Man United beat Liverpool without Ronaldo, Maguire to kick-start the Ten Hag era in style

MANCHESTER, England – Goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford helped Man United shake off a tumultuous start to the season and beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford to reignite their campaign. Mohamed Salah scored a consolation goal in the last 10 minutes to cause some nervous moments for the hosts but the win is vindication for United boss Erik ten Hag as they seek to disrupt a club.

– Report: Man United beat Liverpool | Premier League table | Upcoming appointments

Here’s our reaction to Monday’s lively Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

GO TO: Player Ratings | Best/worst performance | Highlights and Notable Moments | Quotes after the game | Key Statistics | Upcoming appointments

Fast reaction

1. United start the season without Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo

Around 10,000 fans gathered outside Old Trafford before kick-off and tried to force lasting changes at Manchester United through protests over Glazer family ownership, but Erik ten Hag showed he could shake things up much sooner after the teams announced had been.

Dropping both your club captain and legendary centre-forward for a game of this magnitude takes some confidence, but United have been without Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since January 15. In fact, it was only the fourth Premier League game since Ronaldo returned to United from Juventus last summer and the difference in performance after the bland defeat at Brentford could hardly have been greater as Ten Hag secured his first Premier League win of his career .

Perhaps it was the protests that stirred the soul. Perhaps it was the identity of the opposition, whose supporters arrived with pictures of Avram Glazer chanting ‘Up the Glazers’ as Liverpool attempted to extend their recent dominance over United. But either way, United started the Ten Hag reign with a performance brimming with hunger, discipline and counterattacking quality that had been almost entirely lacking in the first two games.

United supporters have long wished for an exciting vision of the future – could it be done more often without Ronaldo and Maguire?

2. Sancho and Rashford come alive

Both Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have been in such miserable form of late that their hopes of making England’s World Cup squad are hanging by a thread these days. Sancho has often struggled for his composure in front of goal but he showed plenty of that after 16 minutes at Old Trafford when he conceded Anthony Elanga’s low cross from a central position in the box. Realizing he had time, Sancho dropped his shoulder to avoid falling James Milner before slipping past Alisson with a lateral foot and scoring his first United goal since March 6.

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Rashford spent the summer working on his fitness to revive his career but after a start through the middle he looked underconfident and wasteful in front of goal as United failed to translate their superiority past Sancho’s strike into the goal-line . That was until substitute Anthony Martial, who came on for Elanga at half-time, sent Rashford clear and he scored a cool finish from the near post for his 60th Premier League goal. He is only the tenth United player to reach this milestone.

Both still have a long way to go – the same goes for United together – but the revival had to start somewhere and here were two performances for both to build on.

3. Liverpool are under pressure to re-enter the transfer market as the start slows

Liverpool’s absentee list was a clear problem before kick-off: Caoimhín Kelleher, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diogo Jota, Calvin Ramsay and of course the suspended Darwin Nunez. Jurgen Klopp will no doubt continue to argue that Liverpool have enough quality to consistently perform at the same level of performance as last season, but even without missing players this was still a line-up that should have produced far more than here.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defense was suspect again, especially in the first half. Elanga constantly caused problems for the right-back and set up Sancho’s opening goal. Liverpool also missed Sadio Mane, not only because of his quality in the last third, but also because of his way of pressing without the ball. Nunez showed promise ahead of his red card against Crystal Palace and the injury picture will ease shortly but two points from their first three games will put pressure on Liverpool to enter the market before deadline day – perhaps most evidently in midfield, where they were overpowered and rethought by United.

They have a habit of waiting for favored targets rather than bolstering numbers, a method that is the basis of their success. But 10 days of temptation await them.

Player Ratings

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea 8; Diogo Dalot (7), Raphael Varane (8), Lisandro Martinez (8), Tyrell Malacia (7); Christian Eriksen7, Scott McTominay7; Jadon Sancho 8, Bruno Fernandes 6, Anthony Elanga 7; Marcus Rashford7.
Subtitle: Anthony Martial (7), Fred (6), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6), Cristiano Ronaldo (6), Donny van de Beek (6).

