- United have won 8 of last 9 home games vs. Liverpool
- Martial scores solo goal on debut
- De Gea returns in goal for United
- Benteke hammers in incredible bicycle kick
MANCHESTER — Manchester United beat bitter rivals Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, as Louis Van Gaal‘s men rode second half goals from Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and debutant Anthony Martial to victory.
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After a tense first half where both teams cancelled each other out, Blind smashed in the opener from a well-worked free kick just after half time and Herrera scored from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the box. Christian Benteke scored a stunning bicycle kick with five minutes to go to give Liverpool hope, but moments later Martial waltzed past three defenders and slotted home to send Old Trafford wild.
With the win United move into second on 10 points, while Liverpool is in ninth on seven points.
[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]
Early on United took the game to Liverpool and forced plenty of defensive mistakes from the Reds. A poor throw from Simon Mignolet hit Juan Mata and bounced straight to Maroune Fellaini, but the Belgian lifted his shot harmlessly over the bar.
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As the first half wore on Luke Shaw and Memphis continued to combine down the left flank and caused Liverpool problems, but both teams had little luck in grinding out chances as long balls soared forward to Fellaini and Christian Benteke to no avail. The latter almost got free after 35 minutes, but Emre Can delayed his through ball and Benteke drifted offside, and both sides possessed the ball well but failed to find penetration in-behind the opposition defense.
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Ashley Young replaced Memphis at half time and the English winger had an instant impact as he was brought down on the edge of the box for a free kick. Juan Mata rolled the ball back to the edge of the box and Blind arrived right on cue to pass the ball into the top corner. A perfectly executed training ground free kick routine had been executed and United led 1-0.
The game then roared into life as Liverpool surged forward and following a bad giveaway on the edge of his own box, De Gea’s then pulled off a superb stop to keep United ahead. A clipped ball into the box found Ings and the former Burnley forward controlled and then volleyed into the ground but De Gea clawed his effort out of the top corner. Old Trafford rose to applaud the Spanish goalkeeper who signed a new four-year deal on Friday.
Anthony Martial came on for his United debut midway through the second half as the most expensive teenager in world soccer replace Mata and went up front on his own, with Fellaini dropping into midfield.
Almost instantly it was 2-0 to United as Herrera burst into the box and although he seemed to be going down already, Joe Gomez slid in rashly and brought down the Spanish midfielder in the box. Penalty kick said Michael Oliver. Herrera stepped up and slammed the PK into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 and the United fans inside Old Trafford were in dreamland.
Late on De Gea saved superbly from Jordon Ibe and then Benteke scored an incredible bicycle kick to make it 2-1. However, just seconds later Martial picked up the ball with seemingly nothing on and then danced through Liverpool’s defense before side-footing home to make it 3-1 to United and seal a memorable win for the home side.