Manchester United produced an outstanding display to defeat Liverpool and give manager Erik ten Hag his first Premier League victory at a thunderous Old Trafford.
Ten Hag took the bold decision to drop captain Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Dutch manager was rewarded with a performance that lifted the mood of crisis around Manchester United.
Jadon Sancho showed superb control and composure to deservedly put United in front after 16 minutes.
Marcus Rashford raced clear to beat Alisson from substitute Anthony Martial’s pass eight minutes after the interval to make it 2-0 for United.
Mo Salah set up a tense finish when he scrambled in a header with nine minutes left. However United survived to give Ten Hag just the sort of triumph he needs to make his mark at Old Trafford.
Manchester United rise to the occasion
Manchester United were at their lowest ebb after a 4-0 humiliation at Brentford followed an opening day home defeat by Brighton.
Liverpool won 5-0 here last season and 4-0 at Anfield. But United mustered more energy and aggression in the first 10 minutes here than in both of those embarrassing performances.
Ten Hag employed pace to take advantage of Liverpool’s high defensive line. They should have been ahead even before Sancho opened the scoring, Anthony Elanga hitting the post after racing clear.
United contested every challenge with a fired up Lisandro Martinez setting the tone early on with a robust challenge on Mohamed Salah.
Rashford’s form has been indifferent in recent times but his confidence will surely soar after the composed manner in which he scored what eventually proved to be the winner.
And this was a landmark night for Ten Hag, who knew his decision to leave out Maguire and Ronaldo would have brought scrutiny had United lost.
Instead, he enjoyed the sort of night that he will hope gets his Old Trafford reign up and running.
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