Marcus Rashford was on the double as Manchester United defeated bitter rivals Liverpool 2-1 at the Old Trafford.

Manchester United strengthened their hold on the second place in the Premier League, when they beat third-placed Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday.

Rashford handed the home side the lead in the 14th minute with a lovely strike cutting in from the left-side after being put through by Romelu Lukaku. The England international was on hand to make it 2-0 ten minutes later to send Old Trafford into raptures.

Liverpool seemed to have found a lifeline in the second-half when Eric Bailly inadvertantly diverted the ball into his own net from a Sadio Mane cross, but Manchester United held on to take all three points from the game against the Merseysiders.

The win sees them move five points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side in the table with eight games left to be played. And here’s how we rated the performances of Jose Mourinho’s players on the day;

David De Gea: 6.5/10

The Spaniard did not have a lot of saves to make on the day, but instead it was his distribution from the back that stood out. Picked out Lukaku with great accuracy in the lead up to both the goals for United. Almost managed to pull off a save to stop Bailly’s own goal.

Antonio Valencia: 6/10

The Manchester United captain defended much more resolutely that he has done in recent weeks, never really allowing Sadio Mane to flourish. Drove forward on a couple of occasions with great intent and showed great energy throughout the game. Booked.

Eric Bailly: 7/10

Making his first Premier League appearance since November last year, the Ivory Coast international showed why he is regarded as the best centre-back in the United ranks in the first period. Ended up scoring an own goal after the break, which was the only blot on his copy book. Soldiered on with an injury and made a couple of key blocks late in the game as the Reds pressed for a winner.

Chris Smalling: 7/10

The England international has drawn some ire from the fans of late, but his display against Liverpool was a huge improvement from the last game. Looked in control at the back throughout, was a vocal presence on the pitch and made sure that the famed attacking trio of Liverpool were kept at bay.

Ashley Young: 8.5/10

Not many Manchester United fans were looking forward to the prospect of seeing him go up against Mo Salah. But the veteran proved all doubters wrong with a brilliant display at left-back. Never allowed the Egyptian a sniff at goal throughout the game, constantly cutting out passes to negate Liverpool’s biggest threat going forward.

Scott McTominay: 6.5/10

After a poor game against Palace, the youngster bounced back with another extremely impressive display in the middle of the park for the Red Devils. Disciplined and determined in the middle, McTominay frustrated the Liverpool players. Was beaten for pace by Sadio Mane leading to the Reds’ goal, but still a commendable display.

Nemanja Matic: 7/10

Carried on where he left off against Palace last week. Did the dirty work in the middle of the park constantly breaking up play and thwarting Liverpool’s momentum. His awareness and positioning were brilliant throughout, but did play a few sloppy passes here and there. Once again proving his worth in a big game.

Juan Mata: 6/10

His movement between the lines caused some issues to the Liverpool defence. Was involved in the lead up to the second goal and almost made it three for United with an acrobatic finish that just went wide. Worked hard off the ball, but seemed to fade with time.

Alexis Sanchez: 6/10

Starting in the hole behind the striker with freedom to roam, the Chilean international showed signs of improvement against the Reds. His work-rate was very good, was always looking to harry the Liverpool players. Almost got an assist with a peach of a cross for Mata in the first period.

The hero on the day for United (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

The hero on the day for United (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Marcus Rashford: 8.5/10

Starting his first Premier League game since the turn of the year, the academy graduate made the most of his opportunity. Gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a nightmare with his running and pace. Opened the scoring with a brilliant strike cutting in from the right, before doubling his tally on the day with another excellent finish. Clearly needs to be playing more. Excellent.

Romelu Lukaku: 7.5/10

The Belgian may not have got himself on the scoresheet, but he was the chief architect for both of United’s goals. Beat Lovren in the air to set Rashford through on goal for the opener, before getting the better of the Croatian again in the buildup to the goal. Mourinho’s ‘sergeant’ was once again immense.

Substitutes

Marouane Fellaini: 5/10

Replaced Rashford with just a little over twenty minutes left to play to mark his return from a lengthy absence due to injury. Added more brawn and physicality to his team, but could have conceded a penalty.

Jesse Lingard: N/A

On for Mata with little time left. Pressed hard.

Matteo Darmian: N/A

Late substitution.

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