Home » Three things we learnt from Manchester United’s 2-1 win against Liverpool

Three things we learnt from Manchester United’s 2-1 win against Liverpool

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United rocked to a 2-1 win against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag picked up his first points in England in an impressive outing that will bode well for the confidence of his men as he looks to get the season back on track.

Here are three things we learned from the team’s 2-1 victory over their bitter rivals.

Outstanding opening 45 minutes

The Red Devils were impressive in the first half against their bitter rivals and they went into the break a goal up.

Besides the all-important goal, Ten Hag and certainly the fans would have been pleased by the side’s physicality and hard defending. For most of the first half, the 20-time English champions outclassed the Merseyside club and proved themselves, worthy challengers.

United kept the ball better and looked fitter, with the Dutch manager’s tenets and coaching philosophy on full display for everyone to see.

Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez must be the starting centre-back pairing

Four-time champions league winner Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez started as a centre-back pairing. The French international came in place of Harry Maguire who only had a place on the bench.

The two defenders were excellent in the first half, keeping out and withstanding wave after wave of Liverpool pressure.

Their physicality, positioning and understanding in the opening 45 minutes were especially impressive, coming up with clutch blocks and last-ditch tackles to keep United firmly in the driving seat ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Martinez was undoubtedly the standout of the pair, with his aggressiveness and tenacity putting him head and shoulders above his French partner.

The two combined well in their passing and ability to play out from the back. Moving forward, it is imperative that these two start together in defence.

Ronaldo has fallen down the pecking order

Earlier in the afternoon, a report emerged that Ten Hag was planning to drop Cristiano Ronaldo in favour of Anthony Martial.

While Martial did not start with Elanga being preferred instead, it is the 26-year-old that came on at half-time instead of the Portuguese captain.

Martial picked up on his fine pre-season form, assisting Marcus Rashford in spectacular fashion with a nice lay-off for United’s second.

The attack seemed fluid without the 37-year-old, who has been accused of not possessing the qualities needed to thrive in a Ten Hag team. As of now, it is unclear where this leaves the five-time Ballon D’or winner, who has evidently fallen down the pecking order.

Ronaldo only came on with five minutes of regular time left to play. With the imminent arrivals of Antony and Cody Gakpo, it may be best that he leaves Old Trafford.

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