Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool – Evans brilliant

by Tom Parker

David de Gea 7 – Made two fabulous saves in the second half with Manchester United out in front including a great stop to parry Victor Moses’ close range header. The Spaniard looks full of confidence and his kicking was nothing short of exceptional too.

Rafael 6 – Showed just what United had been missing from the right flank with his attacking intent from the full-back position on his injury return. Defensively he was solid and made some good headed clearances under pressure. Comfortably linked with Luis Nani when he ventured forward.

Chris Smalling 7 – Restored to his preferred centre back position and read the game well, making good interceptions. Looked assured alongside Jonny Evans in a new-look defensive partnership and his enhanced mobility helped to keep the in-form Daniel Sturridge relatively quiet.

Jonny Evans 8 – A mature and composed display from the Northern Ireland international. Handled the enigmatic Luis Suarez very well and his decision making was spot-on. The 25-year-old was imperious aerially and he was dominant in the tackle. Impressive.

Alex Buttner 6 – Attacked well throughout the contest. However, when Liverpool piled on the pressure, the Dutchman looked a little porous defensively. Guilty of dribbling down too many blind alleys too. Nonetheless, he wasn’t as calamitous as he can be.

Ryan Giggs 6 – Guilty of giving away too many soft fouls but the veteran was inventive in possession, creative in the final third and seemed to grow into the game as the contest wore on. His set-piece deliveries left much to be desired though.

Phil Jones 7 – A combative, battling display from a defensive midfield position. His distribution was better than we’ve come to expect and he kept play ticking over with his efficient use of possession. Mucked in well defensively and engaged Suarez throughout.

Nani 7 – Offered a threat from wide with his skilful play. He popped up on both wings and gave Kolo Toure a hard time at right-back, always looking to take him on. Certainly wasn’t shot shy and seemed to lack a bit of sharpness but it was a confident performance from the winger.

Wayne Rooney 7 – Was a little quieter than in recent weeks but Rooney was still United’s most effective player for much of the contest. He was able to pick the ball up in little pockets of space and brought the best out of Simon Mignolet with two super efforts in the second half.

Shinji Kagawa 6 – Struggled to influence play for prolonged periods from a wide position. There were some encouraging signs though with a mazy dribble culminating from the playmaker that culminated with his shot striking the woodwork. Needs regular game to establish a rhythm.

Javier Hernandez 7 – Did what he nearly always does and found the net that opened his account for the season. Hernandez’s movement for the goal was genius and he baffled Jose Enrique. The Mexican displayed some nice touches throughout and the striker’s link-up play was good.

Substitutes

Michael Carrick 6 – Brought on to see the game out and did precisely that. An experienced and calming influence in the middle of the park in the final stages.

Adnan Januzaj 6 – Another sub appearance provided the Belgian with some time to show exactly what he can do. Perhaps struggled with the pace of the game but he looked tidy on the ball.

Danny Welbeck n/a – Brought on in the dying embers of the match. Wasn’t able to influence the game.

Image: Twitter/laaficion

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