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alison, 6; Trent Alexander-Arnold 5, Joe Gomez 6, Virgil van Dijk 5, Andy Robertson 6; Harvey Elliott 6, Jordan Henderson 5, James Milner 5; Mohamed Salah (7), Roberto Firmino (6), Luis Diaz (5).
Subtitle: Fabinho 6, Fabio Carvalho 7, Kostas Tsimikas 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Lisandro Martinez

Had a difficult start to his United career. but he embodied the aggression and determination of the team here. It was a close race between him and Varane for the honors, but it was a fine performance from the pair given the added scrutiny that came with Maguire’s omission.

Worst: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Getting a hot time from Elanga early on and not being able to use the ball as effectively as he does up front so often.



Steve Nicol slams Liverpool’s back line and explains why Virgil van Dijk failed in Manchester United defeat

Highlights and notable moments

Ahead of the game, Man United were able to unveil their new signing, ex-Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, and manager Ten Hag was all too willing to update the media about his line-up decisions ahead of the game. It turns out he was right this time…

Meanwhile, the small contingent of Liverpool fans tried their best to throw United off rhythm in the face of the pre-game protests, although the hosts would have the last laugh (and all three points).

After the game: what the managers, players said

“It means a lot. Our first two games didn’t go so well and today we had to do the opposite. Last week hurt a lot and we knew we had to recover and tonight we showed the fans what we can do.

“It means a lot to all of us, you can see how the fans are reacting. We got the three points, but on to the next one. We just have to produce in every single game like we did today. Happy that we got the three points. ” We continue.” – Man United striker Jadon Sancho

“I said yes [the players] we must act, not talk much. Make sure you are a team and fight and be brave. It’s not just about spirit out of possession. Sometimes forwards think they can’t make it because they have to save their energy for offensive action. It’s a demand these days, and you’ve seen it. It makes me happy that Rashford and Sancho scored.” – Man United manager Erik ten Hag

“Two points from nine isn’t the start we wanted. We have to improve our performances individually and collectively. We can’t go on like this out there: it’s easy to talk about it in the dressing room, but we have to go.” get out and do it. We can’t keep conceding goals. They started better today than we did. That needs to change.” – Liverpool defender Andy Robertson

[Missing numerous players is] Not cool, of course, but I like the line-up for tonight’s game. I also saw good performances tonight, obviously not good enough to win the game. But I think we all know that if we equalize in any situation, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world. It’s a deserved draw after a start where United looked sharper than us but it wasn’t [for] too long and something to be expected in the situation.” — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– Manchester United continued a remarkable streak on Monday as they have never lost a home game in the Premier League as they led at half-time. The Red Devils are unbeaten in all 305 PL home games (282-0-23 WLD), with the last home defeat in the league coming in the half-time lead in May 1984 against Ipswich.

– Marcus Rashford scored his fifth Premier League goal against Liverpool, his second highest against an opponent in the league. (Leicester City lead Rashford’s personal record by six goals.)

– Mohamed Salah’s consolation strike netted 10 goals for Liverpool against Man United in all competitions, the most in club history, and broke a tie with Steven Gerrard. Salah also continued his winning streak at Old Trafford, with seven goals in four straight games against United. Feeling better about the result may not help him, but he has scored more goals against Man United than any other opponent.

– Liverpool on Monday said goodbye to their 21-game Premier League run, their first loss since December 28, 2021 to Leicester City.

– The win was Man United’s first this season and breaks a four-game PL losing streak that stretches back to last season – which was the club’s longest such streak in league history and the longest run in the League since 1978/79. The result also ended Man United’s eight-game winning streak against Liverpool in the Premier League.


Manchester United: After welcoming Liverpool at Old Trafford, Erik ten Hag’s side face a trip to Southampton (27 August) in the Premier League, followed by a visit to Leicester City on 1 September.

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s side have little time to rest ahead of two Premier League games in the next 10 days, with Bournemouth (27 August) at Anfield followed by Newcastle’s visit on 31 August. Man United beat Liverpool without Ronaldo, Maguire to kick-start the Ten Hag era in style

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