpool at Old Trafford

One Liverpool player got a 3/10

Robert Redmond

Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon thanks to two goals from Marcus Rashford.

Here’s how we rated the players:

Manchester United (Rated by Matt Gault)

David de Gea – 6

It wasn’t the busiest afternoon for the Spaniard in terms of producing full-stretch saves but he was perhaps fortunate on one or two occasions when a combination of hesitation and miscommunication saw him glued to his line when he should have come off it to clear the ball. He was beaten at his near post by Eric Bailly’s calamitous own-goal but the stopper certainly wouldn’t have been expecting the Ivorian’s error.

Antonio Valencia – 7

There were one or two occasions when Roberto Firmino or Andy Robertson made menacing runs but, for the most part, the experienced Ecuadorian showcased his knowhow and contributed to United keeping their shape and discipline as they rode out waves of pressure from the away side, particularly in the second half. Lucky to avoid a red card for a reckless challenge on Sadio Mane.

Eric Bailly – 6

Prior to bungling the ball past his own keeper, the centre-back was pushing for an 8. In the 65 minutes leading up to that unfortunate contribution, Bailly had been hugely impressive, keeping the searing pace of Sadio Mane in check while clearing his lines on countless occasions. Ultimately, Mane’s driven cross to the near post proved one too many and let Liverpool back into the game.

Chris Smalling – 6.5

He was guilty of allowing Virgil van Dijk to wriggle free during a couple of set-pieces which could have proved very costly on a different afternoon, particularly when the Dutchman headed wide from six yards out with the score at 1-0. Overall, Smalling was solid alongside Bailly at the heart of United’s defence.

Ashley Young – 8

Excellent. It’s a testament to Young’s discipline and appetite for the defensive side of the game that he remains a regular fixture for Jose Mourinho in these big games. More than that, the 32-year-old managed to confine Mohamed Salah to the periphery of proceedings, running tirelessly to ensure the Egyptian flier was kept in check.

Scott McTominay – 7

After a shaky 45 minutes at Selhurst Park on Monday night, the young midfielder enjoyed a much more assertive time of it here. The 21-year-old stood up well to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at times and looked a natural fit alongside Nemanja Matic. If Paul Pogba had have been passed fit to play, McTominay perhaps would have missed out. He was undone by Mane’s blistering pace in the build-up to Bailly’s own-goal but most players would be in a one-on-one.

However, with the Frenchman out, the youngster seized his opportunity well and put a chastening half of football against Palace to bed.

Nemanja Matic – 7

Once again, the Serbia international looked commanding in the centre. Although he produced a wonderful last-minute goal to beat Palace, he was back to his usual remit here, breaking up Liverpool’s attacks and striding out of defence to bring United forward. As a midfield wall, McTominay and Matic are certainly formidable. United fans will always want to see the thrust and enterprise of Pogba, but they certainly looked like a cohesive unit here without him.

Juan Mata – 7

The Spaniard’s preferred position isn’t on the right but he managed to keep himself very much involved in the first-half, even when United were targeting Trent Alexander-Arnold down the opposite flank. Mata’s work-rate was as commendable as ever, but he’ll surely be disappointed at failing to convert Alexis Sanchez’s cross with the attempted overhead kick.

Alexis Sanchez – 5.5

Mourinho said pre-game United haven’t got the best out of Sanchez so far and those words rang true here. The Chilean, despite being deployed centrally, struggled to make an impression. However, what he lacked in finesse and cutting edge he certainly made up for in dogged perseverance, running himself into the ground as United dug deep to see the game out.

Marcus Rashford – 8

In his first Premier League start in 2018, the England forward’s contributions were deadly. Latching on to Romelu Lukaku’s flicked header, Rashford beat Alexander-Arnold before lashing home a first, before taking advantage of van Dijk’s half-clearance to convert the second. Following that, the England international was lucky to stay on the pitch after a couple of questionable challenges while on a yellow card, but his clinical eye for goal still lifted United to three massive points.

Romelu Lukaku – 7

May not have bagged himself a goal but the Belgian striker was still effective, flicking on long balls from de Gea for both goals. Although he was unable to score his 100th Premier League, Mourinho will be pleased with his forward’s overall endeavours here.

Marouane Fellaini – 7

Came on and added some fresh legs and much-needed height while defending set-pieces.


Jesse Lingard – N/A

Matteo Darmian – N/A

Liverpool (Rated by Robert Redmond)

Loris Karius – 6

In no man’s land for United’s second goal. He rushed out to try to narrow the angle for a potential Mata shot, and left an empty goal behind him. Otherwise, he was rarely tested and had no chance for the opening goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4

It was obvious from the opening few minutes that United were targeting the young full-back, and their strategy paid off for the opening goal. David de Gea hoofed it long, Romelu Lukaku won the header and Marcus Rashford got inside Alexander-Arnold. The full-back’s starting position was too wide. He managed to catch-up with Rashford, but got turned inside out when the United forward chopped back onto his stronger right-foot and buried it past Karius.

For Rashford’s second goal, Alexander-Arnold got sucked-in, coming inside to try to stop Juan Mata’s run, but left Rashford in space behind him and the England forward made it 2-0.

Dejan Lovren – 4

Lovren had one of those days. He didn’t struggle as much as he did away to Spurs earlier in the season, but he was bullied by Lukaku in the first-half and beaten to several headers. Suspect for both of Rashford’s goals.

Virgil van Dijk – 5

Missed a big chance early in the first-half, failing to score a header and didn’t cover himself in glory defensively in the first-half. Largely untested after the break.

Andrew Robertson – 6

Got forward at every opportunity and created a chance with a fizzing cross just before half-time, which was cut-out by Ashley Young. United tended to attack down Liverpool’s right-hand side, so Robertson wasn’t tested defensively the way his teammate Alexander-Arnold was on the other side.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 3

The mistakes of Liverpool’s defence will come into focus after the game, which will be good news for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was dreadful. He was awful in possession and wandered around with the bemused look of someone who won a raffle to play in the game. He also played like a raffle-winner. Oxlade-Chamberlain lost the ball 19 times, and was extremely lucky not to be substituted at half-time.

It’s difficult to see Liverpool challenging for major honours with someone so poor on the ball in central midfield.

James Milner – 6

Worked hard and was the most incisive of Liverpool’s midfield when in possession.

Emre Can – 6

Didn’t do a lot wrong and had Alex Sanchez snapping at his heels throughout. Solid in possession, and provided the base for Liverpool to lay siege to United’s goal in the second-half.

Mohamed Salah – 5

A quiet game by his standards, touching the ball the fewest times of any Liverpool outfield player. Up against the in-form Young, Salah couldn’t find space when he drifted inside.

Roberto Firmino – 7

Worked hard and was the liveliest of Liverpool’s forwards, but found space hard to come-by up against the excellent Bailly and United’s back-six, particularly in the first-half. Created a chance in the final few minutes with a deft flick back to Mane.

Sadio Mane – 7

Created Liverpool’s goal with a searing run past Scott McTominay and a dangerous cross which was turned-in to his own net by Bailly. Constantly on the move looking for gaps in United’s defence to appear.


Adam Lallana – 6

Replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain for the last 30 minutes. In truth, he didn’t need to do much to be an upgrade on his teammate.

Georginio Wijnaldum – N/A

Not on long enough to rate.

Dominic Solanke – N/A

Not on long enough to rate.