Liverpool fell five points behind Manchester United on the table after being beaten 2-1 by their bitter rivals at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The match began in a subdued manner, with both sides struggling to build up play at a high tempo. But, the game burst into life when Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock with a fine bending effort into the top right corner in what was his first Premier League start of 2018.
Virgil van Dijk almost scored on the other end, but Liverpool were made to pay instantly as Rashford doubled his and Manchester United’s tally for the evening with a near-identical goal as his first. The chances subsequently came few and far between for the Reds, although they had little hopes of a comeback when Eric Bailly turned the ball into his own net.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 10, 2018
Liverpool though, failed to capitalise on the goal as Manchester United held on stubbornly for the remainder of the game. The result saw the Merseyside club fall five points behind their bitter rivals, with a second-placed finish now looking like a tall order. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Loris Karius: 6/10
There was a feeling that he could have done better for the second goal, but there was very little that Karius could have done to stop two fantastic finishes. Otherwise, the German did not have much to do on Saturday, apart from a brave punched clearance with the imposing figure of Marouane Fellaini up against him.
A late slide challenge to initiate a build-up play showcased the decisiveness that has been growing in his game, and Karius is one of the few Liverpool players who can hold his head up high after this game.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 4/10
A nightmare of an afternoon for Alexander-Arnold. A motivated Marcus Rashford tormented him for much of the game, and the Manchester United forward’s pace and trickery proved to be too much for a player who is known for being pacy himself.
The teenager had little effect on the proceedings on the other end of the pitch as well, and his outing ended early as Liverpool sought to add men in the final third by introducing Georginio Wijnaldum.
Dejan Lovren: 4/10
As has often been the case with Lovren throughout his Liverpool career, a string of solid results were left undone by a horrible performance on Saturday. The Croat had his hands full with Romelu Lukaku, who sucked him out of position in the build-up to both of Manchester United’s goals. There was no coming back from those two errors.
Virgil van Dijk: 5/10
Van Dijk wasn’t directly at fault for either of the goals that Manchester United scored, but he failed to organise his back-line for the most part. An uncharacteristic error saw him leave Juan Mata open against Karius, but he was let off as the Spaniard couldn’t convert. Had two glorious chances to score on the other end, but he couldn’t find the target.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
One of the few Liverpool players who can’t be faulted much for the result. Robertson had very little trouble at the back, and tried his heart out with purposeful runs down the left flank. The Scot sent in several crosses that gave the Manchester United defence some jittery moments. His consistency truly is remarkable.
James Milner: 5/10
In the absence of Henderson, it was up to Milner to keep his side motivated, and he failed on that account. The veteran midfielder cannot be faulted for lack of trying as he battled hard all through the game. But, his final ball left a lot to be desired apart from a couple of fine crosses.
Emre Can: 5/10
Emre Can completed the most passes at Old Trafford today with 71, creating one chance, and won 3 of his 4 attempted tackles.
Thought he did well today 👊🏻 pic.twitter.com/5TiQ7MJFXO
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) March 10, 2018
An outing to forget for Can. The German failed in his defensive duties, and he couldn’t make any sort of impact on his forward forays. With Liverpool commanding the bulk of the possession, it was up to Can to move the ball forward at a high tempo, but he just couldn’t.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 4/10
Horrible day for Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Englishman was anonymous for large parts of the first half until he finally decided to wake up and impact the game. In the second half, he lasted just a quarter of an hour, although he was much improved in this duration, making a few driving runs, although his first touch let him down once again.
Mohamed Salah: 4/10
Liverpool’s talisman was a non-factor at any point of the game, which perhaps, best describes just how well Manchester United, and Ashley Young in particular, contained him. While he did have very little service to support him, the Egyptian’s link-up was poor as well.
Perhaps unlucky to not be rewarded with a penalty, although that remains the only moment when Young had a hard time against Salah. A last-minute effort was a glorious chance to earn Liverpool an equaliser. But, this wasn’t Salah’s afternoon as he blasted it well over the bar.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
Firmino, as is typical of him, worked extremely hard to help his side back into the game. But, Manchester United’s tremendously organised defence afforded him little space, forcing the Brazilian wide on several occasions in search of it. One touch in the final minutes of the game was a poor judgement by him as he was otherwise clean through on goal.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
Failed to step up in the face of adversity. Mane has often been the livewire for Liverpool, but his electric runs weren’t anywhere to be seen on Saturday. The Senegalese did show a lot of determination to create something out of nothing, but it just wasn’t enough, when what was needed was a special outing from him.
Adam Lallana: 6/10
Ironically, Liverpool’s best attacking player came off the bench. Lallana contributed more than almost every other player on the pitch, with his silky touches creating some sort of space that opened up a few half chances. Slowly but surely getting back to his best.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5/10
On for Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum was still showing the effects of his recent illness as he failed to raise the tempo of the game even when afforded acres of space in midfield. Perhaps still needs a game to get his rhythm back.