Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino starred while Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw struggled as Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-4 at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
Both Manchester United and Liverpool took the game to each other, making it for an enticing watch from kick-off. And it was the hosts that took the lead after a bright spell, through Bruno Fernandes’ effort that took a massive deflection off of Nat Phillips. Liverpool, though, were spurred by the early setback and after having a penalty shout turned over, equalised through Diogo Jota’s clever flick, with United failing to clear the ball properly.
Chances continued to come for either team but it seemed like Liverpool had the edge as Manchester United started getting sloppy. And eventually, the Reds were 2-1 up as Roberto Firmino headed home from a free-kick on the cusp of half-time. The Brazilian then pounced on a defensive lapse from the home team to double his side’s advantage minutes into the second half.
This sparked Manchester United back into life as they once again started to pose a threat and eventually pulled a goal back through Marcus Rashford. The Red Devils could have equalised through substitute Mason Greenwood if not for a couple of important blocks from Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams. And as they poured men forward to find a leveller, Mohamed Salah hit them on the break to make it 4-2 in the 90th minute and seal a huge win for Jurgen Klopp & co.
The result gives Liverpool’s top four hopes a massive boost as they are now four points behind Chelsea with a game in hand, whereas Manchester United will need to beware of Leicester City behind them if they are to hold on to the second spot in the table. Here are our player ratings for both sets of stars from Old Trafford in what was an exciting encounter.
Dean Henderson: 5/10
Made a couple of good saves to deny Diogo Jota in the first period and stopped another after the break. However, there were times when he was not convincing. Was at fault for the third goal and could have probably positioned himself better for the fourth.
If David De Gea did this the TL wouldn't shut up for ages but since Henderson has an English passport no one seems to give a damn🙄 pic.twitter.com/U1TjbEAhe5
— Mystery Tweeter (@MysteryTweete11) May 13, 2021
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
One of the few bright spots for Manchester United, Wan-Bissaka looked purposeful in his attacking ventures in the first half and made some positive runs before and after he set Fernandes up for the goal. Did not let much get past him at the back either, while managing two key passes.
Eric Bailly: 3/10
The only player retained in the lineup from the Leicester City defeat on Tuesday, Bailly was rash and reckless as he almost gave away a penalty in the first half while offering little in terms of security at the back. Performances like these make it clear as to why Manchester United need another top-class centre-back.
Victor Lindelof: 4/10
Not good enough from the Swede who needed to step up in the absence of Harry Maguire, but it was the opposite case. Looked nervy and clueless at times and was one of those at fault for the third goal.
Luke Shaw: 4/10
A rare off night for Shaw, who has been right among United’s best players this term. Gave away the ball sloppily leading to a chance early on and appeared laid back at times both defensively and when going forward. Guilty for the third goal that Liverpool scored, although he did show some improvement going forward after that.
Scott McTominay: 3/10
Aggressive as usual in the middle of the park, but was so poor on the ball, as he ended up giving away possession way too frequently. Indeed misplaced 20 of his 66 attempted passes on the night, depriving United of any sort of control in midfield. Lucky not receive a second yellow after the break.
🗣"As long as them 2 (Fred & McTominay) are playing in midfield for Manchester United they will be winning any big trophies."
Roy Keane's honest assessment of Manchester United and says it is scary how far behind Manchester City they are pic.twitter.com/HzCQDcGArL
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 13, 2021
Slightly better than his midfield partner, which is not much to say, however. Had a few positive moments in the first half when he pushed forward but came up short against his Liverpool counterparts more often than not and was partly guilty for the third goal. Did get in a few tackles and made a key pass before being taken off.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Ineffective from the off, the Manchester United No. 10 hardly got into the game in the first half. Did little of note on the ball and often ended up losing his duels with Andrew Robertson and Rhys Williams. Better after shifting to the left-wing in the second period, as he scored the second goal and made another dangerous run but was only able to hit the side netting. The goal gets his rating a bump.
Bruno Fernandes: 6/10
Most Premier League goals for Man Utd in a single season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired:
🇵🇹 Bruno Fernandes (18)
🏴 Marcus Rashford (17)
🇫🇷 Anthony Martial (17)
🇸🇪 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (17)
🏴 Wayne Rooney (17)
🇧🇪 Romelu Lukaku (16)
What. A. Signing. pic.twitter.com/Zo8IOlYn6k
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) May 13, 2021
Captaining the Manchester United side in Maguire’s absence, Bruno Fernandes looked sharp in the early exchanges as Manchester United enjoyed a bright spell, leading to his goal in the tenth minute. Tried hard to influence the game thereafter but wasn’t able to stamp his authority. Did manage a couple of key passes though and had a role in the second goal.
Paul Pogba: 4/10
Showed some promise early on but, like many of his teammates, was sloppy on the ball and did not cover himself in glory as he lost Firmino for the second goal. Looked sharper once he moved to midfield after the break but completed just 70% of his passes which is just not good enough.
