Man United 2-4 Liverpool
Premier League (35), Old Trafford
May 13, 2021
Goals: Fernandes 10′, Rashford 68′; Jota 34′, Firmino 45+3′ 47′, Salah 89′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
Not an ideal start by gifting Edinson Cavani an open goal, but got away with it.
Couldn’t do anything about the goal with two deflections on it, and was mostly untroubled for the rest of the first half.
Another couple of poor passes after the break could have been costly.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9 – Man of the Match
A few wicked balls in from the right when he managed to get high upfield, but there was plenty of back-and-forth between Trent and Paul Pogba in the first half, at both ends of the pitch.
Sent over a tremendous free-kick for Roberto Firmino‘s first, then his shot was parried for Firmino’s second.
Passing was also excellent throughout – presumably, Southgate took note, sat up in the stands. Ended up as skipper.
Rhys Williams – 7
A much quieter first half than Nat had, but made two really good interceptions in different styles.
One was an awkward, fumbling prod of the ball as he was half on the turn, the other a much more refined and well-timed step out of defence to cut out a dangerous ball.
The point of the differentiation is, it doesn’t really matter how the defender does the job, as long as he does it – this was a much better showing from Rhys in that regard.
A great block on Mason Greenwood at 3-2.
Nat Phillips – 6
Really didn’t have a good start to the game. Fired a pass out of play, couldn’t cut out a ball through the middle and diverted Bruno Fernandes’ shot in for the opener.
Equally, got hugely caught out by stepping up too far for United’s second.
Thought he had then won a penalty, but he hadn’t – but showed great composure and skill in the box minutes later to drill an assist goalwards, plus cleared one off the line second half.
As much as anything, it’s testament to Nat’s mentality and self-belief that he grew into the game more after that sloppy opening spell – we’ll need more of the same in the last three.
Andy Robertson – 8
As straightforward as it comes from an Andy Robbo performance.
He ran forward, he overlapped, he crossed. He ran back, he tackled, he tracked and headed when he needed to.
Great work rate, some decent link play and no shortage of pace to help out on the counter.
Fabinho – 8
Honestly, just give him a new contract for making the ‘tackle’ on Fernandes which led to the wailing howl of anguish that sounded as though the United man had been thrown off a cliff.
Thiago – 8
Kept the ball moving extremely well and won it back plenty of times without the over-late diving into tackles we’ve seen at times.
His switches of play are brilliant and he was key to the Reds’ quick counters from the middle third – and it’s notable he was left on with the midfield subs this time.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
The game bypassed him a bit early on, but then he started throwing his weight around and Cruyff-turning his way around midfield.
However, he was definitely the least-involved of the trio in the second half and somewhat missing in the period where United got back on top.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Somehow the one forward-thinking player who has retained his intensity and direct style of play, but didn’t get a whole lot of service and had to fashion his few openings himself in the first half.
Vital on the second-half counters and created two or three really good openings for the team.
Captain for the closing stages and wrapped up the win with a long, long run and cool finish.
Diogo Jota – 7
A familiar performance from his of late: very hesitant on the ball in comparison to his early-season self and sloppy in some should-be-easy passes.
Should also have scored with a first-touch finish midway through the half but flinched from the contact of the onrushing ‘keeper.
But then he’ll have a moment out of nothing where he makes it work: a great touch and volley tested Dean Henderson, then an instinctive backheel netted the equaliser from close range.
Should have scored a second when he clattered the post, but also helped win the ball back lots of times.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Had a great early opening but opted against shooting, symptomatic of his past few months.
But in four minutes either side of half-time, he reminded himself and everybody else that he is indeed a forward: one brilliant back-post header, one instinctive finish.
Two goals and lots of work rate and clever passing throughout.
Sadio Mane (on for Jota, 73′) – 6 – Good running, almost got in once.
Curtis Jones (on for Wijnaldum, 73′) – 7 – Assist for the fourth.
Neco Williams (on for Salah, 90+1′) – N/A – Big tackle late on. Don’t care that it was on the edge of their box.
Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, Tsimikas, Shaqiri, Woodburn, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 9
Spent as much time fuming at the officials as directing his players, but between the penalty call, the non-second yellow for McTominay, the non-second yellow for Cavani and all the home team’s theatrics, he had plenty of reason to be annoyed.
Seemed to have learned a lesson from previous games in leaving Thiago on when the midfield needed controlling.
Seeing out the game in the final 10 minutes was the big test for Jurgen and the team – and that they did.
At last, he has a win at United – now three more to finish the season please, boss.