The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United takes on an especially more reverent tone when the two teams are within close proximity in the league. With the league title out of reach, and both teams looking secure in the top four, the match up on Saturday was perhaps the biggest domestic game the teams had left.
Prior to the game, the focus had been on the tactics of Jose Mourinho…what approach would he take? Would he park that ever popular bus? He surprised everyone from the off by giving Marcus Rashford his first start of 2018 and boy, did that pay off!
Manchester United see Liverpool as their main rivals, and the Old Trafford faithful seem to have really played this up the further Manchester City become out of reach, and hence Old Trafford was louder than it has been for some time. It can be quite demotivating to a fan base, used to winning, to be so far behind their city rivals in second, but to beat Liverpool is a must for any Manchester United Manager.
United looked strong throughout and Liverpool rarely threatened, evidenced by the fact that it took a rather comical own goal from Eric Bailly to give them hope. Mo Salah, prolifically free scoring all season, was marked out of the game and Mane, Firmino and Milner failed to get control. Liverpool looked out of ideas and the fast, free flowing fizzing football they have been playing under Klopp was attempted, but had no chance of breaking down a resilient United.
The pressure applied to the known weakness of Dejan Lovren paid off and the ever imposing threat of Roman Lukaku bullying the back for was just too much. The goals United scored showed a tactical awareness of these defensive weakness and both goals emerged from long balls aimed at the weak centre backs, of which Rashford was able to take control.
With England manager Gareth Southgate watching on, his eyes must surely have lit up seeing the electric form of Rashford, causing problems for the defensive, clinical finishing and an eye for goal. If this form continues, surely he has to be in the world cup plans as a starter? You can check out his odd with Mobilebet Voucher Code 2018 An on for Rashford may also be the key to United sticking with 2nd place.
But will 2nd place be satisfying to United fans? Even the most hardened pro-United anti-City resident of Old Trafford must admit that they are by far the second best team in the league this season, and that coming 2nd is an achievement. With 6 teams now competing for the top 4 spaces, United remain ahead of everyone who-is-not-Man-City. The worry will be how they can move on an breach that gap? Seville come to Old Trafford in the Champions League this week in what will be another test for this emerging team. Could a run to the final of the Champions League be the spur to set United up for a title challenge next season? Only time will tell…