Edinson Cavani: 5/10
Flitted in and out of the game. Did brilliantly to force Alisson into an error early on but needed to do better with his finish. Not much of note after that until he played Rashford in for the second goal. Looked a threat in the brief spell that followed at 3-2 but did not influence the game like he could have.
Mason Greenwood: 6/10
Replaced Fred a little after the hour mark. Lively and filled with intent, added a threat to the Red Devils’ attack. Unlucky not to score as he had a goal-bound effort blocked by Phillips on the line while his follow-up effort was also blocked well by Williams.
Nemanja Matic: N/A
On for Bailly in the final stages. Gave away the ball for Liverpool’s fourth.
Alisson Becker: 5/10
Poor start as he almost gifted Cavani a goal with a ill-advised backpass, but lucky for him the striker couldn’t find the back of the net. Not a lot he could have done about either goal and wasn’t tested much by United on the whole. But iffy distribution at various points put his teammates under pressure.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 9/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s game by numbers vs. Man Utd:
14 ball recoveries (most)
5 chances created (most)
2 shots on target
A superb performance. 💪 pic.twitter.com/WD9a8XkQcO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 13, 2021
The star of the show. Started off with a brilliant pass in behind to create a chance before setting Firmino up for the opener with a lovely free-kick. Had a shot parried leading to the third goal and continued to deliver dangerous crosses into the box. Finished with five key passes while being rock solid at the back as well. Proved a point to Gareth Southgate who was watching from the stands.
Nathaniel Phillips: 7/10
Got to credit the young defender’s mentality for the way he bounced back after diverting Fernandes’ shot into his own net for United’s first. Seemed to have won a penalty which was overruled before laying on the assist for the equalising goal. Then made a huge goalline clearance at 3-2 to stop Greenwood from scoring.
Rhys Williams: 7/10
Hadn’t had the best of games on his last visit to Old Trafford for the FA Cup tie. This time, though, the young defender put in a solid display. Had a few nervy moments here and there but largely assured, made a few vital interceptions and produced a crucial block at 3-2 to deny Greenwood.
Tbh I was not very sure how Rhys and Nat would deal with the pace of Rashford and later Greenwood. But the lads were absolutely immense.
Big shout out 🙏🏼 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/lAmwUgyvEd
— Nik*🇮🇳 🔴 (@ranjan_rants) May 13, 2021
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
A typically energetic display from the Scotsman, who bombed up and down the field throughout – a moment when he ran all the way down to track Rashford and stop a counter after his mishit cross summed up his display. Delivered some teasing crosses and kept Rashford quiet for the most part.
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
There were moments when he ceded possession easily and also gave away a free-kick or two in dangerous areas. But was crucial to Liverpool winning the midfield battle. Won the ball back well as he made three interceptions and three tackles each, and instigated counter-attacks with sharp, precise passes forward.
Had his task cut out in shielding an inexperienced backline which he did admirably throughout. Crunching challenge on Bruno Fernandes in the first half was a standout moment as he kept things under check while offering progressive passes while on the ball.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
Solid, if not spectacular after an iffy start. Worked hard as usual, kept things simple and precise on the ball before making way for Curtis Jones towards the final stages.
Mohamed Salah: 7.5/10
Mohamed Salah in all competitions for Liverpool:
◎ 200 appearances
◉ 124 goals
Capping his 200th appearance with another goal this evening. pic.twitter.com/Etz4OAtGrU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 13, 2021
Direct in his approach, Liverpool’s leading goalscorer looked a threat each time he got forward even though he did not have much of a service in the first half. Did brilliantly to create a couple of chances in the second period, including the one from which Jota struck the woodwork, before settling the game with a fine late goal.
Roberto Firmino: 9/10
Hadn’t scored a single goal against Manchester United until Thursday night but fired in two in the space of three minutes on either side of the half-time break to put Liverpool in control. Powerful header to beat Henderson for his first and then reacted the quickest to pounce on a spill by the United goalkeeper for his second. Played in a couple of key passes and got plenty of work done off the ball.
Roberto Firmino scored his first goal in the 48th minute and his second goal in the 47th minute against Man Utd. 😅
A goal either side of half-time. pic.twitter.com/ld2GKXRwVV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 13, 2021
Diogo Jota: 7/10
Preferred over Sadio Mane on the left, Jota continued his impressive run of scoring against Manchester United with a clever flick after having been thwarted on a couple of occasions by Henderson. Should have had a second after the break but hit the post. Put the hard yards in off the ball.
Curtis Jones: 6.5/10
Replaced Wijnaldum for the final fifteen minutes or so. Got the assist for the fourth.
Sadio Mane: 6/10
On for Jota in the 75th minute. Did little of note on the pitch apart from a couple of dangerous runs. But did make the headlines for his angry reaction towards Klopp after the game.
Neco Williams: N/A
Stoppage-time substitute for Salah.