Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford scored as Manchester United defeated Liverpool 2-1 on Monday at Old Trafford to earn manager Erik ten Hag his first victory.
United had slipped to the bottom of the Premier League at the beginning of the weekend, but they passed Liverpool on a big night for their new Dutch manager.
With three games into the new season and Jurgen Klopp’s team still winless, Liverpool’s anticipated championship push is evaporating quickly.
In protest against the Glazer family, the club’s owners, who have presided over a decade of deterioration, United supporters marched on Old Trafford to start the evening.
Following a humiliating 4-0 loss at Brentford the previous weekend, a social media boycott campaign that urged fans to attend the game failed to materialize.
But for the whole 90 minutes, cries of “we want Glazers out” remained, despite the celebration of a first league victory against Liverpool since 2018 for the team.
Ten Hag made four changes after Brentford let up four goals in the first 35 minutes, dumping Cristiano Ronaldo and captain Harry Maguire among them.
The former Ajax manager received the reaction he wanted in an explosive first half-hour that sent Liverpool reeling. After losing his first two games, the former United boss became the first in more than a century to lose his first two games.
We may discuss methods, but the mentality is key, Ten Hag stated.
When Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay combined for two passes that left Liverpool wide open, Anthony Elanga should have scored the game’s first goal, but he curled off the base of the post instead.
Liverpool’s dismal start to the season has been plagued by defensive disorganization, and they did not take the opener goal’s 16th-minute penalty as a lesson.
The Liverpool defense was again breached by a deft one-two between Elanga and Christian Eriksen, and when the ball was cut back to Sancho, he coolly sunk the goal while leaving James Milner on the ground.
– Liverpool lacks alternatives in the midfield. –
Virgil Van Dijk was sitting off Sancho when Milner got back up to chastise the Dutch defender about his contribution to the goal.
According to Klopp, the game started just as everyone and United supporters anticipated it.
“They came out a little more hostile than we did. After scoring, they had more time to play the way they preferred.”
In the last days of the transfer season, Liverpool’s decision not to upgrade Klopp’s midfield alternatives will come under further scrutiny.
The 36-year-old Milner showed his age, and Klopp had very few options to choose from on the bench with new 75 million euro (£64 million, $77 million) striker Darwin Nunez serving the first of a three-match suspension for getting sent off on his home debut. Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita were also out injured.
Jordan Henderson’s sloppy touch gave Anthony Martial control, and his beautiful pass put Rashford free to score his first goal since January, exposing Liverpool’s lack of energy in the middle of the field.
One of the many things that Ten Hag still has to do is win back Rashford’s trust.
However, the English forward seemed more like his old self, and Rashford’s second and United’s third goals were only prevented by a superb stop from Alisson down to his left.
Rashford said, “For me, it’s about my attitude. “I play well, score goals, and contribute to the team when I am pleased and feel joyful.”
David de Gea of United’s goalkeeper opened the floodgates at Brentford with a mistake, but the Spaniard also contributed to a night of atonement with a close-range save from Luis Diaz.
Ten minutes later, Mohamed Salah’s header set an exciting conclusion, but United summoned steel seldom seen in recent seasons to see the game and give their new manager a much-needed lift.