Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool

Manchester United recorded a 3-1 victory over rivals Liverpool and moved up to second in the league after a game of two halves. The first half was instantly forgettable, with Manchester United seemingly content to have possession of the ball but not do much with it and Liverpool happy to let them do so. The only way a goal seemed likely was either from the left (Shaw and Depay worked well and looked the most dangerous) or from a Liverpool mistake.

Ashley Young was brought on for Depay at half time and he won the free kick that opened the scoring; the free kick was rolled along and the box and a great hit from Blind found the top corner. The game became more open after this and the pace increased. Manchester United doubled their lead in the 70th minute when a lunging tackle from Gomez resulted in a penalty, which was emphatically dispatched by Ander Herrera. The result seemed to be beyond doubt, but an acrobatic scissor kick from Benteke looked set to create a grandstand final five minutes. However, moments later, Martial picked the ball up in the left channel, cut inside and tied Skrtel in knots before rolling the ball into the far post for a well-deserved victory.

The game needed a change at half time and Manchester United were able to provide that, increasing the tempo of the game and looking more threatening; too often in the first half they seemed happy to keep the ball without looking to create chances or take defenders on. Liverpool never looked like winning the game. It is clear that Rodgers wants Liverpool to keep the ball, but Mignolet and Skrtel in particular were terrible in distributing the ball and too often Liverpool gave the ball back to Manchester United with a poor pass after two or three passes. At other times, they tried to go long to Benteke, but with the other players being so deep, he was isolated and again the ball was soon back in the possession of Manchester United. It was difficult from the game today to see how either side could manage a sustained challenge against early pacesetters Manchester City.

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