Manchester United have secured a 1-0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield this afternoon thanks to Wayne Rooney’s second half strike.
A feisty first half at Anfield saw Liverpool spurn some half-chances through James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson while Man United failed to carve out many opportunities at the other end of the pitch.
After the break, David de Gea produced an important block to deny Emre Can. Anthony Martial then fired wide after some good control inside the Liverpool box. Liverpool looked the more likely to score but the deadlock was broken by the away side when Rooney hammered the ball home after Marouane Fellaini had hit the post.
Fellaini’s inclusion in the starting XI has been a source of frustration for United supporters as of late but he was straight in the thick of it from the first whistle at Anfield.
Liverpool’s Lucas got stuck into Fellaini on a few occasions and it was important that the Belgian kept his cool. Thankfully, he did, and it was his header which hit the crossbar and led to Rooney’s opening goal. Although he didn’t do much else in the match, Fellaini’s contribution for the goal was a pivotal one.
Thank goodness for Real Madrid’s transfer ban.
Yet again, the Spaniard produced a number of crucial saves on the way to keeping a clean sheet, meaning Rooney’s goal secured United a smash and grab win. De Gea is by far and away United’s most important player and they will have him to thank if they make anything of their season.
The Italian had a subpar first half, with Milner, Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne all getting joy when attacking him.
Liverpool seemed to focus on running at Darmian and it was an effective tactic – the defender was frequently beaten and he was often caught out of position. It was a worrying display from him but, in his defence, left-back is not his natural position. Ashley Young’s injury meant Darmian was shifted over to the right and he seemed to settle down as the game went on.
Not for the first time this season, Martial was United’s main attacking threat.
The Frenchman’s movement and close control caused Liverpool plenty of problems and he was generally lively. He even put in some excellent defensive work. It is what supporters have come to expect from Martial but United should not be relying on such a young player considering the amount of money they have spent in years gone by.
Rooney broke the deadlock at Anfield and, in the process, broke the record for the most Premier League goals for one club, with 176.
The United captain had a year to forget last year but he has started 2016 with a bang. With United in desperate need of victories, it is excellent to see Rooney stepping up to the plate.